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Double Down on Innovation

Dear Research Advocate,

In an important piece in The Guardian, Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, compellingly lays out the case for a renewed sense of urgency in the response to COVID-19. From growing infection rates to waning immunity, Dr. Topol walks readers through the myriad reasons supporting his conclusion: “Rather than giving up, it is time to double down on innovations that have a high likelihood of anticipating the further evolution of the virus and facilitating the end of the pandemic.”

While the Senate passed a supplemental package of military aid for Ukraine this afternoon, Congress is still debating urgently needed COVID-19 funding. This is where advocacy comes into play. Use this editable email to make the case for a COVID-19 supplemental spending package.

On the Hill: During Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (“Labor-H”) focused on the NIH, Acting NIH Director Larry Tabak, DDS, PhD, and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, pressed the case for increased investment in pandemic preparedness and response and discussed the many reasons to bolster funding for NIH.

Securing a meaningful increase for NIH as well as boosted funding for CDC, AHRQ, and other key health agencies pivots on the amount of overall funding the subcommittee receives when total FY23 appropriations are allocated across all 12 appropriations subcommittees. Again, this is where advocacy comes into play. On Monday, Research!America – joined by 115 advocacy partners – sent a letter to House and Senate appropriators making the case for a robust Labor-H Subcommittee funding allocation.

Will ARPA-H and PDUFA Legislation Cross the Finish Line?: This week, Congress made progress on two key bills: authorizing legislation for ARPA-H and reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA). Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced bipartisan legislation authorizing ARPA-H, which moves the ball forward on the exciting new health innovation incubator initially established under the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill.

In the Senate, HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a discussion draft of the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act legislation reauthorizing the FDA’s prescription drug, generic drug, biosimilar, and medical device user fee agreements. The discussion draft is a positive step as we approach the September 30 reauthorization deadline for user fee agreements.

Spread the Word!: Just as ARPA-H and updated FDA user fee programs strengthen the U.S. discovery, development, delivery pipeline, every action our ecosystem takes to pave the way for early career researchers is a down payment on sustaining our nation’s R&D leadership. Registration is open for “Reaching the Peak: A Science & Technology Career Summit,” our second annual summit for early career researchers. This free virtual event will take place June 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

The Summit offers early career researchers a chance to explore an array of career paths, network with fellow researchers, participate in professional development workshops, and engage in meaningful discussions around issues critical to the success of the R&D ecosystem. Check out the agenda, share with your networks, and register today!

Share Your Ideas!: The Day One Project, in conjunction with The Pew Charitable Trusts and Federation of American Scientists (FAS), has launched the Evidence for Action Challenge to identify evidence-based policy ideas in such critical arenas as health, education, and clean energy. Authors of selected submissions can count on assistance from FAS and Pew to refine ideas and engage decision-makers to help ideas reach implementation. The submission deadline is Thursday, June 9.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Today is Mental Health Action Day! We joined more than 1,600 brands, nonprofits, cultural leaders, and government agencies – including many of our alliance members – in raising visibility and sharing resources. Check out #MentalHealthAction on Twitter to see highlights of the day and retweet your favorite posts.

Relevant Alliance Member Discussion: Join us on Thursday, May 26, at 1 p.m. ET for a discussion with Patroski J. Lawson, CEO of The KPM Group DC, on the importance of access to and equity in mental health care.

ICYMI: This week Amy Walter, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Cook Political Report (among her many distinctions), joined alliance members for a closed-door conversation on current voter attitudes about pandemic preparedness and other key issues. She also shared insights on the upcoming midterms.

Interested in joining our off-the-record conversations in the future? Contact Anna Platt to discuss how your organization can become a member.


Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.

Mary Woolley