Home » Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter » Advocacy Works! U.S. Innovation Bill Making Progress

Advocacy Works! U.S. Innovation Bill Making Progress

Dear Research Advocate,

On The Hill: As you’ll recall, last week it appeared the Senate was on the verge of shelving months of bipartisan work on a comprehensive package to strengthen U.S. innovation and competitiveness. The very good news is that earlier this week, the Senate voted 64-34 to proceed on a scaled-down yet still robust version of USICA (S.1260H.R.4561). This version includes many provisions important to the research and higher education communities. While the Senate still must vote on final passage (as must the House), optimism is warranted, but nothing can be taken for granted. Advocacy continues to be essential.

Read more about the importance of a comprehensive bill to bolster U.S. innovation in this opinion piece in The Hill that I coauthored with Keith Yamamoto, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy at UCSF and Research!America Board member emeritus.

OSTP Director Update: In another step forward for leadership for science in the U.S., Arati Prabhakar, PhD, President Biden’s nominee as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Dr. Prabhakar said: “For many decades, American science and technology has been the most powerful engine for innovation in history, an achievement that didn’t happen by accident… Meeting [the greatest challenges we face] demands a new generation of bold exploration and creative experimentation. Science and technology leadership is essential for our country to flourish.” Watch the hearing and read her testimony.

Dr. Prabhakar has until August 1 to respond to any written questions submitted by the Senate, after which time a full Senate confirmation vote will be held. Read our statement in support of Dr. Prabhakar’s leadership; we urge Congress to confirm her as swiftly as possible.

Progress on SBIR/STTR: Advocacy works! Members on both sides of the aisle are working harder than ever to strengthen and reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, as discussed in this Science article

Today, Research!America sent a letter to every member of Congress reinforcing the importance of reauthorizing the programs before their September 30, 2022, expiration. Please use this editable email to make the case with your representatives in Congress. 

Confronting AMR: CDC’s new report on the impact of COVID-19 on AMR is a call to action. It looks at data from the first year of the pandemic, when nearly 30,000 Americans are known to have died from antimicrobial-resistant infections, and concludes that “the threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections is not only still present but has gotten worse.”

In conjunction with the report, CDC released a series of fact sheets about how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting core strategies to combat AMR.

We’ll be discussing some new approaches to combatting AMR in a panel during our 2022 National Health Research Forum — mark September 19-20 on your calendarRegistration information to come soon!

Bright Ideas: The Lasker Foundation has announced the winners of its 2022 essay contest. Six young leaders training in the medical, research, and public health fields describe how multidisciplinary approaches have impacted their careers. Meet the winners, read their essays, and be inspired by their stories of how working together across fields can change the world.

Reasons to Invest in NIH: This week, our friends at United for Medical Research released the latest in their “Why Invest in NIH?” series. This fact sheet, Enabling Patient Stories,” profiles five individuals who share biomedical breakthroughs made possible-by NIH-funded research that have transformed their lives. 

The entire “Why Invest in NIH?” series is worth reading and sharing to remind policymakers and the public why funding NIH is essential to helping our nation sustain and advance lifesaving biomedical research and innovation. Tag your social media posts with #keepNIHstrong.

Nominate Global Health Champions: The Global Health Technologies Coalition has opened nominations for its 2022 Innovating for Impact Awards, which recognize “the research partnerships and U.S. policymakers that help transform breakthrough scientific research into lifesaving drugs, diagnostics, vaccines, and other tools for unmet global health challenges.” Nominations are due Friday, July 29.

Upcoming Alliance Discussion: Join us on Wednesday, July 27, at 1 p.m. ET for a conversation with Randall Rutta, CEO of the National Health Council (NHC), about his work with NHC, its vision for patient centricity, and how advocates can advance the goal of maximum patient engagement.

Alliance Discussion Rescheduled: Please note that our alliance discussion featuring Grace Graham, Chief Minority Council, and Kristen Shatynski, Professional Staff Member, of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 9, at 11 a.m. ET.

Stay well, stay safe, stay cool, and stay connected.