Last night, President Obama delivered his 2014 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Obama covered many topics and made several comments about the importance of scientific research to the well-being of the country. The ASBMB is appreciative of Obama’s reaffirmation of his administration’s commitment to supporting research.
Obama discussed many of the same themes covered in the ASBMB’s “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity” released last August, including the importance of investing in scientific research, the harm done by sequestration and America’s place in the global research endeavor:
- Listen, China and Europe aren’t standing on the sidelines; and neither — neither should we. We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender. Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones. And that’s why Congress should undo the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery.
The president also mentioned one of the sought-after prizes of applied scientific research, patents, and reforming the patent system.
- There are entire industries to be built based on vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria or paper-thin material that’s stronger than steel. And let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.
Obama made a familiar push for immigration reform, a cause supported by the ASBMB.
- Finally, if we’re serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement — and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted, and I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody.
While Obama committed significant time in his speech to discussing education issues, he only mentioned improving science, technology, engineering and math skills once.
- Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with the skills for the new economy — problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, math.
If you’re interested in how the science community on Twitter reacted to Obama’s address in real time, you can comb through this story that features the ASBMB Public Affairs team.
Follow the ASBMB Policy Blotter for more updates on the administration’s views on scientific research and other science policy news!
(Photo credit on main page to whitehouse.gov)