The March for Science Underscores the Importance of Research

One of the advantages that has long set the United States apart from other developed countries has been our investment in basic research and science. Indeed, our nation's competitiveness, health, defense and economic strength depend on federal funding for research and science.

That is why I would like to encourage you to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22. A diverse group of scientists and science community supporters plans to attend rallies in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and other cities around the country. Many of Drexel University's scientists, professors, researchers and students are expected to attend.

The march is a great opportunity to remind everyone — including policymakers, business leaders and educators — about the benefits of federal funding for scientific research. Other developed countries have been ramping up support for research, while Washington has reduced funding in recent years. Now is not the time for even deeper cutbacks. Our competitiveness and prosperity depend on federal support for research.

Investing in research and science pays great dividends for society. In particular, many innovations and advancements have been discovered at universities as a result of scientific and technological breakthroughs supported by the National Institutes of Health. Death rates from cancer and heart disease, for example, have dropped dramatically in recent years, thanks to advancements in medicines, screenings and treatment that were largely federally funded.

Philadelphia is fortunate to have a number of world-renowned educational and medical institutions that help drive scientific breakthroughs and innovation. These institutions employ tens of thousands of people and generate billions of dollars in economic activity.

Drexel is one of those key institutions. Our faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research focused on addressing society's most taxing problems in sectors as diverse as energy, healthcare and information technology. Drexel researchers apply knowledge in ways that benefit humankind and position the University as a powerful engine for economic growth and societal impact.

Making a difference is what we try to do every day at Drexel. I hope the March for Science serves as a reminder of how much science has helped to make a difference in improving lives. I would also invite you to check out the series of "True Science Talks" [PDF] that Drexel has planned starting on April 21. As technology and globalization continue to make the world even more competitive, it is more important than ever to support science and research.


John A. Fry

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