The Non-Denominational, Bipartisan, Early Career Scientist Holiday Wish List #sciwishlist

By Samantha White, PhD; Research!America Science Policy Fellow

Congress recently passed a budget agreement that should provide some temporary relief from the steep cuts of sequestration.  Unfortunately, this budget is far from a panacea the damage wrought by the sequester and a decade of stagnant funding to our nations research enterprise.  One alarming consequence has been a devastating blow innovative scientific studies to help fight deadly and disabling diseases.

During this season of giving, the Appropriations Committee will allocate funding to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other scientific agencies. 

We at Research!America wanted to know what early career scientists, arguably one of the hardest-hit demographics in the scientific community, would put on their holiday “Wish List” for appropriators.

An informal brainstorm by graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and young investigators produced the following “wishes”:

  • Sufficient resources to incorporate cutting-edge tools and techniques that can both better overall experimental designs AND speed the rate of discoveries.
  • Increased training and travel awards for technical short courses and conferences necessary for early career scientists to develop as researchers and science communicators.
  • Enough post-doctoral positions to enhance the training of graduate students, advance research goals in the lab, and ensure recent Ph.D. graduates can pursue scientific careers.
  • More job security for those building their first labs so they can focus on exciting new experiments and research pursuits instead of spending all of their time writing grant proposals.
  • Officials who not only listen to the pleas for research funding but also learn about the science and discoveries that depend on it so they can better inform their constituents.
  • Not a transient pause, but an END to sequestration before it ends scientific discovery in the not too distant future!

These represent only a handful of countless “wishes” early career scientists have in the aftermath of merely 9 months of sequestration.  While Appropriation Subcommittee members begin to compile their “wish lists,” it is the responsibility of all citizens to let them know why funding for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other scientific agencies should be a top priority.

Regardless of your career stage, join the conversation by sharing YOUR “wishes” on Twitter @ResearchAmerica #sciwishlist.

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