weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Some long-awaited, promising news regarding the budget caps: congressional leaders and the White House have agreed in principle on a deal that would raise the discretionary budget caps for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 and raise the debt limit sufficiently to avoid another “cliff” for at least two years. There are (as there always seem to be) caveats: the amount by which the caps would increase is not yet public, negotiations continue on such variables as offsets, and we don’t yet know how the deal will fare with other than those members of Congress in leadership roles...
Dear Research Advocate, For the remainder of the summer, we will have a series of guest authors writing Mary’s Weekly Letter. This week’s author is Mike Coburn, Research!America’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Members of Congress are back in town following the Fourth of July holiday, and talks are taking place between Congressional leaders and the Administration to resolve the issue of the budget. Complicating matters is the need for Congress to pass and the Administration to approve an increase in the debt limit. Research!America sent a letter to Congressional leaders and the White House urging swift action. While news reports indicate the Administration is...
Dear Research Advocate, “Not only is it important to ask questions and find the answers, as a scientist I felt obligated to communicate with the world what we were learning.” Stephen Hawking This apt quotation serves as the preface to a newly released survey from ScienceCounts and the Alan Alda Foundation for Communicating Science. Their findings, coupled with those reported a few weeks ago by SigmaXi and Research!America, signal recognition that if science is to thrive, scientists themselves must help make the case. Both surveys indicate that scientists are very willing to become engaged -- more so than ever before, in my experience! This week, members of Congress are back home, but not...
Dear Research Advocate, “June Gloom” is what the residents of Los Angeles call this past month’s weather. I was in California last week at the invitation of UC Riverside, which has, in addition to a robust portfolio of federally funded research, an inspiring commitment to the community. For the record, it wasn’t gloomy in Riverside, but then, the LA area is vast, and the overcast is closer to the ocean. There is a decent parallel here to the vastness of the landscape for support of research in Washington: the House passed two “minibus” appropriations packages this month that include significant increases for federal agencies that support research. This week we issued a statement about the...
Dear Research Advocate, Later today, I will participate on a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health to explore the implications of an ambitious new survey commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. The report , which was released yesterday in Washington, explores public attitudes on trust in science, gathered in a survey conducted in 140 countries. Overall, trust in science is linked strongly to education and income and also tracks with trust in governments and the military. The survey takes a deep dive on attitudes toward vaccines, with findings that appear to closely track our U.S. findings from last year. The findings in the report will help us better understand how individuals, both in the U.S. and...
Dear Research Advocate, The House is working to reach its goal of passing all twelve FY20 appropriations bills by the end of June, debating a “minibus” package of four of those bills this week, including the Labor, HHS, and Education funding bill that includes funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Next week, a second “minibus” package of appropriations bills will be on the House Floor, including funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (As time goes on without a budget cap resolution, it remains critical to do your part to assure a...
Dear Research Advocate, In a recent weekly letter, I mentioned that advocacy in support of fetal tissue research continued to be critical, despite the apparent lull in an Administration effort to evaluate how to curtail/replace this avenue of research. Apparent is the operative word. Yesterday, the Administration announced that an NIH fetal tissue research-related contract with UCSF will not be renewed; intramural researchers at NIH will no longer be able to procure fetal tissue for research; and another layer of review will be imposed on all those seeking federal funding for fetal tissue research. Read our statement , an Axios article, and, most importantly, contact Eric Anthony ( eanthony...
Dear Research Advocate, At our recent jam-packed Alliance Member Meeting we heard from Grace Graham, Health Policy Director for Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN), and Andi Fristedt, Deputy Health Policy Director for Ranking Member Murray (D-WA). Grace and Andi encouraged input on bipartisan draft legislation that covers a range of healthcare and public health issues, including increasing efficiency and reducing costs, confronting rising maternal mortality rates, and addressing vaccine hesitancy. The authors of the bill are taking comments until June 5. Experts joined us at the University of San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus for a spirited evening of conversation about the use...
Dear Research Advocate, Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has authored a timely op-ed in USA Today arguing that China’s determination to secure global economic leadership is not only reflected in its trade practices, but also in its robust investments in R&D. Meanwhile, our nation shows disturbing signs of allowing R&D to falter, ceding global economic competitiveness in the process. Surveys commissioned by Research!America tell us that fewer than 4 in 10 Americans say they have confidence that the U.S. will maintain our global standing in science and innovation. But as McPherson notes, we still have advantages and still have...
Dear Research Advocate, Today, the House Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill, which they will consider tomorrow. The good news is that the bill contains the largest increase in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in several years; the bad news is we can’t get there from here unless we #RaisetheCaps. On that subject, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have met to discuss the importance of a caps deal; according to news reports , the President was receptive. It is critical for stakeholders to reinforce the need for a deal now, while both the President and Congress are focused on it. If...

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Sidebar Quote

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