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I am very much in favor of the Federal Government continuing to promote and expand long-range investments in research. This is no reason to discourage increasing investment on the part of private foundations. It seems, however (certainly in the mental health field), that as the Federal Government moves in to encourage training and research, private foundations move out to develop research in other fields. In the field of aging, the problem is so vast and the questions to be answered so many that there should be no contradiction in the support of aging research both by Government and private foundations.Alexander Simon.
Yes; 70 percent Government and 30 percent private support.- Durwood J. Smith.
Should the Government promote long-range investments in research, in distinction to private foundation promotion? What should be the relationship between governmental and private foundation investments in aging research?
The great achievements of medical research in the last decade are undoubtedly due to a ajor degree to the important role played by Government support. These achievements have created a base for further needed expansion of our research assault against the"major contemporary diseases, all of which are diseases of aging (e.g., the cardiovascular-renal diseases, the arthritides, the neoplasms, diabetes). This further necessary expansion is possible only on the basis of steadily increasing long-range investments in research by the Federal Government. As experience has shown, such Government support tends to encourage, not discourage, private foundations' investments in aging research. Experience has also shown that the areas of support can be readily and fruitfully coordinated, and continued efforts should be made to assure such cooperative expansion in the years ahead.-Jeremiah Stamler.
Both foundation and Government have a stake in long-range investments in research. Joint cooperation in ventures, as exemplified by the American Heart Association and the National Heart Institute, are mutually profitable.—Eugene A. Stead, Jr.
Yes. (See Nos. 1 and 2 above.)—Joseph W. Still.
It is my opinion that the Government should pursue its long-range planning for research in this field quite independent of other organizations. Foundation support has tended to be somewhat erratic and almost whimsical. One major foundation has followed a rather capricious course in the way in which research has been selected for support. In general, continuity of support for basic research is desirable. The Government should not be bound by the interests or commitments of the private foundation programs. It has been claimed that private organizations tend to support research which is more experimental and innovative than governmental research. I do not think this has been true in the field of aging. My impression is that the foundations have tended to support "safe" projects which will maximize a positive public image of the foundation's interest in urgent social problems.—Gordon F. Streib.
I feel that the Government should promote long-range investments in research in distinction to private foundation promotion. I feel that the relationship between governmental and private foundation investments in aging research should be similar to what it is in heart research, cancer research, and other categories.-Norman M. Sulkin.
If by "investments in research” is meant support of university scientists on a longer term basis, I believe there is much to be said for this approach. It should help in encouraging scientists to grapple with fundamental problems rather than concentrating on turning out a large number of papers on less significant topics. If, however, "investments in researcb" means enlarging present Government research institutes and pirating more scientists away from the universities, I am opposed. The Government and private institutes are essentially parasitical, since they cannot hope to train future scholars to the same extent the universities can.-Neil C. Tappen.
The Government is probably in a better position to support long-range high cost investments in research than most private foundations. In some instances one source of support can supplement the other. The Government is in a better position to encourage and support fundamental research that has no immediate application value Foundations and other sources of private support frequently are dedicated to particular viewpoints and particular applications and results. Thomas T. Tourlentes.
Since, in my opinion, the Nation's brainpower is one of its most precious national resources, I think it is imperative that long-range investments in able scientists be made by the Government. As to the optimum relationship between governmental and private investments in aging research, this is a matter of philosophy. In general, however, I would consider it the responsibility of the Government to see that no promising talent or ideas are neglected.- Arthur C. Upton.
With regard to item 6, I believe that a closer coordination of private foundation and governmental giving is indicated.-Otto von Mering.
Since a 5-year-old rat cannot be produced in less than 5 years, it is absolutely imperative that long-range investments, commitments, and grants be established. In aging, more than in any other field of science, a short-term investment yields a far smaller return than a long-term one. During the first few years of any biologically oriented program on aging very little can be accomplished until old and senescent experimental subjects can be screened and made available.
Where private funds are available I believe the Government should remain in the background (example: pharmacology and chemistry). Where private funds are lacking or scarce I believe the Government should provide the major share of funds (example: physiology and pathology).-A. Kurt Weiss.
The Government should promote long-range investigations in aging research.James M. A. Weiss.
Laboratory research is a long-range activity and continued support is necessary. If biological research is to advance at a pace in keeping with other aspects of our technology, long-term support is necessary and must be undertaken by the Government, for the activities of private foundations are apt to be too varied, haphazard, and uncontrollable to be effective.—Verner J. Wulff.
Question No. 7
Is aging research such a new and emerging area that financing and encouragement for researchers in this field need special attention?
No. In the bibliography which I have been using in this study of longevity, studies of peoples in many countries show that it is not new. The scientific aspects of it, however, are hardly more than 60 years old, and the ones which give evidence of some basic research are less than that. Research should be encouraged because longevity and gerontology are in competition with some very expensive studies in the physical sciences, which have high prestige, and consequently have big donations made to them. As one thinks of the whole of human society he will probably and finally conclude that human welfare is the foundation on which all research should be based. The whole of human welfare should be better financed and on a broader foundation than at present.-Chester Alexander.
In my opinion, aging research is a new and emerging area and both the financing and the encouragement of research workers in this field need special attention. I am not sure that any grandiose program of great immediate financing would produce the results. I, myself, would favor a somewhat more moderate program with special attention paid to the attraction of able young men within the various scientific fields into the field on the assumption that more funds would be made available in each succeeding year.—John E. Anderson.
Decidedly yes. Aging research is such a new and emerging area that encouragement for workers in this field and financing of their work do need special attention.- Warren Andrew.
I would say that financing and encouragement for researchers in aging needs attention, but it certainly needs it in all aspects of medicine and not particularly for any one area. I would think that this is a problem that must be decided by the deans of medicine in this country as to what are the important problems and which ones perhaps should have more priority over the others. I do not believe that aging research necessarily has priority over other urgent problems.—Henry H. Banks.
In reply to (7) I would say, yes, research in aging is still new enough that special encouragement should be given to new ideas and programs. Much current research follows the same pattern, while many areas are scarcely explored at all.—Belle Boone Beard.
I believe it unwise to attract scientists to any specific field. It is imperative to attract qualified individuals to the general field of basic biological research.Howard B. Bensusan.
Aging research definitely is a new and emerging area, many people are working on the periphery of gerontology, few are employed directly in gerontology research. It is important for the development of this work that gerontological positions should be established. I believe the Government should make funds available at a number of universities for faculty appointments at a professorial or associate professorial level in gerontology. Such individuals should be attached to basic science or clinical departments. Funds should be made available for building additional accommodation and for fitting and equipping appropriate laboratories for these individuals and providing technical assistance. "Immediate establishment of 6 to 10 of these appointments across the Nation would lift the whole field of medicobiological investigation of gerontology to a new level at one swoop.Geoffrey H. Bourne.
This healthy state of affairs should continue and should guide increased Govvernment promotion of research. I do not believe workers need to be attracted into this field. Their own interest in it should serve as sufficient motivation in the field.-Clark E. Brown.
Aging is certainly not a new area for research; but because of changing circumstances it has become a high priority or need area. During recent years considerable attention has been given to developing and encouraging research and training of investigators in the field of aging. Aging research will continue to require this specialized support and attention for an unforeseeable number of years.-Ewald W. Busse.
In answer to question 7, I do not feel that aging research is a new and emerging area. . I believe that the problems of the aged are covered from a physical standpoint in the various divisions of medicine such as studies of the heart, lung, endocrines, etc., and not as an entity of gerontology per se.-R. J. Carabasi.
Yes; I believe aging research needs stimulus and special attention. There are people who believe attention to the problems of the aged will take funds and personnel away from research and the development of programs for children and youth. I do not share this pessimistic point of view. I believe we can develop a balanced research program which will not impair the programs in other areas. We should make certain that a balanced program is maintained.-Wilbur J. Cohen.
Yes.-Eugene A. Confrey.
There is a paucity of research in the field, as compared with the need. I think there is need for a very special effort to attract researchers. As I have indicated above, the problem is to get the field recognized as one in which a man can make a career equally as promising as those offered by the other sciences.-Fred Cottrell.
I believe that the policy of the Rockefeller Foundation in developing other sciences has been fully vindicated. This policy consists primarily in the endowment of departments in the principal centers of learning, and secondarily, of the making of specific term grants. We have seen this in psychiatry and in pediatrics, which touch the problems of aging most closely.-E. V. Cowdry.
I don't feel that research on aging has any special claims nor basis for extraordinary promotion.-Sears Crowell.
Previous remarks in this letter make obvious my reply to this question. Action in the field is far ahead of research on every point. Money is not now available to test what has been and is being done. Policies are being set, confusion is apparent among the so-called experts, research is needed for the guidance of the policymakers and the experts." But without graduate students and research funds, the supply of investigators and of research studies will fail to materialize. It is cogent to remark here that last year the School of Social Work of the University of Michigan had available $300,000 for student scholarships and fellow, ships in child welfare, rehabilitation, psychiatric and medical social work, social administration, and criminology. Not one cent, however, was earmarked by the donors for use in training students to work with the aging. Obviously students and faculty are predestined to neglect aging when it is in competition with other highly funded fields.
Further evidence of the need for stimulation of research in the field is evidenced by the fact that of the 246 institutions reporting in the 1957 survey mentioned previously, only 46 research and theses studies were indicated in aging and underway or planned in the fields of psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and anthropology. This scarcity of studies is probably not unrelated to the fact that a survey of foundation support of research in the social aspects of aging showed that only 48 of the 190 replying expressed interest in supporting work in this area. Most stated a general interest as a part of a broad range of interests rather than a specific concern with the field of aging as a distinct area of scientific study.-Wilma Donahue.
I think that Government agencies should be receptive to sound research proposals in the aging field, and that the future will bring a substantial expansion of interest in this area. Unless aging research is being hampered by inadequate financing, or until the field develops further, however, no special attention appears necessary at this time.-H. H. Draper.
The field of aging is so new that encouragement of researchers in this field by special Government attention may be required. Look what happened to G. L. F. who entered because of interest alone, not because it offered a good new job to pad pocket or prestige.-G. L. Freeman.
Much the same sort of uncertainty must adhere to any answer as to the relative adequacy of support for research in the whole field of aging. Certainly within the VĀ, this area of major concern to the handling of an aging group of men has been relatively undersupported; and I suspect the same is true for the total research picture in the country. On the other hand, support in this area has increased extremely rapidly and perhaps is as great as can be effectively used by the personnel available now or in the near future. I strongly suspect that in this field, as in the area of biological psychiatry, one of the best investments of funds would be toward a sound training program combining the scientific and clinical aspects of the subject.
Considering point (b) in your third paragraph, I am quite satisfied that, even now, a significant amount of application of specific research findings to the handling of the aged is possible. I think of some dietary studies in California at the VA hospital, and some psychosociological studies on making worthwhile occupational activity available to the seriously physically handicapped, which have been in operation. Of course, it is no less true for the area of aging than for many others that the great mass of research will not bear immediate dividends but is likely to give great harvests later on.-R. W. Gerard.
I would be inclined to say yes.—Marcus S. Goldstein.
To date, I believe that a higher than average amount of research in social aspects of gerontology has been done by persons who, though their interests in the problems of the aged are sincere, are not qualified research persons. Reflecting this, I believe that much of the research conducted to date is both too localized in orientation (generally dealing with specific welfare problems in the local community) and not sufficiently sophisticated methodologically to be of general value in building a body of knowledge about aging and the aged. The increasing interest in the last decade or so on the part of well-qualified persons augurs well for the field. I believe that adequate financing and support for young persons doing research on the aged will both encourage them to continue in this area and. will serve to induce new personnel to enter this area of research. I believe that an important way in which this can be accomplished is through establishment of a National Institute of Gerontology and a Bureau on the Aged as suggested earlier.Sidney Goldstein.
I agree that aging research is a new and emerging area calling for some degree of special attention in financing and encouragement for researchers. My reply to question 1 indicates certain areas that I think need greater emphasis.Margaret S. Gordon.
It must be recognized that there has been scarcely a beginning in aging research. Grants must provide opportunities for the development of staff and of studies, as well as for the prosecution of well-designed investigations.-Albert V. Hardy.
Special attention for research in aging: Despite more than a decade of popular, governmental, and academic interest in the problems of aging, the impact upon the public at large is surprisingly limited. The knowledge developed through research and through the experience of institutions and organizations is communicated very slowly to those who might utilize it: Basic thinking and practice in this area are not significantly different, so far as the majority of the aging and