Is it frightening to you that American's spend more money on their lawn and gardens than the National Institutes of Health receive to try and cure cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's and diabetes? How about that the budget of the National Science Foundation is a quarter of what we spend on video games? There are many reasons why researchers should be increasing their role in science policy, but perhaps the most relevant is economic.
Research funding is a constant and annual process and no amount of money is predictable or ever guaranteed. Researchers should be screaming from the rafters how badly they need money - hence the title of this post.
Want proof that advocacy works? The graph on the left demonstrates the changing budget of the NIH since 1970. Notice that from 2002 to 2008 the funding trend flattens out but then jumps up significantly during 2009 and 2010. This is due to the hard work of health research advocates such as Research!America. Being vocal and aggressive about the importance of increasing research funding resulted in the NIH receiving billions of extra dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. For this trend to continue, scientists and researchers must make a lot more noise than they are right now.
This is Part 2 of 3 in the Science of Advocacy series.
Part 1 - Senator PhD?
Part 2 - Baby don't cry, baby don't get no milk
Part 3 - A=B; B=A