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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, microgrants@researchamerica.org, 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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