Baldwin Visits UW; Will Introduce Bill to Help Next Generation of Science Researchers

tammy baldwinSenator Tammy Baldwin visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus yesterday, meeting with researchers from the School of Medicine and Public Health.

Baldwin announced she plans to introduce her second piece of legislation, the Next Generation Research Act (below), when the Senate reconvenes in September. The bill will create an initiative within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve opportunities for young scientists and to study how the country can best establish a new generation of scientists.

Baldwin noted that the bill will not increase funding for NIH, which has felt the effects of federal sequestration. The NIH budget will be cut by more than $1.5 this year as a result of sequestration. Wisconsin benefits from more than $800 million in NIH funding annually.

Robert Golden, Dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health and Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, said that decreased federal funding has begun to turn young scholars away from careers in medical science research:

“Groundbreaking discoveries made at the University of Wisconsin have contributed to our state’s prominence as a leader in biomedical research. Over the years, the School of Medicine and Public Health has graduated outstanding young investigators and recruited world-class researchers, who have made enormous contributions to the advancement of health. However, with grant funding rates at the lowest level in the history of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), potential new medical scientists fear that they would face an uncertain future. As a result, we are in danger of losing the next generation of biomedical researchers. Senator Baldwin’s legislation addresses many of the serious problems that deter young scientists from pursuing careers in biomedical research and commits essential resources for supporting a strong and vibrant pipeline of future scientists.”

Baldwin’s first piece of legislation would increase the amount of venture capital for biotechnology and life sciences research, and she views this bill as complementary. She also mentioned personal ties to scientific research on campus — her grandfather was a biochemistry professor at UW-Madison.