2021-2022 Microgrant Recipients
Research!America, with support in part by the Rita Allen Foundation, is awarding microgrants of $1,000 to $4,000 to 21 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 2022 Research!America Microgrant awards focus on creating dialogue with public officials, local community leaders, and the public around issues of common concern. Grants will support high-impact in-person and virtual programming using methods including roundtable discussions, webinars, podcasting, 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).
Bowling Green State University — “Conservation Speaker Series”
The Conservation and Population Biology Lab at Bowling Green State University will develop an informal speaker series on the importance of wildlife and water conservation for local landowners and wildlife groups and discuss how their activities can impact their area. The public will be invited to view hands-on activities that showcase how research is conducted.
Houston Coalition for Science Policy and Community Engagement — “Hot Topics in #SciPol”
This new group will utilize startup funds to support community engagement pop-ups, Hot Topics in Science Policy (virtual series), science policy writing workshop, and a trip to the Texas state capitol to meet with state and federal representatives and meet current Texas science policy fellows.
Howard University — “Hue Health Group“ will lead community outreach and discussion on local (DC) water quality, produce bi-annual reports on water quality, and host panel discussion. Messages will be amplified online and through social media.
March for Science NYC (MFS-NYC) — “March for Science NYC” will develop a two-part program that will bring together local scientists and policymakers. Additionally, the group will lead a webinar that will teach scientists on how to present their work at an accessible level for policymakers. An in-person poster session and science policy forum will allow local scientists to present their work to NYC council members. For more information, check out their website and follow them on Twitter (@sciencemarchnyc), Facebook (@mfsnyc), Instagram (marchforsciencenyc), and LinkedIn (mfs-nyc). For videos documenting their efforts, check out their YouTube page.
Morgan State University — “#BlackInSciPol” was established last year and focused on 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. This year, they will continue recruitment efforts, host science policy discussions, and host a science policy seminar series. For more information, check out their website here.
Northwestern University — “Science Policy Outreach Taskforce (SPOT)” at Northwestern University will publish a podcast series, “In the Spotlight” that will look at the intersection of science and policy in their local community (Chicago area), discuss how science can be used in policymaking, and build connections with their local community. For more information, check out their website and their podcast. Follow them on Twitter (@SPOTForceNU, @SpotlightThePod)
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation — “Oklahoma Science Policy Group” is a new group that seeks to build a bridge between Oklahoma’s scientists and the community through “Ask me anything” events, conduct interviews to learn about what issues the community is concerned about, conduct K-12 science outreach, and will also host science policy workshops for professional development. For more information, check out their website.
Pennsylvania State University — “Medical students at Penn State College of Medicine” will raise awareness for skin cancer through community outreach, education, and policy and advocacy.
Sustainable Futures Lab — “The Sustainable Futures Lab” strives to connect students in Atlanta with city practitioners involved with climate resilience. Their goal is to build a community of practice in Atlanta for creating a more sustainable, equitable, and just Atlanta.
Twin Cities Science Policy Network (TCSPN) — “TCSPN” will increase membership, get more people involved in local advocacy, and build connections to other local groups by focusing on local issues. For more information, check out their website and follow them on Twitter (@TCSciPolNetwork) and Instagram (tcscipolnetwork).
UC Berkeley and UCSF — “Science Ethics and Policy Symposium: From Plants to Privacy: Science Ethics for the Modern Era” is a two-day hybrid symposium hosted by UCB Science Policy Group /UCSF Science Policy Group consisting of presentations, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities on a wide variety of policy-related subjects. Learn more about the symposium and follow both groups on Twitter (@SPGatUCSF and @UCB_SciPolicy) and Facebook (@SPGatUCSF)
University of California, Irvine — “Science Policy and Advocacy Network” at UC Irvine is a new group that will use start-up funding to focus on science policy, advocacy, and diplomacy career development through a speaker series and working groups. They will also incorporate networking into the program.
University of California, Riverside — “Policy Pitch and Poster Session” The Science to Policy group at UC Riverside will develop a program to have students host a policy pitch competition in which the winners will get to travel to the state capitol to hold a poster session with state officials, sit in on a legislative session or committee hearing, and meet with PhD policy professionals. For more information, check out their website and follow them on Twitter (@UCRS2P), Facebook (@UCRS2P), and Instagram (@UCRS2P).
University of Cincinnati — “University of Cincinnati Science Policy Ambassadors” In partnership with the UC Center for Public Engagement with Science, the UC Science Policy Ambassadors will host an online event to discuss career opportunities in public engagement with science. A networking reception will be held to connect students with public engagement opportunities in the Cincinnati area.
University of Nebraska Medical Center — “Health and Science Policy Seminar Series” will be seminars that generate interest in science and health policies that affect the workforce, particularly in underrepresented communities, 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 South Florida — “The Activist Lab” will hold a day-long advocacy and leadership boot camp for students, faculty, staff, and their communities on how to advocate for mental health awareness and support. Policy briefs will be created at this event and two will be featured on their podcast, 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. To learn more about them, check out their website.
University of Texas Medical Branch — “Women’s Association of Minority Scientists” will work with and mentor K-5 students to develop science projects that will be presented at a virtual science fair.
Wake Forest School of Medicine Chapter — “Students for Sensible Drug Policy” at Wake Forest School of Medicine chapter will host a speaker series to provide different perspectives and goals related to drug policy in their local community and county.
Wayne State University — “Environmental and Community Health Focus Groups” will be created and led by Science Policy Network Detroit (SciPol-Detroit) to focus on water quality, air pollution, community violence, and lead to spread awareness/education throughout the community, and advocate for policies in each of these areas. This organization will then hold a roundtable featuring one of these topics. For more information, check out their website and follow them on Twitter (@scipoldetroit), Instagram (@scipoldetroit), and YouTube.
Women’s Association of Minority Scientists — “Virtual Science Fair” Graduate students will undergo training on how to mentor K-5 students on STEM projects. Each group of students will then work closely with their mentor over a series of several weeks to develop science projects that will be presented at a virtual science fair with attendance from community leaders.
Yale University — “Open Labs” will host a poster presentation where graduate students and postdocs will present their work. The presentations will integrate presenters from economics, political science, and sociology into the existing base of presenters from the biomedical sciences, engineering, physics, and chemistry. Middle school students will serve as judges for the presentations.