Congressional battles over how much money the government should spend (and how it should spend it) have impacted many different aspects of American life. The one that most concerns Johns Hopkins president Ronald Daniels, and Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab director Ralph Semmel is the decline in funding for research and higher education. “The potential impact on our young scientists is grave,” Daniels warns.
The two university leaders are bringing their case directly to the U.S. Senate this week, submitting testimony for a hearing held by the Senate Appropriations Committee… which, incidentally, is chaired by another important Marylander, Senator Barbara Mikulski.
In his testimony, Daniels notes that Johns Hopkins was the nation’s first research university, and goes on to detail some of the innovations and improvements that have come from the university’s emphasis on research, patient care, and interdisciplinary collaboration. (The school consistently spends far more on research and development than any other university–$2.1 billion in 2012.)
However, Daniels cautions, “the NIH has lost more than 20 percent of its purchasing power since 2003, leading to the elimination of about two thousand research projects each year. This has had a direct impact on Johns Hopkins and the work we do, in the form of shelved research, terminated jobs, and lost opportunities for educating and training the next generation of innovators. We estimated last year that the sequester would reduce our non-defense research efforts by more than $70 million dollars. And of course, this impact is not confined to Johns Hopkins… The potential impact on our young scientists is grave—without the funding to launch their own research in the United States, our young scientists are discouraged. They are turning elsewhere, pursuing positions outside of academic research, outside of the country, even outside of science entirely.”
For a school like Hopkins, that would certainly not be a good thing.
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