Tag Archives: science advocacy

Research!America’s Inaugural Advocacy Academy

AAcademy1

Advocacy Academy participants: Mesias Pedroza, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine; Chloe N. Poston, PhD, Eli Lilly and Company; Jeffery G. Mellott, PhD Northeast Ohio Medical University

Last week, we held our inaugural Advocacy Academy, bringing 12 postdoctoral researchers from across the U.S. to Washington, D.C.  A two-day advocacy training program that culminated in Congressional visits with the participants’ representatives. We selected this group of motivated and concerned early-career scientists from a diversity of institutions, including Northeast Ohio Medical University, UCSF, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Weill Cornell Medical College, the University of Washington and Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Eli Lilly and Company,  as well as local researchers at the National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. For these young researchers, sequestration and budget cuts have clamped down on available resources to investigate diseases in the lab and raised concerns about the viability of a future career in research. Feeling compelled to take action, these postdoctoral research fellows came to Washington to convey the personal and societal importance of medical and health research.  And they did a terrific job. Continue reading →

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The Science Policy Group at the University of California, San Francisco

By Dai Horiuchi, PhD and Bradley Webb, PhD, co-leaders of the Science Advocacy Subgroup and organizing members of the Science Policy Group at the  University of California, San Francisco (a Research!America member).

UCSFFBThe Science Policy Group (SPG) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is determined to take advantage of this crisis situation brought about by the sequester to speak up for the future of academic biomedical science in America.  We’re composed of a dedicated group of life sciences graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Our primary mission is to educate ourselves as well as the general public about policy issues and to take actions for the advancement of science and human health.  The SPG is composed of five subgroups; Science Advocacy, Science Education, Science Outreach, Science Reform, and Health Care Reform. The Advocacy Subgroup was formed in response to the sequester, the across-the-board budget cut, which has significantly decreased scientific funding since it went into effect earlier this year. It appeared that only those PIs and postdoctoral scholars whose federal grant applications (i.e. RO1s, K-awards, etc) were under consideration were aware of the potential consequences of the sequester. However, a majority of trainees had no knowledge of what the sequester entailed. It was not until grant applicants were unusually delayed and an abnormal number of grants, scholarships and fellowships were denied funding that people started paying attention. Continue reading →

The Science Policy Group at the University of Pennsylvania

By Shaun O’Brien, co-president of the Penn Science Policy Group. O’Brien is a fifth-year immunology graduate student at the Perelman School of Medicine (a Research!America member).

Shaun O’Brien

Shaun O’Brien

In response to the need to voice the concerns of young biomedical graduates and post-docs over the federal funding climate, graduate student Mike Allegrezza founded the Science Policy Group at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the past 6 months, our group has been involved in advocacy efforts along with examining other specific issues pertaining to careers, graduate education and other hot-button issues.

In terms of advocacy, the group has been very active in opposing sequestration, the across-the-board spending cuts for federal agencies, and educating the public about the impacts of sequestration on medical research. In the time leading up to the sequester, our group wrote an op-ed for The Daily Pennsylvanian, had terrific op-ed pieces by Alana Sharp and Ellen Elliot on the group blog, participated in interviews with The Philadelphia Inquirer, and even had Nicole Aiello, a third-year doctoral student at Penn, do an interview with NPR! Continue reading →

John Edward Porter, Chairman of Research!America, says Scientists Must Take on Broader Role in Advocacy

Hon. John Edward PorterThe chair of Research!America’s board of directors, John Edward Porter, tells Chemical & Engineering News that he began college with the aspiration of becoming an engineer or scientist. As fate would have it, he turned his focus instead to pursuing a law degree. He never lost his passion for science, though. That passion is evident in his efforts as a champion for research while in Congress and in his work with Research!America. Now he is charging scientists to take on a broader role in science advocacy.

In an era of flat-funded budgets and sequestration, Porter says it’s important for scientists to engage more with policy makers, most of whom are lawyers by trade.  Porter acknowledges that engaging with the public and taking on the role of an advocate may be very uncomfortable and unnatural to scientists, but it is a vital step to ensuring the U.S. maintains a position of world leadership. To be an effective advocate doesn’t mean scientists only have to ask for more money; advocacy and engagement can be accomplished through a range of activities. Continue reading →