Home » Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter » Many to Honor, Much to Celebrate

Many to Honor, Much to Celebrate

Early October is one of my favorite times of the year – the weeklong celebration of the Nobel Prize awardees is a time the world sees and celebrates groundbreaking science. As has been the case year in and year out, public funding contributed to Nobel-winning science this year (read our statement). Dollars well spent!

More to Celebrate!: Advocacy is all about making the case for science. Research!America has the privilege of adding to a week of celebration with today’s announcement of our 2023 Advocacy Awards honorees.  

Read our press release, where we highlight 12 individuals and two organizations that will be honored at our March 2023 Awards program. We will be sharing their stories and accomplishments in more detail over the next several months; be on the lookout!

The recipient of the 2023 John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie, is Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD, a long-time leader at NIH who is currently performing the duties of the Director. The award is named for the Honorable John Porter, former Research!America Board Chair and stalwart congressional champion for NIH, who died in June (see our tribute). 

It is fitting that the Legacy award goes to Dr. Tabak, who is so ably leading the NIH during a period in which the role of research for health has never been more important or more apparent. “…we have one of the best, not just acting directors, but directors in NIH’s history at the helm now,” said Research!America’s Ellie Dehoney in an article about the NIH Director vacancy published in Bloomberg Government this morning.

On the Hill: Congress is officially in recess for the month of October, with members back in their home states preparing for the midterm elections next month. Before they left, the House followed the Senate in passing a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded at last year’s levels through December 16. 

While CRs are never desirable, this one does include a much welcome reauthorization of the FDA user fee programs (S.4535). Earlier this year, Research!America hosted a webinar during which a terrific panel of experts explored the role and impact of the “UFAs.” Check it out.

Take a moment to thank your representatives in Congress for passing S.4535. 

Where Science & Society Meet: If you have not had the opportunity to hear Shirley Malcom, PhD, speak, prepare to be wowed. Dr. Malcolm is delivering the 2022 Henry and Bryna David Lecture at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, on October 12, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. ET. There is no one better at inspiring us all to step up for measurable DEI progress; speak out on the importance of grounding public policy in evidence, not wishful thinking; and walk our talk through civic engagement. Virtual and in-person options are available if you register by October 11.

ICYMI: It’s not too late to catch up on any or all of the 29 lunchbreak-or-less-length sessions from our annual National Health Research Forum via our online Forum agenda. Two highlights:

  • On emerging infections: “Emergent infections are a reality of what we’re seeing and though these [Monkeypox and COVID-19] are not linked directly, I think that the possibility of other emerging infections is something that requires us to really be on guard and really speaks to the importance of the infrastructure of global and domestic public health.” – Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator, White House (watch)

  • Advice to early career scientists: “Sometimes hard work and persistence wins out over brilliance because biology and nature are the smartest of everybody in the room. Without that willingness to take risks and fail, without that willingness to keep at it, you’re never going to overcome the remarkable challenges that nature throws at us.” – Larry Tabak, DDS, PhD, Performing the Duties of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (watch)

Upcoming Alliance Discussion: Speaking of early career scientists, we’ve asked three Research!America colleagues who bring fresh (they earned their PhDs as recently as May 2022!) ideas and perspectives on research and science advocacy to headline our alliance discussion next week. Let’s look at advocacy through the lens of new (or new-ish) social media platforms, new thinking, and new voices. We hope you will also join as an active participant – bring your insights and questions. Register now and we’ll see you virtually on Thursday, October 13, from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. ET.