If they ever hope to raise research and innovation as a higher national priority, scientists must communicate with the public, media and policymakers on how science contributes to the economy, national security and better health. Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley explained why scientists should be actively engaged as advocates during a session at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2017 conference on Friday, June 2.
Woolley joined Bill Novelli, distinguished professor, Georgetown University and formerly CEO of AARP, as well as a former Research!America board member, and ASM CEO Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., MPH, to discuss the important role that scientists play in raising public awareness and generating support for science with the general public and policymakers. With steep cuts for non-defense discretionary programs in President Trump’s FY18 budget, there is a palpable sense of urgency. It is important that every member of the science community reach out to their member of Congress and Senators.
Novelli noted that almost half of Americans erroneously believe that cuts to government funding would have no impact on scientific progress. He shared survey data drawn from a recent ScienceCounts study on public perceptions of science, pointing to most effective words and concepts to achieve effective communication to engage a non-science audience. He discussed effective social movements in other sectors, finishing on an optimistic note about his conviction that scientists can and will have the impact we all wish to achieve.