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America Speaks for Science

Dear Research Advocate,

“This is a moment of phenomenal exponential opportunity in biomedical research,” said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, at last week’s 2022 Advocacy Awards, as he was honored with the John Edward Porter Legacy Award. In a candid conversation with Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, Dr. Collins discussed not just the discoveries on the horizon, but his legacy, the challenges of trust in science exacerbated by a pandemic, and the value of both storytelling and faith, among a host of other topics.

We didn’t have time to air the entire Corbett/Collins discussion during the Awards program, but the full 24-minute chat is now available.

On the Hill: Congress is making headway on two bipartisan policy issues vitally important to Research!America and our alliance members. First up, competitiveness legislation is finally making its way to a House-Senate conference to resolve meaningful differences between the bills passed by each chamber (H.R.4521; S.1260). Both include authorization for significant increases in the National Science Foundation (NSF) budget, including for the newly established Technology Directorate – the first new NSF directorate in 30 years

You can learn more about this legislation and other federal science and technology priorities crucial for U.S. competitiveness by tuning into a CQ Roll Call event on Thursday, March 31, at 1 p.m., in partnership with the Science & Technology Action Committee (STAC). CQ Roll Call’s Editor-at-Large, John Bennett, will converse with leaders from the House Science Committee, federal science agencies, and STAC committee members Kristina Johnson and Kaye Husbands Fealing. I’ll also join my STAC co-chairs Sudip Parikh and Keith Yamamoto in part of the program. Spread the word on Twitter.

Survey Supports S&T Investment: Today we released America Speaks! Volume 22, our annual poll data summary. Among other findings, the report highlights the public’s significant, sustained, bipartisan support for federal investment in science and technology — one of the strongest messages we can share as research advocates.

More on the Hill: Next up, Congress is actively considering another key Research!America policy priority: legislation reauthorizing how the FDA regulates drugs and devices. Join us on Monday, March 28, 2 – 3 p.m. ET, when an expert panel will discuss topics crucial to an understanding of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) and the current reauthorization process. The briefing is sure to cover some of the issues raised in last week’s House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing

FY23 Budget: The Administration’s FY23 budget is expected to be released on Monday, March 28. Next week, we’ll share highlights of the budget pertaining to research investment and look at ways our survey data strengthens the case for research investment.

Supplemental Pandemic Funding: Though the FY23 budget is coming out next week, we are not yet done with FY22 funding needs. We sent a briefing paper to each House and Senate member making the case to prepare now for the next variant or global pandemic: “To protect our nation and the global community, the U.S. should treat the next pandemic as if it is a certainty and allocate the additional resources needed to fight against it now, with urgency and in parallel with meeting the immediate needs presented by COVID-19.” Please reach out to your Representative and Senators to urge them to act quickly to pass this much needed funding.

Importance of NIH Funding: United for Medical Research’s latest report, NIH’s Role in Sustaining the U.S. Economy, looks at the national- and state-level impact of NIH research funding. In addition to lifesaving discoveries, NIH-funded research provides exponential return on investment; every $1 of NIH-funded research translates to $2.60 of economic activity. In FY21 alone, funding supported an estimated 552,444 jobs nationwide and produced $94.18 billion in new economic activity.

March-in Discussion: Register to join the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation on Tuesday, March 29, 9:30 – 11 a.m. ET for a discussion about the negative implications of exercising federal “march-in” rights. (Read our letter to Sec. Becerra on this issue.)

ICYMI: At yesterday’s Alliance Member Meeting, we heard from Toby Smith from the Association of American Universities and Christina Eller, PhD, at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in an off-the-record conversation about research security, including OSTP’s efforts to implement the National Security Presidential Memorandum 33.

Upcoming Alliance Member Meeting: Join us on March 31, at 2 p.m. ET to hear from Barbara E. Bierer, MD, Faculty Director of the Multi-Regional Clinical Trials Center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University. Dr. Bierer will discuss a major initiative to ensure clinical trial participants gain access to the data they contribute — a significant piece of the puzzle to achieve a truly patient-centric R&D ecosystem.

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.

Mary Woolley