weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, On (but mostly off) Capitol Hill : Neither the House nor Senate is expected to reconvene until after Labor Day. As things stand, it may be late September before a final COVID-19 emergency spending package takes shape. The longer the delay on that front, the greater the chances that a continuing resolution (CR) will be attached, flat-funding the government until after (potentially long after) the November elections. Sound the Alarm : If this no-action update sounds all-too-familiar, that’s because it is. The push and pull of differing funding priorities and election-year politics are fogging the lens such that the most important consideration – the crying need for...
Dear Research Advocate, On Capitol Hill : Senate Republicans have a new legislative proposal for COVID-19 emergency supplemental spending which includes provisions such as extended unemployment benefits and emergency funding for USPS, but no supplemental funding to restore COVID-19-eroded research dollars. Speaking up now is essential if there is to be an emergency spending bill that fully fights back COVID-19’s attack on the nation’s economy and health security. Reach out to your members of Congress to encourage them to include at least $26 billion in funding to restart lifesaving research supported by our health and science agencies. Here are two ways you can act right away: send this...
The pandemic continues to reconfigure our society and our individual lives. Our R&D ecosystem is simultaneously at the center of the COVID-19 response and placed at risk by it. What is certain during this profoundly uncertain period in our nation’s history is this: inaction breeds tragedy. Inaction on Capitol Hill : Negotiations over desperately needed emergency spending legislation and FY21 appropriations are in a holding pattern. In a troubling sign, reports today surfaced that federal agencies have been told to prepare for flat funding via a CR through December. Let’s face it: federal leaders are waiting to see who blinks first, even as desperation mounts and priorities like medical...
Dear Research Advocate, Let’s cut to the chase : There is so much at stake right now as Congressional leadership and the Administration negotiate the next COVID-19 supplemental, timing included. It’s a ‘now’ situation for Americans and those who represent them; it’s a ‘now’ situation for advocates, too. Research!America sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include at least $26 billion in supplemental research funding in the legislation. Now is the time to meet the moment — don’t let disappointment or fatigue set in — your advocacy has worked in the past and it can work again! Reach out now and encourage your Members of Congress to weigh in with negotiators to achieve a...
Dear Research Advocate, Phase 3 enrollment is now underway for a number of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. That science has moved so quickly from first identification of the virus to Phase 3 trials, speaks to remarkable public-private sector collaboration. It also speaks to the absolute necessity of taxpayer investment in basic, discovery science over many years; a lesson we must not ignore as we plan responses to the pandemics that will surely follow. To help move the massive trial enrollment process along, NIH has launched the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN), merging networks already funded by NIAID for HIV and other infectious disease trials. Each of the Phase 3 clinical...
Dear Research Advocate, We lost two extraordinary Civil Rights heroes this past weekend, John Lewis and C.T. Vivian. Of these courageous, committed advocates, Dr. Louis Sullivan, former HHS Secretary, Research!America emeritus board member, and friend to research advocacy, said in a statement: “ The lives of millions are better today because of their leadership and their sacrifice .” AAAS has begun a “transition to a lifelong commitment of actions to eradicate anti-Black racism in academia and STEM.” AAAS CEO and Research!America board member Dr. Sudip Parikh is leading the three-phase effort. You can review the first phase of the draft plan now. AAAS welcomes your feedback; please email...
Dear Research Advocate, We sent a letter to President Trump yesterday in support of Dr. Anthony Fauci , noting: “the depth of expertise he brings to COVID-19 response efforts is an asset our nation simply cannot afford to forsake.” A conversation with the inimitable Dr. Fauci will be among those featured at our virtual National Health Research Forum, September 8-10, 2020. Please mark the dates and look for more information soon. Good News : To the relief of many students and universities, the Administration earlier this week rescinded a proposed policy which would have denied visas to international students forced by the pandemic to engage in remote learning at our nation’s universities and...
Dear Research Advocate, Warning — Bad News First : On Tuesday, the Administration notified the United Nations of its intent to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO). The withdrawal would not be effective until July 6, 2021, but the timing is cold comfort given the message it sends and the rickety path it implies for our nation's COVID-19 response. Research!America signed on to a letter asking Congress to take action to stop the withdrawal, and we will continue to make the case that social distancing does not mean global distancing. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only recent Administration action that contravenes American values and interests. T he U.S. Department of...
Dear Research Advocate, Fourth of July, typically a day to unwind and celebrate, comes to us this year at a fraught time in our fight against a deadly pandemic. Evidence-based public health practices to mitigate the virus’s spread have been too often politicized and unheeded, leading to adherence gaps by some that place many others at risk. Cautious optimism from public health experts that we were on a path to containing the virus is being overtaken by alarm. Public health officials in communities across the country are being physically threatened while laboring under poorly-resourced conditions. An important time to hear from Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and current President and...
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:...

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Sidebar Quote

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco