Ohio State University Biomedical Research Tower

Ohioans broadly support a strong commitment to medical and health research and recognize its direct link to job creation and the state’s and the nation’s economy, according to a new statewide poll conducted by IBOPE Zogby for Research!America and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).

A strong majority of Ohioans (86%) thinks medical and health research is important (42% say very important) to the state’s economy. Eight in 10 believe spending money on scientific research is important to Ohio’s economy in terms of jobs and incomes.

Nine in 10 (92%) Ohioans think it is important (62% say very important) for the state to be a leader in medical and health research, but only half say the state is a leader in this area. Nearly as many (88%) say it is important for the state to be a leader in science and technology, but just 28% think it is.

The poll findings were released last week at a forum convened by NEOMED and Research!America in Rootstown, Ohio.

“The strong public support by Ohioans for research is a reflection of the growth and strength of medical and health R&D conducted by the universities and academic health centers in our state,” said Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S, Ph.D., president of the University. “Ohio’s universities are building the state’s leadership in medical and health research, educating health professionals to work in underserved areas and creating innovative collaborations with the state’s growing life science industry and broader business community.

Six in 10 Ohioans believe it is very important for the state to encourage young people to pursue careers that require a solid education in science, and nearly as many (57%) say it is very important that Ohio create more opportunities for careers in science and research.

“These poll results show the strong priority Ohio residents place on medical and scientific research and that they understand the link between strong investment in research and science education, job creation and economic prosperity,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “This widespread support should send a resounding message to policy makers about the critical need for continued investment in medical and scientific research.”

Nearly half (49%) of Ohioans say that the 5½ cents of each health dollar the nation spent in 2009 on medical and health research was not enough, and 60% say it is a top or high priority to accelerate our nation’s investment in research to improve health. One-third say it is primarily the federal government’s responsibility to accelerate that investment; 28% say private industry; and 20%, research institutions or universities.

Further findings from the Ohio poll include:

  • 81% say they would approve of their state offering financial incentives to companies to attract new scientific research labs or companies;
  • 97% think education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is important (78% say very important) to U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity;
  • 90% of Ohioans say it is important that elected officials at all levels listen to advice from scientists and public health professionals when setting policy or spending priorities.

IBOPE Zogby International conducted an online survey for Research!America of 600 adults in Ohio, April 27-May 2, 2011. The sample is proportionate to the nation’s demographics, including age, race/ethnicity, gender and education, with a margin of error of ±4.1%. Highlights of the poll findings are available at www.researchamerica.org/uploads/ohiopoll2011.pdf.