Stimulus Funding Part II: Temp Funding Sci Research Won’t Stop the Brain Drain- Following the Money for October 18, 2009

Posted on October 18, 2009


US and Chinese currenciesFollowing the Money for

October 18, 2009

by SamHenry

Age-related diseases are becoming more prevalent with the increased “graying” of America due to baby boomers suddenly entering the so-called golden years. Britain, for example, expects a “tsunami” of Alzheimer’s cases to develop in the very near future. But they are more prepared than we for such an eventuality. Europe currently leads research efforts in age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

It is no accident that many of the EU countries that have committed to long-term funding for research into age-related diseases have socialized medicine.  They must reduce health care costs for government-run medical treatment to remain solvent. Where does the US stand in these areas of critical research?  Moving toward socialized medicine, the new administration recognizes the importance of research into age-related diseases.

Generous research offerings of stimulus money to support research in the areas of Alzheimer’s and macular degeneration had caused European governments to fear a brain drain to the US.  But because the increased funding has come through stimulus monies, it has given pause to those who might come here.   These research grants will be a temporary fix. Because of the lack of a long-term commitment to this critical research, does this mean that we will not have the best and the brightest working toward cures?  If we lose our edge in research, it will be difficult to restore.  Temporary funding is like sending scientists to the edge of a cliff without a parachute.

Already there is a brain drain from the US to China and India from students who have studied here.  Better funding , salaries and state of the art facilities are drawing cards. In point of fact, US universities and colleges have seen a drop in foreign student enrollment since 9/11 when visa restrictions made it more difficult to come here. Lately xenophobia has played a role in this. Regardless, the figures show steep declines in registrants of foreign students.  Higher education is a major “industry” in this country and is suffering without government intervention.

The Obama Administration seems to have lost not only its funding focus, but its ability to see connectivity in issues to think long-term.. They will confidently point to these research monies as job creation.  But a temporary boost in funding will hardly create the permanent jobs needed to sustain economic growth  End of forward thinking.

To step away from trying to help other areas of the economy to precipitously consider a $250 payout to seniors is yet another example of not thinking funding through – its impact.  It would be putting a band-aid on a festering wound. The better bet would have been to put that money into job creation – jobs that produce income – income that would be taxed – taxes that would help pay for scientific research grants and even for Medicare/Medicaid.

references:

Chemistry World  US Funding Boost  – a Threat to EU Science?

<!– Research projects on sea snails, drunk mice get stimulus funds Boston Globe WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Drunk mice, venomous sea snails, elderly turtles. It’s not “Aesop’s Fables.’’ It’s your federal stimulus dollars at work. Kimberly Miller August 14, 2009 –>

Boston.com – Research projects on sea snails, drunk mice get stimulus funds

National Eye Institute – Statistics and Data

Social Science Research Network  – A Reverse Brain Drain

Tech Crunch – Foreigners Attending US Grad Schools Way Down: Wake Up, Xenophobes

Further reading

VotingFemale Speaks! – Palin to Obama: Hello? McFly? Anyone home?

Hot Air – Ich bin … busy?

Big Government – Sunday Open Thread

Sister Toldjah – Now whose health-care plan was “Just Die!”?

Goodtimepolitics – Bank of America Corp. said Friday it lost billions of dollars in the third quarter