On June 23, the AVMA called upon Congress to invest in basic research at several federal agencies and institutions. Joining over 250 organizations, the AVMA urged Congress to enact policies and make investments to help ensure the United States remains the global innovation leader.
The “Innovation: An American Imperative” statement addresses the innovation deficit noted in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ 2014 report, “Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream.” It provides seven areas of focus for congressional action, including:
- renewing the federal commitment to scientific discovery by ending sequestration level spending caps and providing steady and sustained funding growth;
- permanently strengthening the Research and Development tax credit;
- reforming visa policies;
- improving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education;
- streamlining or eliminating costly and inefficient regulations;
- reaffirming merit-based peer review; and
- stimulating improvements in advanced manufacturing.
The call for increased funding for basic research is in addition to the funding that the AVMA seeks for food and agricultural research, as well as biomedical research, each year. For fiscal 2016, the AVMA is seeking $450 million for USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, $1.426 billion for the Agricultural Research Service, $10 million for Animal Health Disease Research and at least $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health.
Veterinarians are leaders and members of interdisciplinary research teams involved in basic and applied science and biomedical research with applications to animal or human health, food safety, emerging diseases and zoonoses, bioterrorism or agro-terrorism, and ecosystem and wildlife health. By providing additional resources and funding for these institutions, it bolsters the translation of basic research to improve human and animal health, as animal research is often a necessary link to connect basic research with human clinical research.