Re: “Our View: Good news in the budget is federal research funds” (Dec. 28):

The significant boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health in the fiscal 2016 budget deal will help launch and advance promising studies to defeat deadly and costly diseases. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and other congressional champions for research should be commended for their leadership.

Yet much remains unclear as to whether many of the candidates running for national office will build on this momentum.

Hillary Clinton has released a plan to cure Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, and other presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and John Kasich, have talked about the importance of medical research, but the topic has not been discussed fully in debates.

A majority of Americans (86 percent) say the presidential candidates should participate in a debate to discuss key science-based challenges facing the United States such as health care, innovation and the economy, according to a national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America and sciencedebate.org.

A debate is the perfect venue for candidates to further elaborate on their vision for addressing issues that threaten our health and global competitiveness in science. With the primaries approaching, it’s time for them to have substantive conversations on this topic with voters.