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Civic Science

Research!America seeks to empower early-career researchers to learn how to engage their communities in two-way dialogue about timely science and research issues.

The Civic Engagement Microgrant Program

Applications for the Research!America Summer 2024 Civic Engagement Microgrant Program are CLOSED!

A core component of our civic science work is the Civic Engagement Microgrant Program, supported by the Rita Allen Foundation. The Microgrant program provides funding for STEM graduate students, professional students (medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, etc.), and postdocs who want to create projects that build policy, communications, and program management skills and are aimed at building dialogue with public officials, community leaders, and community members around issues of common interest. Learn more about the Research!America Civic Engagement Microgrant Program for student and postdoc-led science policy groups and read about previous years’ projects.

The Civic Science Microgrant program is supported in part by a grant from the Rita Allen Foundation. Additional support received from the Chalk Talk Science Project. Special funding received from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for work related to Building Equity in the Research!America Microgrant Program.

Advocacy 101 for Early Career Researchers

Advocacy is an opportunity to educate elected officials on why they should care about science and research. Your experience as a researcher is incredibly meaningful and Congressional representatives value your perspectives on the work being done in the state or district they represent. However, when working as a researcher there are some important considerations and preparations to make before engaging directly with your Representatives.

Learn more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Advocacy for Researchers.

Visualizing the Landscape of Training Initiatives for Scientists in Public Engagement in the United States

In partnership with the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, Research!America conducted an in-depth mapping of the public engagement training landscape in the United States. This inaugural report offers a detailed overview of the diversity and scope of training initiatives enhancing public engagement for scientists. Notably, the report includes an interactive dashboard that provides a dynamic window into the rapidly developing field of training in public engagement. Together, the report and dashboard are designed to inspire new discussions, connections, and collaborations that further strengthen the ecosystem of public engagement training for scientists.

Watch the launch of the report and dashboard.

The Research!America Microgrant Program: Exploring its Impact on Early Career Scientists

Connecting scientists to citizens and citizens to scientists to foster understanding and further shared goals has been central to Research!America’s mission since it was founded in 1989 and it continues to be a vital focus for the organization today. A core component of our civic science work is the Civic Engagement Microgrant Program, supported by the Rita Allen Foundation. Since 2018, our Microgrant program has worked directly with groups of STEM graduate students and postdoctoral researchers (post-docs) from across the country to provide small grants to support civic engagement projects. At this juncture, having supported 65 microgrants over the past four years, it is beneficial to take a deep dive into the initiative. Contact us at, [email protected], with questions or comments about the report.

Download the report.

Early Career Scientist Spotlights

To learn more about the work the early-career scientists are doing, check out these spotlights:

PhD graduate follows her dream, one step at a time

Neuroscience saved my life and gave me a vocation

Early Career Spotlight: Engaging the Next Generation of Health Professionals at The Ohio State University

Microgrant Spotlight: The Activist Lab at the University of South Florida College of Public Health

Making the Case for Research on Zoom: Report from a Successful Virtual Hill Day

Early Career Spotlight: Rutgers University Environmental Health Researcher Showcases the Experiences of Young People in a COVID-19 Pandemic Hotspot

Early Career Spotlight: Early Career Scientists at Michigan State University to Host Virtual SciComm Conference


How Graduate Students Advocated for Improvements in Post-Doc Training: A First-Person Account

Grace Steward, biomedical engineering PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, discusses responding



Graduate Students Advocate for Better Science Policy through RFI Comment

Elena Suglia, PhD candidate at the University of California-Davis shares her experience



Advocacy by Early Career Scientists

Civic engagement is a critical skill set for scientists. It creates an


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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Oversight and Progress Too

An article in The Hill published Monday morning, hours before former NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, discussed the possibility that […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Next Gen Researchers

How many degrees of separation are you from an early career researcher? Not many, I’ll bet, particularly if you think about the entire realm of research, public and private sector […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Leading the Conversation

“Science is a human enterprise. It matters who asks the questions. It matters who interprets the results. It matters who tells the stories.” This powerful statement opens a comment article […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Alarming News

Earlier today, House Appropriations Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) announced proposed funding cuts of roughly 6% in FY25 non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending, with some subcommittees, including the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, receiving 10-11% […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Nominate a Star Today

Michael J. Fox, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Helene Gayle, MD, MPH, and Katalin Karikó, PhD, have all led highly distinguished careers in their respective fields, but they have one additional […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Champions for Research

Leading champions for medical and health research, including many members of Congress, joined a celebration of NIH this week at the Library of Congress at an event organized by Jed […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

A Warm Welcome

During our annual meeting today Research!America elected six new board members, all highly accomplished leaders who bring a wealth of expertise and leadership skills to the current board and the […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

March Madness

We are in the midst of March Madness, the time for the annual college basketball tournament to crown a national champion. The event is a fan-favorite, and it also attracts […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

A Step Backward

The Biden Administration and congressional leaders reached an agreement on the last six funding bills for FY 2024 late Monday night and released those bills this morning. The NIH received […]

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Alliance Discussion with Gelise Thomas: Diversifying the Research Landscape through Research Equity, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives

A diverse and inclusive research environment that engages scientists and community members is key to good science that leads to better health outcomes for all. Gelise Thomas, Assistant Director of […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Running Up That Hill

Why did I name this letter after an iconic Kate Bush song? Because the title is a great description of research advocacy. Advocates run rather than walk because the faster […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Vote! And Keep Engaging

Election day is less than a week away (please be sure to vote!). To better understand what the election means for federally-funded R&D, register to join us for our Post-Election […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

What Does $10.6 Billion Buy?

Halloween spending is projected to hit a record high of $10.6 billion this year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. It’s great to see people so eager to celebrate! It’s also an opportunity to put research spending into

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2022 National Health Research Forum

For more than 20 years, Research!Americaand its partners have held an annual National Health Research Forum that gathers top federal officials, leaders from academia, patient advocacy, industry, and the philanthropic community, and distinguished national media to take […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

10 Minutes to Impact

Dear Research Advocate, Members of Congress are back in their home states for August recess, with most focused on the midterm elections. Their Congressional staff members, meanwhile, continue to work […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Then. Now. Imagine.

Dear Research Advocate, As monkeypox cases rise across the nation and around the globe, the U.S. response is intensifying. Today, the President declared a public health emergency, and earlier this week […]

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Focus on the Future

Readers of this letter will likely agree Congress should not wait until December before enacting a new budget for FY22. It is not possible to put debilitating health threats on hold, and meanwhile, early career

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

RISE to the Challenge

A new survey commissioned by Research!America affirms Americans’ support for investing in research as a top priority for the new Congress and Administration. Four of five express strong support for the value of both public and private

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Let’s Get To Work

The election is yet another way 2020 is testing us like no other year. Let’s pull through by pulling together and putting science to work as never before.

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Will Science Be the Winner?

Physician and author Dr. Alison Escalante wrote in Forbes this week: “...a strong majority of Americans agree that ‘the Covid-19 pandemic is a disruptive event and requires urgent refocusing of America’s commitment to science.’” 

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Cross sector civic engagement

The 2016 21st Century Cures Act (21stCC) is a prime example of patient groups, government, the private sector, academia and other research stakeholders working together toward a common goal: accelerating medical progress.

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Not a moment too soon

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

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Don’t wait to advocate

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

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Scientists as messengers

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

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Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter

Summer in the Capital City

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.

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