ASBMB statement on the importance of funding the National Science Foundation

April 22, 2024

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology strongly urges policymakers to fully fund and support the vital work the National Science Foundation conducts. The NSF has been a leader in pioneering scientific research and supporting scientific education since its establishment in 1950. The agency’s strategic goals are to empower scientists, promote scientific discovery and impact society through science –all while promoting effective and efficient fiscal management strategies –are perfectly aligned with societal priorities. Further, scientists and engineers funded by the NSF are fully accountable to taxpayers as they collectively move their research beyond the lab to impact the public good through the emphasis by the agency on actively promoting broader impacts in proposals and awards.

Today, the NSF plays the critical role of funding all disciplines of basic scientific research, also known as discovery research. Basic research is driven by a scientist’s curiosity or interest in a scientific question with the main motivation to expand human knowledge. Importantly, new knowledge generated by basic scientific research lays the foundation for the applied sciences to build upon. Without basic scientific research, there would be nothing to translate into medical breakthroughs or new technologies.

The NSF’s annual budget represents almost a quarter of the total federal budget for basic scientific research. These endeavors generate innovative ideas and discoveries; basic scientific research fosters long-term economic growth and strengthens national security.

For the NSF to continue its important work and continue to play its essential role in the broader U.S. bioeconomy, policymakers must fund the agency fully. The NSF’s budget already dropped by 8% in fiscal year 2024, and we must reverse that trend.

The ASBMB recommends an increase of $2 billion for the NSF for fiscal year 2025, bringing the total to $9.9 billion. This will ensure that the NSF can sustainably support and fund almost 350,000 researchers at 1,900 institutions across the country.