advocacy

By Megan Kane, PhD Megan Kane As reported on Research!America’€™s blog and in numerous media channels, scientists are facing a difficult funding environment made even worse by sequestration. I am one of the members of the ’€œentire generation of scientists at risk’€ that NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and others have referenced in their warnings about the long-term harm of sequestration. Due to tightening budgets in research laboratories, I was forced to make a decision earlier this year: either delay my graduation from my doctoral program or look for immediate employment outside of a lab environment and possibly never get back to the bench. A colleague pointed me to the advertisement...
Alan I. Leshner, PhD In a recent op-ed published in the Toronto Star Dr. Alan Leshner, Research!America board member, writes that federal deficits in the United States and Canada ’€œpose a significant threat’€ to basic research. He notes that ’€œsome policy-makers seem to value near-term, industry-focused science more highly.’€ But adds that basic science has larger potential payoffs than applied research. ’€œThe most well-known example of life-changing basic research is of course Sir Alexander Fleming ’€™s accidental 1928 discovery of a mould (penicillin) that seemed to repel bacteria. German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen ’€™s 19th century efforts to pass cathode rays through glass now...
Dear Research Advocate: On Wednesday, the House Appropriations agriculture subcommittee approved the funding bill that includes the Food and Drug Administration. The bill allocates nearly $100 million above the post-sequester levels. Unfortunately, the baseline budgets in the House are so low that this increase is still lower than FY12 FDA funding. We must not fall into the trap of lowering our expectations and applauding an artificial victory. The true mark of success is funding that keeps up with need. We must keep working. As demonstrated particularly by the 18.6% cut targeted for the House LHHS appropriations FY14 budget, the pressure to shrink government by slashing discretionary...
Dear Research Advocate: I invite you to join me in speaking out during the Memorial Day congressional recess (May 27-31) as part of a social media campaign using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Our goal is to continue to position research and innovation to improve health where it belongs: as a fundamental national priority that Americans can count on because their elected representatives rank it so highly. In our social media campaign, each day of the recess has a specific theme that can be customized with your information and patient/researcher stories. We have made it easy to get involved: click here to see sample social media messages, a list of selected congressional offices and their...
Everyone understands that it’€™s necessary to take a hard look at the federal budget and cut costs. The problem with the sequestration is that it recklessly cuts every category of spending across the board at a time when we should maintain critical investments that will pay for themselves in the long run. One of my roles at the University of Pittsburgh is to advocate for federal investment in biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which administers grants to scientists around the country. About 80 percent of all funding for medical research in American universities comes from the NIH. One quarter of NIH funding is for research that leads directly and quickly to...
Research!America extends our congratulations again to all of our 2013 Advocacy Award winners. The dinner was a wonderful opportunity to thank our supporters and advocates for all of their hard work and recognize leaders in the research and advocacy communities. This year’€™s Advocacy Award winners were Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC); Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA); John F. Crowley, patient advocate and chairman and CEO of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc.; Mark Rosenberg, MD, president and CEO of The Task Force for Global Health; John Mendelsohn, MD, director of the Khalifa Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and former president at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Diane Rehm, host of ’€œ...
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is marking this year’€™s multiple sclerosis Awareness Week with a national campaign, ’€œ Every Connection Counts .’€ The campaign seeks to raise awareness of MS and draw attention to the impact of MS; this disease ’€œdivides minds from bodies, pulls people from their lives and away from one another,’€ according to the National MS Society . Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, debilitating condition that is triggered by the body’€™s immune system attacking the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spine and optic nerves. This aberrant immune response targets myelin, a protective sheath that covers nerve fibers like rubber around an electrical...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, the House passed a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that includes this year’€™s cuts from sequestration along with an additional one percent across-the-board cut. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration, where we are likely to see higher funding levels than the House version, but with sequestration still in place. Congress seems anxious to avoid the brinksmanship and the government shutdown threats that have characterized past debates. While the less rancorous environment surrounding the CR is a welcome change, the complacency around sequestration is not. As research advocates, we cannot let these cuts stand. Sequestration isn’€™t a...
Dear Research Advocate, With all the conversation about the debt ceiling and tax and entitlement reform, it may surprise you to know that an additional topic is on many minds. A wide majority of Americans, 72%, say the new Congress and the president should take action to expand medical research within the first 100 days of the new legislative session. See this and more in America Speaks , Volume 13, a compilation of national poll data providing insights into public sentiment on key research-related issues. See our press release and download the full Poll Data Summary . These polling results are designed to be used in your advocacy and outreach! Among the growing number of issues that need...
Dear Research Advocate, Progress toward a deal to avert the fiscal cliff seems now to have been reversed, with talk today of reintroducing aspects of the Ryan budget ’€” more severe than sequestration. Holidays or not, this is no time to let up on our individual and collective advocacy for research. Reps. Fudge (D-OH) and Stivers (R-OH) are leading a bipartisan sign-on letter , urging Congress to take into account the critical importance of NIH in any deficit reduction plan. Take action and urge your representatives to sign on! For those of you in Ohio, if you would like to thank Reps. Fudge and Stivers for their efforts, you may obtain their contact information here . In addition to...

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient