Correcting Gaps in Public Knowledge Called Key to Fueling Research Support

According to a recent survey by the advocacy group Research!America, 76% of 1,100 individuals said it is “very important” that the U.S. “be a leader” in health care, with 73% expressing similar sentiments when it comes to the nation’s rank in medical and health research—the first and third ranked out of 12 categories. Education came in second at 74%; for comparison, 71% named defense.[1] The lowest category was tourism at 26%.

Those who responded to the survey—conducted online in January—also showed strong support for the conduct of basic research yet indicated a lack of knowledge about it and individual research institutions and investigators.

Moreover, just 27% said the U.S. was “very much a leader in health and medical research.” The message for “science advocates” and policymakers—and undoubtedly universities and others that conduct research—is to step up their outreach and communication about studies and achievements.

“Closing that gap” is an “imperative,” Jenny Luray, Research!America’s senior vice president for strategy and public engagement, said during a briefing on the survey. She recommended “urging your elected officials—the ones you have now, and the ones who might be running for office—to help close that gap by doing more to fund science aggressively, give it the priority it’s had in the past, and it needs to have.”

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