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Dear Research Advocate, Mentioned here last week and the focus of an alliance member webinar earlier this week, the President issued an executive order (EO) extending and imposing new restrictions on worker and student visas. Our statement expresses opposition . Let’s face it — this EO essentially forces our nation to shoot itself in the foot. Bernat Navarro-Serer of the Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group (and a Research!America 2019 student microgrant recipient ) makes the case for sustaining our nation’s long-standing student visa programs . From the article: “ ...a suspension on work visas sends a strong message to current and future students seeking an education in the United States:...
Dear Research Advocate, You may have paused yesterday in solidarity with the young scientists who galvanized the #ShutDownSTEM movement to listen and reflect on your personal and your organization’s role in ending racism; I did. The very first research project I was involved in worked hard to recruit its study volunteers from a diverse community; we were only modestly successful. That was more than 40 years ago; ensuring diversity in clinical trials is still a major obstacle. Overcoming health disparities is a related challenge, one that calls for — no, demands — far greater attention. Witness COVID-19. We may not know all the factors that are causing dramatically disproportionate harm to...
Dear Research Advocate, Jumping right in: Funding, Current and Future : Democratic Leaders in the House are focusing on the Moving Forward Framework , an infrastructure investment blueprint they originally released in January 2020, as the foundation for a fourth, $2 trillion supplemental. As it stands, both House Republicans and the Senate seem reluctant to pass another supplemental; nonetheless, the prospects for an infrastructure-focused stimulus are strong. We have heard that Congress and the administration may opt to roll FY21 funding into the aforementioned infrastructure supplemental rather than go the well-worn (and progress-stifling) “Continuing Resolution” route. While at this...
Dear Research Advocate, Almost three months into the 2020 fiscal year, Congress has finally passed a legislative package to fund the federal government. As of press time, the Senate is expected to finish clearing the package tonight. The White House has indicated that the President will sign, thus avoiding a shutdown at midnight on Friday. There are many positive developments for the medical and science research advocacy community in these bills, including: A significant funding increase of $2.6 billion for NIH, paving the way for faster medical progress and more lifesaving, job-producing R&D. An increase of $636 million for the CDC, including new resources to strengthen the agency’s 24...
Research!America member FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) kicked off their NSF Matters campaign with a briefing highlighting NSF-funded research tackling antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotic-resistant infections, driven by overuse of antibiotics in clinical and agricultural settings, are on the rise, began the briefing’s first panelist, Dr. Paul Turner , Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University . His work focuses on a new, non-antibiotic approach to treating bacterial infections: viruses. Bacteriophages (simply referred to as phages) are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. The phage Turner works with attacks bacteria via their...
Dear Research Advocate: As you know, there has been a cease fire in the shutdown and people are back to work, at least for now. Over the next two weeks, members of Congress will attempt to resolve the stalemate over funding for the President’s border wall, packaging it with the seven remaining FY 2019 spending bills, which include funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). I am feeling optimistic about a deal being struck, not least because Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, are leading the congressional...
Dear Research Advocate: The government remains in a partial shutdown that began on December 22, taking a mounting toll on 800,000 federal workers, including those at FDA and NSF. The Alliance for a Stronger FDA has put together a “ Shutdown Toolkit ” detailing how this ongoing impasse is affecting us all. In a similar vein, the Coalition for National Science Funding has been sharing stories on social media that focus on how the shutdown is impacting NSF-funded research and programs, stifling discovery and sending a message of ‘no public confidence’ to aspiring young scientists. Clearly, the effects of the shutdown on research are multiple, disruptive and counterproductive. This New York...
Dear Research Advocate: Votes and other Congressional activities were suspended this week to mourn the passing of our nation’s 41st President, George H.W. Bush. To prevent a government shutdown and provide more time to resolve disagreement around border wall funding, Congress agreed to another continuing resolution (CR) – now awaiting the President’s signature – to extend flat-funding for all remaining federal departments and agencies, including FDA and NSF, until December 21. This end-of-year CR scenario is all too familiar to advocates, and we must all stay the course to secure passage this year. Yesterday, Research!America and the Alliance for Aging Research sent a joint letter to...
Dear Research Advocate: At our post-election briefing this morning at AAAS in Washington, DC, the discussion focused on opportunities for advocacy given the composition and characteristics of the new Congress, and the importance of building new champions from among the nearly 100 new members of Congress. Of note — at last count, there are seven science-trained new members, a very welcome development! There is no doubt that a divided Congress can cause gridlock, but inaction is not a foregone conclusion, as was emphasized by our Chair, the Hon. Michael N. Castle. There are important, science-relevant issues, such as infrastructure, STEM education, and the opioid crisis, that both parties...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier today, Rob Smith and Kim Monk of Capital Alpha Partners, and Pete Kirkham of Red Maple Consulting joined Research!America alliance members to discuss the near and mid-term outlook for congressional action on drug pricing, the state of play on appropriations, and other research-relevant issues. Although our speakers noted that much can change in the final week before the election, there were several key takeaways. First, it’s safe to say that the uncertainties surrounding the election and the ongoing interest (both in Congress and the White House) in addressing rising healthcare costs means that drug pricing and issues related to the supply chain more...

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