Alan Leshner

A new report has found that a one-size fits all approach is not the best strategy to engage and educate non-scientists. The National Academy of Sciences’ report, Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda was the subject of a public discussion hosted by the Academy on January 10 in Washington, D.C. Research!America board member and AAAS CEO emeritus Alan Leshner, Ph.D., moderated the discussion, which included representatives from academia, government and news organizations. He noted that science communication is “an acquired skill, not innate.” The report concludes that it is time to leave the “deficit model” of communication behind. This model suggests that people do not accept...
Dear Research Advocate: The omnibus appropriations bill about to become law demonstrates that bipartisanship and pseudo -regular order is achievable. We won’€™t know for sure if we have true ’€œregular order’€ until Congress proceeds through the FY15 appropriations process in a timely manner ’€” something that hasn’€™t happened for many years. The importance of regular order is that the public’€™s interests are heard from in hearings, and every Member of Congress participates in priority-setting instead of only having the opportunity to cast a single up-or-down vote. Regular order is worth working toward, since at least one priority we all care about did not fare well in the omnibus. The...
Dear Research Advocate: Myth #1: Congress doesn’t pay attention during the August recess. Not true! Many town hall meetings are planned. Since the debt ceiling and appropriations negotiations are coming up in September, the August recess is actually a very important time for advocacy. Use this month to drive the point home that medical research should not be subjected to budget cuts by attending a town hall meeting, meeting with district staff and participating in our social media campaign, #curesnotcuts. Click here for sample messages, or draw from a recent op-ed penned by The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America chair. The op-ed ran in several McClatchy-Tribune newspapers across...
Dear Research Advocate: Myth #1: Congress doesn’t pay attention during the August recess. Not true! Many town hall meetings are planned. Since the debt ceiling and appropriations negotiations are coming up in September, the August recess is actually a very important time for advocacy. Use this month to drive the point home that medical research should not be subjected to budget cuts by attending a town hall meeting, meeting with district staff and participating in our social media campaign, #curesnotcuts. Click here for sample messages, or draw from a recent op-ed penned by The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America chair. The op-ed ran in several McClatchy-Tribune newspapers across...
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...
Now, more than ever, young scientists are grappling with important career decisions. For newly minted PhDs, there are fewer and fewer academic faculty positions available. These coveted ’€œtenure track’€ positions have been the ’€œtypical’€ career path for research scientists in a variety of biomedical fields. Yet in an environment with flat funded research budgets combined with sequestration, a decade of cuts, more scientists are pursuing ’€˜alternative’€™ careers. This desire to learn about the diversity of career options for scientists prompted nearly 1,400 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other scientists-in-training to register for the recent Career Symposium hosted by the...
Some group shots from yesterday’s events: From left, Catherine Tucker, PhD; Research!America Board member Mark McClellan, MD, PhD; and Amalia Miller, PhD. Tucker and Miller are the recipients of the 2012 Garfield Economic Impact Award. From left, Research!America Board member, Hon. Kweisi Mfume; Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley; National Journal Daily editor Matthew Cooper; and Research!America Chair Hon. John Edward Porter. From left, Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley; National Journal Daily editor Matthew Cooper; Research!America Board member and chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Alan Leshner, PhD; and Research!...
Dear Research Advocate, With a stellar team of advocates from across the research community, we have been blitzing Capitol Hill this week with our message that we need cures, not cuts. Research!America and our partners have participated in more than 60 meetings with Members of Congress, including key leadership and their staff. My thanks to the 140+ groups that signed on to our community letter to congressional leadership. Many partners have activated their grassroots to join the call Congress day, and there is still time to join the In-District Drop-In day (today) and a social media push on Friday. We also encourage you to keep up the drumbeat with emails and phone calls to Hill offices...
Dear Research Advocate, By far the most expensive, and arguably one of the most divisive, election seasons in history is behind us. A lot of money was spent to find out that Americans continue to hold divergent views on many issues. We heard very little about research during the election because, in most ways, it is not a divisive issue; support is both bipartisan and grounded in common sense. The problem is that it can be taken too much for granted. At a time when Americans are looking for an end to standoff politics and want action on things we can feel good about as a nation, prioritizing research for health can be the perfect healing issue ’€” something we can all be proud of. But let...

Sidebar Quote

We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America