Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) President, Joseph R. Haywood, PhD, on March 6 participated in a session on “Reducing Federal Regulatory Burden” at the Council On Government Relations annual meeting. He described major sources of instability in the research enterprise and how regulatory burden contributes to this critical problem. FASEB’s Sustaining Discovery in Biological and Medical Sciences: A Framework for Discussion and 2013 Survey on Administrative Burden were the focal point of his talk. Dr. Haywood was joined by two other speakers during the session, who described the recent Senate report “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities” and the new National Academy of Sciences Committee on Federal Research Regulations and Reporting Requirements.
In his remarks, Dr. Haywood described how federal funding levels have fallen and the cost of research risen while, concurrently, scientific opportunity and the research workforce have grown. As detailed in Sustaining Discovery, increasing regulatory burden has contributed to higher research costs and reduced the amount of time investigators can dedicate to active research. Duplicative, unnecessarily complex, and overlapping regulations combined with institutional risk aversion exacerbate this problem. Dr. Haywood emphasized that mitigating regulatory burden can free up funds and researcher time, and increase the productivity of federal support. The talk concluded with a summary of key areas of burden for biomedical researchers, based on the results of the FASEB 2013 survey, and select recommendations to address them.