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Chamber organizes coalition to press Congress for research funding

Fearing deep cuts in federal funding, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce has organized a coalition of 41 such chambers from around the country to lobby Congress for increased spending on research.

Paul Guzzi, president of the Boston chamber, will head the coalition, known as “Business for Federal Research Funding.”

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“Our advocacy team reached out to chambers across the country,” said Charles Rudnick, vice president of communications at the chamber. “We thought it was very important. One of the most effective ways to build support around Congress is to join together with diverse chambers from around the country.”

Boston’s concentration of leading hospitals, universities, and research institutions attracts significant government research spending. In 2013, for example, the region received more than $1.77 billion in grants from the National Institutes of Health alone – 8 percent of the agency’s total awards and more than any other region in the country.

Research funding is a potential target in the federal budget as a result of the 2013 budget standoff. The Obama administration has asked Congress to approve $30.3 billion in NIH spending for fiscal year 2015 – a small increase from the $30.1 billion approved for the current year, but less than what was spent before the cuts known as sequestration were implemented.

“In an increasingly global and competitive marketplace, federal investment in research is fueling the creation of jobs for millions of Americans,” Guzzi said in a statement revealing the coalition. “Failure to invest federal resources in research would also diminish innovation in the US.”

Bennie DiNardo can be reached at dinardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bdinardo.
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