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2020-2021 Microgrant Recipients

Research!America, with support in part by the Rita Allen Foundation, is awarding microgrants of $1,000 to $4,000 to 19 graduate student and postdoc-led science policy groups from across the U.S. to initiate civic engagement and educational outreach activities in their communities.

The 2021 Research!America Microgrant awards focus on engaging both community leaders and policymakers in discussions about the broad societal benefits and local impact of scientific research. In light of the pandemic, new grants will support high-impact virtual programming using methods such as podcasting, webinars, and data visualization. It will also provide opportunities for students interested in starting a local science policy group to receive up to two years of seed funding. In addition, microgrant group leaders will be invited to participate in a high-level science policy and advocacy course developed in partnership with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)(Read the press release)

American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) — “Virtual Policy Panel”  will highlight diverse individuals with policy experience, showcasing the intersection of their backgrounds in science and medicine, and demonstrating the impact this intersection can have on public policy. They hope the panel will inspire participants to be more involved in the public policy sphere. The panel will part of the APSA Annual Meeting, which provides a structured environment to disseminate career advice from physician-scientists in many sectors promote the development of community building among trainees. For more information, check out their website or follow them on social media @A_P_S_A on Twitter or @physicianscientists on Facebook.

Baylor College of Medicine — “Empowering scientists to become effective communicators using data science tools” will create infographics on science policy issues, seeking to engage a diverse group of scientists who share a passion for science policy and communication and provide them with the tools to present data clearly and concisely to the wider community. For more information, follow them on social media @SciPolGroupHT on Twitter

Boston University — “SPARK – Science Projects Activities Reaching Kids”  will lead a virtual science enrichment workshop with children at their local Boys and Girls Club. They will distribute science kits to families that have materials for experiments in STEM fields and, on a weekly basis, instruct families through an experiment using a virtual webinar platform.

Medical University of South Carolina — “South Carolina – Policy, Engagement, Advocacy, and Research (SC-PEAR)” is a newly established group that aims to foster the development of graduate students interested in pursuing careers in science policy, engage with the MUSC and Charleston communities about contemporary issues existing at the intersection between science and policy, and advocate for science-based policies in the MUSC and Charleston communities. Follow them on Twitter @sc_pear.

Morgan State University — “#BlackInSciPol” is a newly established group introducing students at multiple education levels to civic engagement. Their activities will be centered around how science should impact policy and how to use grassroots methods to positively impact the local neighborhood. They aim to provide the skill development necessary to give students the confidence to provide digestible and relatable materials on emergent science issues to local policymakers. For more information, check out their website here.

The Ohio State University College of Medicine — “Columbus City Schools High School Mentorship Program with OSU Department of Surgery” plans a mentorship program for high school students to increase their health literacy, awareness of health disparities, and desire to pursue the medical profession. They will be paired with a surgeon-mentor from the Wexner Medical Center Department of Surgery and will engage in sessions on topics including the journey to medical school, how to be a successful applicant to college, and more. The mission and directive of Health Education and Development Services for Underprivileged Populations (HEADS UP) is to provide educational opportunities for students to learn more about science and medicine and introduce desire for a career in the health professions. For more information check out their website or follow them @headsup_osucom on Instagram.

Stanford University — “Science Policy Hill Day 2021” will be an interdisciplinary, science policy-focused event with an associated workshop series. The workshops will cover topics such as science policy and policy-making in Washington, D.C.; social and environmental justice as it relates to science policy; and methods for science advocacy. Workshops will culminate in a Virtual Hill Day in which student scientists will be given the opportunity to interact directly with policymakers and professional political advocates. For more information check out their website or follow them @SpgStanford on Twitter or @spgstanford on Instagram.

The Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medicine Center, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — “Politics Under the Microscope” is led by a team of graduate students in New York City within the Tri-Institutional (Tri-I) community, who plan to produce and host a podcast that aims to capture the thought process of policymakers as they respond to complex problems, and to discuss the implications policies will have for the scientific community and broader society. For more information check out their website or follow them @PUTMpodcast on Twitter or @putmpodcast on Instagram.

University of California, Irvine — “Data Science & Art in Science Career Cohort” will develop a series of online programs to connect data scientists with science illustrators to identify innovative ways of representing data in educating society about important scientific findings. For more information, check out their website here.

University of California San Diego — “National City Restorative Education About Plants (REAP)” proposes a community gardening program targeted at youth and adults, addressing food insecurity and food justice. The aim is to improve access to food and revitalize existing community farm plots by virtually guiding elementary school children through planting seedlings and facilitating roundtable discussions with adults to influence local policy on soil remediation in the gardens.

University of Georgia — “Sharing the responsibility: Roundtable discussions on science relevant issues at the local and state levels” will be hosted by a newly established Science Policy, Education, Advocacy, and Research (SPEAR) group, which aims to provide a space for the university’s undergraduate and graduate students to engage in discussions of science policy issues, and to serve as a platform to facilitate civic engagement and science-relevant advocacy campaigns. For more information, check out their websitehttps://outreachkueeb.wordpress.com/home/or follow them on Twitter @SPEAR_UGA.

University of Massachusetts Amherst — “TriSci Science Policy Memo Triathlon: Learn, Write, Advocate” is planning a three-part program focused on i) building awareness of public policy and the role of science in policymaking, ii) building writing skills for policy memos, and iii) building advocacy experience through a policy memo writing competition.

University of Michigan — “Flipped Science Fair for Public Policy” plans to present psychological and neuropsychological research to the public in a way that demonstrates the accessibility of science. Their event will have two sessions: a Flipped Science Fair and a community discussion that follows. Take a look at their more recent event For more information, follow them on social media @UMFlipSciFair on Twitter or @UMFlipSciFair on Facebook.

University of Missouri — “Making the MOST of Science: Using Your Expertise for Civic Engagement” hosted by the Missouri Science and Technology (MOST) Policy Initiative will be a multiday workshop for University of Missouri STEM graduate students and post-docs about how to use their academic background to engage in science policy. For more information, check out their website or follow them on social media @MOSTSciPol on Twitter, @MOSTSciPol on Facebook, or @scienceformissouri on Instagram.

University of Nebraska Medical Center — “Health and Science Policy Seminar Series” will be monthly lunchtime virtual seminars that generate interest in science and health policy and address some of the pertinent questions that students and staff have concerning state and federal legislative efforts. The seminars have the parallel goal to provide exposure and training to students concerning science and health policy advocacy.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine — “The Influenzers” is a newly established interdisciplinary science policy group that aims to educate the Pittsburgh community about facts and myths surrounding immunizations. They are planning three initiatives for the upcoming year including educational outreach efforts, community flu clinics, and policy campaign initiatives. To learn more about them, check out their website or follow them @pittinfluenzers on Instagram.

University of South Florida College of Public Health — “The World Has Changed!!:  Environmental Health, Climate Change, and Advocacy to Improve Health!” will host a podcast series run by The Activist Lab, which prepares students to be exemplary advocates and leaders in public health by focusing on education, research, service, and outreach advocacy activities. Topics will include environmental health, climate change, and advocacy. To learn more about them, check out their website.

Virginia Tech — “BOLD: Biomechanics Online Learning Destination” will host a virtual experience called the National Biomechanics Day (NBD) that targets high schools and middle schools in an accessible, engaging, interactive, and educational manner. The addition of virtual capabilities builds on existing biomechanics events that have been run on-campus for the past several years. For more information, check out their website or follow them on Twitter @BOLD_VT and @GranataLab on TikTok.

Yale University School of Medicine — “Yale Flipped Science Fair VS” builds on the existing Flipped Science Fair where graduate students and postdocs present their work as if it were a science fair to members of the community. The virtual iteration will integrate presenters from economics, political science, and sociology into the existing base of presenters from the biomedical sciences, engineering, physics, and chemistry. For more information, follow them on Twitter @FlippedSciFair.