Biotechnology will expand its global reach

Globalization will advance, for all sorts of reasons. You don't need to be an accountant to understand the financial benefits that can flow from building an R&D hub in Shanghai. And you don't have to be a Nobel laureate to see that the young scientists being recruited to fill slots overseas have an impressive range of talents. Increasingly, researchers in Europe and the U.S. will compete against Asians for jobs. That trend will damage some scientific communities and help build others. Unfortunately, the federal government won't be picking up any of the slack in the U.S. In 2008, at least, a president trying to keep a lid on the red ink will continue to contain research spending. You can agree or disagree with the administration all you like, but it won't change its stripes on the scientific front--ever.

But that doesn't mean that governments won't play a significant role in discovery. State governments have come up with some of the most aggressive programs to support research. Texas' newly approved $3 billion cancer program can rival California's stem cell initiative. And states like Connecticut are beginning to dole out money for R&D as well. Europe has countered the market restraints on research by adopting an aggressive public/private program--the Innovative Medicines Initiative--that can inject some cash into discovery. And the NIH will continue to play a huge role in determining the direction of science in America. The science will follow the money in 2008 like every other year.

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