Created by on 8/19/2011 12:00:00 AM

On August 10th, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a meeting to discuss how the current fiscal and policy environment may affect the nation’s scientific enterprise. Howard Garrison, Director of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs, represented the federation. Other leaders from academic and institutional groups were also present at the gathering.

John Holdren, PhD, President Obama’s Science Advisor, opened the meeting with an overview of the situation facing the research community in light of the recent budget framework established by the debt ceiling agreement passed by Congress and signed by the President earlier this month. Warning the meeting attendees to expect “a prolonged period of federal budget stringency,” Holdren also acknowledged that there are a number of questions about how the research community will meet the challenges associated with the current fiscal situation. Solutions will require action from states, philanthropies and the private sector, and not just the federal government. He told the group that President Obama continues to underscore the importance of innovation and is the strongest ally of the research community. Holdren expressed hope that we could continue to move forward while “staying the course.”
Senior OSTP staff reviewed the budget situation and described ongoing agency initiatives. Sally Katzen, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Deputy Director for Management, emphasized that the administration’s priorities for research and development remain the same. However, future funding levels, she conceded, might be different from those previously discussed.
Following the presentations from the OSTP and OMB officials, those present at the meeting were asked to share their perspective on the situation. Representatives of approximately three dozen groups—scientific societies, research institutions, corporations, and coalitions of these organizations—offered a variety of viewpoints and described their advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.