Forget ethical and philosophical debates, forget the public image of science among the uneducated proles.
Science, worldwide, lacks funding!
Particularly in, what I would translate as, mid-tier of academia: Not students (bottom-tier) nor professors (high-tier) but phd students and postdocs.
It used to be that the PhD was the final "proof" that you were a fully qualified scientist. Anyone with a Dr. in front of his name would get his team and maybe even his lab and a lot of freedom to research wahtever they wanted.
Nowadays not only are you expected to do a dozen postdocs and hope you win the lottery for a tenure position, you also have to write grant application after grant application and basically have to know what the result of your research will be to get it funded.
Oh and it has to be hype-ish such as Cancer, global warming, wahtever...
This problem is not limited to one country, its all over the world.
I blame the end of the cold war. Back then we could always say "But look, the russians are doing X, we better do Y otherwise we would fall behind" and they would let it rain money.
Supposedly it was even better during WWII.
If only we would have some politicians that understood that research for researchs sake is the best way to advance science.
Oh and of course science reporting could be better, pic related.