Recent debates about whether or not vaccines cause autism have focused attention on how much government funded research there is concerning vaccine safety. Many people claim that too many studies done by companies who sell vaccines are biased in their results, and don’t objectively evaluate all of the available data.
Some even go as far to say that it isn’t ethical for pharmaceutical companies to fund studies because they want the outcome to be positive for their product!
It is important to remember that medical professionals (and thusly, governments) rely heavily on scientific research when making decisions about treatment strategies and policies.
So why should we trust what these corporations pay researchers to find?
We can also add to this argument the fact that most medical professionals are paid very well by large drug companies, which means they need to put pressure on doctors to use their drugs in order to keep up with their salaries.
Another reason to doubt the quality of health care due to financial reasons was discussed in my last article titled Why Doctors Are Paid So Well. In it I talked about how physicians are paid more than other professionals with similar degrees and qualifications due to the heavy marketing spending and influence industry lobbyists have on policy makers.
I mentioned before that Medical School costs around $250,000-$400,000 per year and average doctor wages start at just under $200,000 per year. Combined with the expensive malpractice insurance needed to run a practice, this makes starting your own practice quite difficult.
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an American government agency that was created in 1934 to promote, strengthen, and defend the United States as a world leader in science and engineering.
Since its inception, NSF has played a significant role in supporting scientific research and developing future leaders in these fields. As of 2017, it spent over $7 billion on grants awarded for more than 13,000 projects at all levels — from doctoral programs to infrastructure upgrades.
Sadly, NSF’s popularity has waned in recent years due to budget cuts. In fact, since Congress passed the Budget Act of 2014, NSF has experienced five consecutive annual funding reductions totaling almost 10 percent. These reductions have left NSF with the least amount of money it has ever had.
While this may sound dramatic, what most people don’t realize is that only about one-third of NSFs total spending goes directly towards funded projects. The rest comes in the form of administrative expenses like overhead and fund raising!
So how much actual “science” gets done with so little money? Unfortunately, there isn’t any hard data on that, but we can make some assumptions based on past performance.
We will also look into whether or not these cost savings are actually effective in promoting academic excellence. If you would like to learn more about why investing in science is important, check out our article here.
National Institutes of Health
The NIH, short for the National Institute of Health, is one of the largest funders of scientific research in the United States. It was founded back in 1930 to help promote public health by conducting medical studies and developing new treatments and technologies.
Since then, it has shifted its mission to also advance human knowledge through basic, translational, and clinical science that will lead to better ways to prevent, treat, and cure diseases and improve quality of life.
The agency receives about half a billion dollars each year to carry out these missions. This comes from both direct grants as well as contracts with other organizations.
Some examples of things the NIH does include studying the effects of different foods on weight loss, investigating how vitamin supplements work, creating technology to measure vital signs (like blood pressure and heart rate), developing tests to check for disease conditions, and more. All of these have led to improved healthcare and lives for people.
Another important part of the NIHA’s mission is promoting diversity in the field of medicine — ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality care no matter their race, ethnicity, or income. This helps reduce inequality in our country where some areas of the population can be overserved due to social and economic factors.
![What national institutes of health programs are funded by](images/nih_programs5.jpg)
(Picture source: Wikimedia Commons.
Department of Energy
The department that studies energy for the United States goes by its official name of the U.S. Department of Energy, or DOE for short. This organization works to ensure America’s security and prosperity in part through research and development, or R&D.
R&D is just about any new idea conducted in a controlled environment with lots of resources. For example, scientists conduct experiments to see how combustion happens and what fuels work best in this process. We use these insights to create things like internal combustion engines and rockets.
By investing in R&D, we as taxpayers are helping to preserve our freedom by creating effective ways to generate power and exploring potential alternative energies. It also helps us maintain an edge over other nations who may be more willing to spend their money on energy projects.
In fact, some experts estimate that one-quarter of all innovation since 1800 can be attributed directly to government funded research! That’s not very democratic is it? 😉
It seems clear then that if we were to stop supporting scientific research here in the United States, we would have to agree to do without many interesting gadgets and technology products.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
The largest organization that funds scientific research is the United States Department of Defense. They do not use taxpayer money to fund research, rather they invest in private companies or universities who conduct military-related research. This includes studies related to weapons, protective gear for soldiers, medicine to help treat wounds, and more.
The Department of Defense also allocates funding towards what are called “defense laboratories”. These are usually private organizations run by professionals with science degrees who work under government contract to perform experimental research. For example, the laboratory might be tasked with finding new ways to harden steel so it is more resistant to damage, or developing better battery technology.
These budgets are extremely high – sometimes even surpassing one million dollars per year – and are open to the public through an application process. If your professional experience could help accomplish the project’s goals, you can apply! You would need to prove that you have the potential to succeed in the position though, as these jobs require people who can make decisions independently.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the largest funders of scientific research in the United States. NIH invests approximately $30 billion per year to support basic, clinical, and translational science for health benefits.
Since its founding in 1976, NIH has invested over $1 trillion in projects that advance medicine and improve people’s health. Medical advances made possible by NIH funding now save millions of lives every year.
But how much money does government actually spend on R&D? In fact, it can be difficult to determine just how much scientists and others working at academic institutions and nonprofit organizations receive in direct costs from NIH.
There are many reasons why this happens, but perhaps the biggest reason is that each institute receives different levels of funding depending on what they request. Some get more funding than others, even when their proposals ask for the same amount!
That means there is no standard way to report how much grant recipients received from NIH, which makes it hard to compare one group with another. What’s more, some researchers may not make efforts to publicly acknowledge all of their grants because of fear of under-reporting or poor publicity.
This article will discuss the various ways that funded individuals can report their total cost data, as well as some strategies for getting complete and accurate information.
Food and Drug Administration
The FDA is an agency within our federal government that works to ensure safe, effective, and proper use of all foods and drugs. They monitor the manufacturing process, testing products for safety before they are allowed to hit store shelves, and make sure that ingredients in a product are safe.
The Agency also reviews new drug applications (NDA’s) and new food applications (NFU’S) to determine if there is enough evidence that their intended uses will work and be safe. If so, the NFA or NDNA can be approved!
If you are reading this article then it is a pretty good bet that you have heard of the FDA before. You probably know them as “that crazy lady with the mustache who looks like she wants to eat your brain” or maybe you recognize some of their famous slogans such as “CAUTION GROCERY ITEMS CONTAINING CHEMICAL RESIDUES THAT MAY INTERFERE WITH ALCOHOL DRINKING” or my personal favorite “BEER CANCELS PREGNANCY”.
But what most people don’t realize about the FDA is how much money they spend on research and development (R&D) for both pharmaceuticals and foods. In fact, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, only one third of all FDA costs go towards reviewing potential health benefits or risks of newly marketed drugs and foods.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC does not fund research directly, but it plays an important role in funding scientific studies by providing funds to other organizations that do. For example, the Agency may ask a researcher to contribute his or her time as a principal investigator on a study, to offer free testing equipment or supplies, or to coordinate your participation in the trial.
The CDC also conducts its own research programs, such as epidemiology studies to find the causes of health problems and effective ways to prevent them. These studies are funded through grants from private sources and government agencies like the NIH.
The agency has several offices across America with researchers and professionals on staff who work on various projects. Some examples include studying how infectious diseases spread, developing new diagnostic tests, finding new treatments, tracking disease trends, and ensuring safe practices while working around hazardous materials.
All these studies help us understand our health and aid in keeping ourselves and others healthy.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is an interesting organization to explore. It is not only well known for its vast collection of printed matter, but also for its online resources and databases. Many people are familiar with it because of their extensive documentary film collections that include over 30,000 titles!
The LC maintains an in-house research department called the Office of Archives and Records Management (OARM) which collects, preserves, and makes available official records and documents from both individuals and organizations.
These archives typically focus on government agencies and offices, as well as current events like presidential inaugurations or significant anniversaries. Some examples include cabinet meeting notes, congressional correspondence, and press releases.
For example, one of OARM’s most popular historical datasets is the Political Correspondence dataset, which contains more than 2 million political letters written between politicians and journalists from 1774–2007. Users can access this data via Google Drive at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2VlQn7wK6bX3YySjNweE9pTm8tUTU1cRZkxoYNdFUWJsaGNTYaGVHTDg4NWI5NVJBOG5zMWMwODdkNDVEZXhL.