March 24, 2021
President Joe Biden The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
On behalf of Research!America and the organizations below, we are writing to respectfully request that you champion the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act (H.R.869/S.289) and request and support full funding for the initiatives it would create in any relevant proposal that advances.
The bipartisan RISE Act, led by Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Fred Upton (R-MI), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) in the House and Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Gary Peters (D-MI) in the Senate, would provide $25 billion to help restore our nation’s research capacity to its pre-pandemic strength, prevent setbacks against the formidable challenges our nation faces, and further the goal of a robust, diverse, and inclusive STEM workforce.
The widespread, detrimental impact of COVID-19 on research and researchers, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, runs counter to the never more visible need for a strong and prolific research & development (R&D) ecosystem. According to a 2020 report from the Council on Government Relations, projected research output loss due to COVID-19 ranges between 20 to 40 percent, with a “potential impact approaching tens of billions of dollars across the entire U.S. research enterprise.”
Beyond the immediate damaging financial losses at the local, state, and federal levels, the long- term repercussions of interrupted research mean that future scientific innovations and discoveries will be squandered or severely delayed. Whether the measure is societal progress, our nation’s ability to preempt and respond to threats like COVID-19, potential lives saved, or U.S. economic competitiveness, failing to shore up our weakened research infrastructure contravenes the best interests of the American people.
Further, the STEM careers of women, minorities, and other underrepresented populations have been placed in particular jeopardy by disrupted training grants and research schedules. Without the contributions of these groups, the full potential of our nation’s research enterprise will not be fully actualized.
The role that research plays in strengthening and sustaining economic growth aligns with your Administration’s plans to mobilize American ingenuity and talent to respond to the challenges we face. The positive economic impacts of R&D are well worth the investment in it. Below are just two examples of how prioritizing R&D investment fortifies economic stability.
Investing in R&D improves the lives of all Americans and enables them to contribute to our economy for longer periods of time. Research-related gains include life-saving treatments and vaccines, more efficient and environmentally-friendly production techniques, and better ways to harness and use energy and advances in artificial intelligence and robotics. In public health alone, between 1970 and 2000, research-related gains in average life expectancy had an estimated economic value of $95 trillion, roughly $3.2 trillion per year. A healthier workforce better able to contribute to our economy is an overarching societal benefit that can be directly linked to R&D.
We are losing our R&D advantage, when innovative capacity has never been more important. China has been growing its spending on R&D by 17% a year over the past 20 years, a significantly larger growth rate than that of the United States. Chinese researchers publish more papers each year than U.S. researchers do, and China holds the most patent grants of any nation. In the U.S., the proportion of federal discretionary spending that goes to R&D has fallen dramatically in the past 20 years and has been largely stagnant since the mid-1970s. Some experts predict China will outpace the U.S. in total R&D spending within the next ten years.
Prioritizing R&D investment is a clear necessity for securing our nation’s global economic
competitiveness and advancing economic opportunity and prosperity for all.
Faster scientific progress creates jobs, fuels our economy, and saves lives. Funding the RISE Act would preserve and protect our nation’s research investments and repair the frayed career pipeline for the next generation of scientists.
While the community awaits enactment of research recovery funds, it is critical that federal research agencies act quickly to provide maximum administrative flexibility and supplements, as well as clear guidance on these flexibilities, to immediately begin to address the unique challenges posed by the pandemic.
We are concerned that the pandemic’s negative impact may be disproportionately affecting women and under-represented minority groups. Ideally, core administrative flexibilities would be uniform across and within extramural research agencies, though we recognize certain research areas or agencies may require different accommodations.
This includes allowing agencies to provide flexibility for childcare expenses, technical support, extensions or tolling of preferential status for early career investigators (e.g., ESI program at NIH), and extensions for grants (both no cost and funded, when needed and available) and status designations as appropriate, even if these flexibilities are not typically available. Moreover, the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 demand that federal agencies go beyond routine flexibilities in order to fully leverage their discretionary authority to creatively support already funded research that has been interrupted by the pandemic.
Thank you for considering our views. We are deeply grateful for your service, and would also like to express our appreciation to Vice President Harris and your hard working staff members for their pivotal roles in advancing the best interests of our nation under your considered leadership.
Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research
Albert Einstein College of Medicine Allergy & Asthma Network
Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) Alliance for Aging Research
Alpha-1 Foundation ALS Association
American Academy of Nursing American Anthropological Association
American Association for Cancer Research American Association for Dental Research
American Association for the Advancement of Science American Association of Colleges of Nursing American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy American Association of Immunologists
American Association of Physics Teachers American Brain Coalition
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) American Chemical Society
American Council on Education
American Educational Research Association American Heart Association (AHA)
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Mathematical Society American Physical Society American Physiological Society American Psychiatric Association American Psychological Association
American Society for Gravitational and Space Research
American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics American Society for Virology
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy American Society of Hematology American Society of Human Genetics American Society of Plant Biologists
American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene American Sociological Association
American Thoracic Society ASBMR
Association for Clinical and Translational Science Association for Clinical Oncology
Association for Psychological Science
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Association of Academic Health Centers
Association of American Cancer Institutes Association of American Medical Colleges Association of American Universities Association of Departments of Family Medicine
Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors
Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) Axis Advocacy
Barth Syndrome Foundation Beyond Celiac
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Biophysical Society
Boston University Burroughs Wellcome Fund
California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis Carnegie Mellon University
Children’s Cancer Cause Clinical Research Forum
Coalition for Clinical and Translational Research Coalition for the Life Sciences
College of Graduate Health Sciences, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Columbia University
Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals Consortium for Ocean Leadership Consortium of Social Science Associations Council of Graduate Schools
Council on Undergraduate Research Creighton University School of Medicine Crop Science Society of America
Duke Health Duke University
Ecological Society of America Emory University
Entomological Society of America EveryLife Foundation
Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS)
Fight Colorectal Cancer Florida State University
Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research Genetic Alliance
Geoffrey Beene Foundation Geological Society of America
George Mason University College of Health and Human Services Global Health Technologies Coalition
Global Liver Institute Harvard University
Henry Ford Health System Hydrocephalus Association Indiana University
Infectious Diseases Society of America Institute for Systems Biology
International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation
J. David Gladstone Institutes JDRF
Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Johnson & Johnson
Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc. Lupus Foundation of America
Lymphatic Education & Research Network Medical College of Wisconsin
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Michigan State University
Moise Ngwa, PhD
Morehouse School of Medicine Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America Nathan P. Thomas, Sr.
National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
National Association of Graduate-Professional Students National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect National Health Council
National MS Society
National Organization for Rare Disorders Natural Science Collections Alliance NBIA Disorders Association
Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures
North American Primary Care Research Group North American Vascular Biology Organization
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine NYU Langone Health
Oakland University One Mind/HBGI
Oregon Health & Science University OSA – The Optical Society
Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation Remember the Girls
Research Nebraska, Inc.
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Sepsis Alliance
Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Society for Neuroscience
Society for Personality and Social Psychology Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Society for Women’s Health Research
Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Soil Science Society of America
Solve ME/CFS Initiative Stanford University Stephen Covell, PhD Texas A&M University
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
The GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences The Oceanography Society
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Tulane University School of Medicine UCLA
UC San Francisco
United for Medical Research University of California Davis
University of California Graduate & Professional Council University of California Riverside
University of California San Diego University of California System
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus University of Colorado Boulder
University of Colorado Colorado Springs University of Colorado Denver
University of Colorado Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine University of Colorado System
University of Florida
University of Illinois College of Medicine University of Illinois System
University of Maryland School of Medicine University of Massachusetts Medical School University of Michigan
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California University of Washington
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health Usher Syndrome Coalition
UW Medicine Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University Medical Center Vietnam Veterans of America Washington University in St. Louis Wayne State University
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Yerkes National Primate Research Center
The Honorable Charles Schumer The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Mitch McConnell The Honorable Kevin McCarthy