Civic Engagement

Dear Research Advocate, As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s launch of Civics Forward , CEO Thomas Donahue challenged the business community to play a leading role in civic education, for no less a reason than assuring the future of our nation. This challenge is reminiscent of his call to the science community last February at the AAAS meeting to do more with the business community, in order to achieve shared aspirations. As he said at the time, “without science there is no innovation, and without innovation, there is no industry,” going on to emphasize the enduring value the business community accords to science. There is no question that heightened attention to civic education and...
Civic engagement is a critical skill set for scientists. It creates an opportunity to take part in our democracy at any career stage while contributing a much-needed scientific perspective to important issues facing our communities and nation. Scientific research is heavily dependent on public funding with almost 50% of support for basic research coming from the federal government. But did you know STEM students are the student population with the lowest voter turnout? Knowing how to dialogue with policymakers and the public is vital to strengthening research as a national priority. Early career scientists may not know where to begin, but there are a host of ways to get involved...
Dear Research Advocate, I’m writing early this week to remind those of you who won’t be joining us in person that you can join our National Research Forum tomorrow, Thursday, via livestream. See more information at the end of this letter. Political theater isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I have always enjoyed it, from the Greeks to Hamilton. A remarkable, multiple-award-winning play, “What the Constitution Means to Me” will open soon at the Kennedy Center after a successful run on Broadway, and will soon head to the West Coast. I highly recommend it. Written several years ago by Heidi Schreck, who is also the lead, the work brings out the good news – and the complicated and ever-evolving...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Ten years ago this month, Dr. Francis Collins became the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health. The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, of which Research!America is a member, sent a letter to Dr. Collins congratulating and thanking him for his remarkable service, achievements and impact. Our latest web resource highlights the history, progress, and promise of the groundbreaking research NIH conducts and supports. Funding for NIH and our nation’s other science agencies hinges on timely congressional action, and on you. Don’t wait to advocate. Hard-won...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Jenny Luray, Research!America’s Senior Advisor. We are nearly a year out from the 2020 Presidential election and six months away from the Iowa caucuses. While candidates were meeting voters and sampling local treats at the Iowa State Fair, a new survey commissioned by Research!America and Science Debate was released, demonstrating a large majority of Iowans want presidential candidates to talk about science-related issues. Ninety percent believe it is important for the U.S. to be a leader in science and technology research. These survey results reveal a not-to-be missed opportunity for candidates to highlight the value of science and...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Jenny Luray, Research!America’s Senior Advisor. Earlier today, the Senate passed -- by a vote of 67-28, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 to raise the budget caps in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 and suspend the debt ceiling until July 2021. As Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) worked to round up the votes, Research!America sent a letter of support . The President is expected to sign the bill. Happily, this brings the threat of sequestration and massive discretionary spending cuts to an end. Your advocacy made a difference as you weighed in, time and time again, with your Members of Congress, exhorting them to...
I valued the opportunity earlier this week to join the team from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science as they delivered their high quality program at Mississippi State University. Mr. Alda gave a typically inspirational and amusing keynote and also kicked off the interactive sessions the next morning. The Alda Method© team-teaches communication skills, drawing on working actors’ improvisational abilities coupled with the expertise of educators and researchers who regularly contribute to the academic literature, including the Oxford Handbook of The Science of Science Communication . As more academic institutions consider adding a communication and public engagement component to...
Dear Research Advocate: With the recent nomination of atmospheric scientist Kelvin Droegemeier, PhD, to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), I have been asked about the role of this office and its director. In this terrific analysis , Former OSTP assistant director Tom Kalil lays it all out and also offers compelling observations on the nature of effective leadership. Anyone interested in public service, policy-making or policy-influencing, and/or honing leadership skills, would do well to spend a few minutes with “Policy Entrepreneurship at the White House.” Research!America sent a letter to Senate Commerce, Science, Transportation Committee Chair John Thune...

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