Saving the future of science

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Jade Cohen ’17

The heart of American life beats with a spirit of innovation and a desire to charter new frontiers. As researchers pursue a deeper understanding of the human condition and the world we inhabit, the country is often driven towards advancement, improvement, and positive progression.
The inventive spirit of American life is currently threatened, however, as President Donald J. Trump and his administration plan to significantly reduce the funds allocated to scientific research in areas such as climate change, medical vaccines, and renewable energy. Mr. Trump’s proposed budget cuts revealed March 16 consist of various reductions by which scientists, researchers, and program administrators are both dismayed and taken aback, according to The New York Times.
The Trump administration plans to reduce funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion or 18 percent, thus affecting research on several diseases, including cancer. The Department of Energy’s Office of Science will have its budget cut by $900 million, which will limit the critical research performed in national laboratories. The proposal also plans to eliminate funding for scientific research about climate change at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to The New York Times. Specifically, Mr. Trump’s partial outline of the 2018 budget released March 16 calls for a 31 percent reduction in funds for the EPA, making it the hardest-hit agency, according to The New York Times

Jade Cohen ’17

Many of Mr. Trump’s planned budget cuts have faced intense and open criticism. For example, the proposed budget would eliminate the Fogarty International Center, which focuses on global health research, including HIV, AIDS, Ebola, diabetes, dengue, and maternal mortality research, as well as trains doctors and researchers in developing countries, according to The New York Times.
Moreover, the budget cuts include clauses for eliminating certain programs that link basic research and commercialization, such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy, which funds research in energy technologies in an effort to bring products to market, according to The New York Times.  
The proposal will continue to fund specific programs, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s building of weather satellites. The National Aeronautic Space Administration’s budget would be cut by less than one percent, but the government plans to alter where the money is spent by eliminating four earth science missions and the $115 million the agency spends on education, according to The New York Times.
The proposed budget alterations are facing opposition from members of both parties in Congress. Policy makers have voiced their viewpoint that such proposals reveal a lack of commitment to science on behalf of the Trump Administration. The government justifies these funding reductions in order to spend American money more wisely, according to The New York Times.
“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that,” the director of the Office of Management and Budget Mr. Mick Mulvaney said at a White House briefing March 16, according to The New York Times.
Evidently, Mr. Trump’s proposed budget cuts have the potential to inhibit American research. With scientists making great strides in cancer research and climate change solutions, it is imperative that such unprecedented findings remain unhindered. 
The American Society of Clinical Oncology, the leading professional society for cancer specialists believe that “[n]ow is not the time to slow progress in finding new treatments and cures for patients with cancer,” according to The New York Times.
The scientist community takes a stand in the March for Science.
Courtesy of scienceworldreport.com

Eliminating laboratory research on climate change can have extremely tangible effects on society by making it harder for researchers to predict storms and other weather events that result in destruction and loss of life, according to The New York Times.  
American research not only contributes to a positive global reputation, but it directly impacts the wellbeing of American citizens. 
In fact, physicist and chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Mr. Rush D. Holt pinpointed the inherent link between research and the progression of human life, according to The New York Times.
“Do they not think that there are advances to be made, improvements to be made, in the human condition? The record of scientific research is so good, for so many years — who would want to sell it short?” Mr. Holt said, according to The New York Times.
Researchers plan to oppose the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts in the March for Science, which is set to take place in Washington April 22. Within a week of its creation, the March for Science campaign gained a following of more than 1.3 million supporters across Facebook and Twitter who rightly feel that the future of science is threatened, according to The New York Times.
As Americans, we must follow in the footsteps of the March for Science participants by challenging the government’s dwindling support for scientific and medical research. It is our responsibility as active and knowledge-seeking citizens to challenge these budget cuts because without ample funding and government support for research, society will remain stagnant: diseases will worsen without cure, technological innovation will subside, and environmental concerns will go unaddressed. As a unified country, we must continue to pursue the scientific progress that sustains human life.
-Jade Cohen, Content Editor