The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Public Funding of Science

Tonight on “Tech Nation”, Dr. Moira Gunn spoke with the Chairman and CEO of Invitrogen, Greg Lucier [1]. Mr. Lucier spent his time speaking out about the importance of public funding of science. Despite his position in a private company, he advocated that more public money needs to be spent to do science, and create the next generation of scientists. It was a short, but good, discussion. At the end, he said it would be wise to call your Congressperson, introduce yourself, and in less than a minute ask them to support public funding of science. Of course, he was focused on biotech, and decried the dropping NIH budget. While his argument was a good one – you doubled the budget, trained all these people, and now they can’t get grants as the budget declines – I was miffed that he didn’t mention the fact that the NIH budget is the kind that chemists, physicists, and mathematicians only dream about (even at its declined levels). We shouldn’t beat each other up for the same pie, but it would behoove us to find a way to make that pie bigger.