July 22, 2008 - ASM Sends Letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Supporting an Additional $500 Million for NIH

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd
Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee
United States Senate
311 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4801

Dear Chairman Byrd:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest single life science society representing over 43,000 members, is writing to support the request by Senator Tom Harkin and Senator Arlen Specter to add $500 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the second Emergency Supplemental bill for FY 2008. The ASM believes these funds are critical because funding for biomedical research has been flat or decreasing since FY 2003. Success rates for NIH grant applications have dropped to about 20 percent and the future of the nation’s biomedical research enterprise is at risk. Combined with the accelerating pace of promising research advances that cannot be explored, this situation is harmful to young scientists and to established investigators who are experiencing difficulty continuing their research. Without additional funding for the NIH, US productivity in the life sciences will be weakened with unfortunate consequences to public health, education, the economy and global scientific leadership.

We urge you to support the request by Senators Harkin and Specter to add an additional $500 million for the National Institutes of Health in FY 2008. Thank you for your support for biomedical research.


Alison O’Brien, Ph.D.
President, American Society for Microbiology

Ruth L. Berkelman, M.D.
Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board