SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The Salt Lake Chamber is pleased to announce it has joined the national Business for Federal Research Funding (BFRF) Coalition. The BFRF Coalition is a broad-based group of more than 65 U.S. Chambers of Commerce that advocates for increased research funding in the federal budget and brings heightened awareness to the critical economic impact that federal research has on our nation’s competitiveness.

“Federal investment in research is fueling the creation of jobs for millions of Americans and thousands of Utahns, and is spurring key innovation and technological advances,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “We and other Chambers across the country believe that failure to heavily invest federal resources in research will harm economic growth and diminish innovation in the U.S., allowing us to fall behind our highly-skilled competitors overseas.”

Federal funding plays a major role in the creation of research efforts leading to major breakthroughs in innovation, new technologies, lifesaving medical treatments, and jobs for millions of Americans. It’s for that reason the Salt Lake Chamber has joined the BFRF Coalition in an effort to help illustrate that this issue impacts businesses, government, academia, and private citizens in every corner of the country.

“We deeply appreciate the Chamber’s leadership to communicate how essential federal funding is to advance cancer research, and thereby save lives. Beyond the highest calling, which is saving lives and alleviating the suffering caused by cancer, federal funding for cancer research has an enormous impact on our economy and tremendous return on investment for Utah and the surrounding region,” said Jon M. Huntsman, founder of the Huntsman Cancer Institute and principal benefactor. “It is enlightened self-interest on the part of our federal government to support programs vital to life itself and to the lifeblood of our economic well-being. We urge our federal delegation to expand funding. Huntsman Cancer Institute already leads the world in unlocking the genetic answers to cancer, having discovered more genes for inherited cancers than any other place in the world. The Institute’s discoveries have made it possible now to prevent some cancers altogether. The ultimate prize is to speed discovery so that we may eradicate this disease from the face of the earth. Until that ultimate prize is achieved, support for research is essential so that we can move faster against the disease than cancer moves against life itself.”

The federal government has played a major role in funding research efforts that have led to significant scientific breakthroughs and new technologies, from the Internet to communications satellites and defenses against disease. Nearly 60 percent of funding for basic scientific research in the United States is provided by the federal government. Innovations that flow from university-based basic research are at the root of countless companies, products, technologies, innovations and jobs.

“Funding for basic research is critical for creating the consistent flow of new ideas that become the technologies that will continue to improve our health, national security, and economic vitality. These long term, high risk investments in our nation’s future require the leadership of citizens, policy makers, and the business community, paired with the stewardship of scientists to assure our nation continues to expand its knowledge economy and stays at the forefront of technological innovation,” said Dr. Ivy Estabrooke, executive director at USTAR.

Recently, members of the Coalition took an advocacy trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with members from the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations to urge Congress to support critical research accounts that were subject to widespread proposed cuts in the Administration’s 2018 budget request. During their visit, Congress passed an omnibus spending package for the remainder of FY17 that included a much-needed $2 billion funding boost for the National Institutes of Health.

The FY18 budget appropriations process is now underway and the coalition is making the case the federal accounts, which are responsible for dispersing research funds, should receive funding increases at a steady rate above inflation each year. The coalition focuses these increases on key agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security.

“Federal research funding has been key to our company and Utah’s medical innovation economy,” said Fred Lampropoulos, chairman and CEO of Merit Medical. “The Chamber’s leadership on these issue is critical and we’re delighted to see them step forward with other Chambers and our local industry associations to make sure our federal delegation continues to support this key investment.”

ABOUT BUSINESS FOR FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDING COALITION (BFRF) – BFRF Coalition was formed by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in 2014. The BFRF Coalition represents a strong cross-section of the nation’s business community with broad geographic diversity among its members. A full list of coalition members is available here, along with additional information about Business for Federal Research Funding.