The future of biomedical and scientific research in the United States is inextricably attached to the universities and academic medical centers funded by the government. And the work many of us do commenting on ethical issues arising from that funded research is dependent on its continuation. Yet the institutions of higher education and the academic medical centers where this federally funded research takes place are under attack on many fronts. What would the world look like without federally supported research universities? It is likely that the number of institutions doing funded research would drop dramatically, perhaps to the one hundred or so institutions that already receive the vast majority of funding.