Friday, January 28, 2011

Innovation Nation: State of the Union Emphasizes Science and Technology as Engines of Growth

“Innovation doesn’t just change our lives; it is how we make our living.” – President Obama
During the State of the Union address, President Obama extolled the virtues of science and technology in advancing America’s strength and ensuring our competitiveness in the global economy. He spoke of his administration’s commitment to making new investments in biomedical research and IT, and training an additional 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math teachers by the end of the decade.

This focus on scientific innovation goes a long way in making the search for cures a national priority. As Dick Gephardt and Mike Leavitt, co-chairs of the Council for American Medical Innovation, said in their editorial in The Hill, “nowhere is there a better value proposition for America than the biosciences.” This echoes a sentiment expressed in the New Biology for the 21st Century report, released through the National Academy of Sciences, which calls for greater integration across the sciences – biology, physical, computational, and earth, as well as mathematics and engineering – to find solutions to four key societal needs: sustainable food production, ecosystem restoration, optimized biofuel production, and improvement in human health. The report outlined the need for a coordinated effort to leverage resources across the federal, private, and academic sectors to help meet challenges and improve the return on life science research in general.

For more than a hundred years, the United States has been synonymous with medical discovery. In fact, the Milken Institute estimates that 50% of all economic growth is the result of lives improved or extended by medical science. But the system that made all that progress possible in the last century needs to now work for this century. Medical outcomes could be greatly improved if we spend the same kind of manpower and resources we spend on consumer products on discovering and developing new cures for disease.

To regain and maintain our global scientific leadership, and to speed the path to cures for patients who need life-saving treatments and therapies, FasterCures stands at the ready to work with the government and all sectors to advance the following:
  • Increasing resources and scientific capacity at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support more efficient and effective approval of new medical solutions
  • Advancing policies that foster innovation and translation at the National Institutes of Health
  • Encouraging innovative, cross-sector collaboration among all players in the medical research enterprise
All stakeholders, public and private, have a critical role to play in this process. What are we waiting for?

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