Dear Research Advocate,
As monkeypox cases rise across the nation and around the globe, the U.S. response is intensifying. Today, the President declared a public health emergency, and earlier this week he established a new monkeypox coordination team.
ICYMI: Yesterday, we had the privilege of hosting Daniel Bausch, MD, President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Senior Director of Emerging Threats and Global Health Security at FIND, for a thought-provoking assessment of the monkeypox threat. (Watch the recording.)
What We Don’t Know Will Hurt Us: As Dr. Bausch made clear, gaps in research focused on the viral family of which monkeypox is part remain a key challenge in the longstanding goal of eradicating this virus. The same holds true of other viral families. This week, Research!America joined the Health Industry Distributors Association and 22 other organizations in a letter to Congressional leadership urging swift passage of the PREVENT Pandemics Act (S.3799).
If we don’t get out ahead of the still evolving COVID-19 pandemic and other lethal viral threats, we are rolling the dice on national, global, and fiscal security. Use this editable tweet to make the case with Leaders in Congress.
Competitive Plus: On August 9, President Biden will sign the landmark CHIPS and Science Act into law. Sudip Parikh, president of AAAS, Research!America Board member, and co-chair of STAC, is unrivaled in his ability to convey the societal significance of science and technology – his clarity and passion are on full display in this note to AAAS members about the bill.
Next challenge: appropriations to fund the policy changes the Act authorizes. (No one ever accuses the legislative process of being too straightforward. Here’s a refresher on authorizations vs. appropriations.) When the ink dries on the new law, we’ll begin pushing for funding and will share advocacy opportunities in future letters.
Updating Promotion and Tenure: I was pleased to participate in the NSF-supported Promotion and Tenure, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (PTIE) conference last week. As described in this Science article, there are multiple reasons to revisit current P&T policies. A culture change is afoot and academic leaders are stepping up.
I was asked to talk about public engagement as a facet of that culture change. Public engagement is the straightest path to demonstrating what Dr. Michael Brown, Provost and EVP for Academic Affairs of the University of California system, termed “the contemporary public value of academia.”
As if on cue, on the day of my presentation, The Chronicle of Higher Education featured new data showing sinking public regard for academia. While it is important to place these findings in context (there is ample evidence of sinking regard for institutions generally), the downward trend reinforces the need for greater public engagement. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Public Engagement Opportunity: Applications are open for Research!America’s 2022-2023 Civic Engagement Microgrants. With awards of up to $4,000, early career scientist-led groups from across the United States will receive funding to support innovative public engagement activities. We hope you will help us reach as many early career researchers as possible by sharing this opportunity with your networks on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Applications are due by Wednesday, August 31.
Right Around the Corner: Speaking of openings… registration opened yesterday for our 2022 National Health Research Forum, taking place virtually September 19-20. The theme is “Then, Now, Imagine,” a tribute to the late John Edward Porter. Beloved Board Chair of Research!America and Congressional Leader, John spearheaded the doubling of the NIH budget over five years. John often cited the “Then, Now, Imagine” communication frame as a way to describe the power of research to advance the public good.
Upcoming Alliance Discussion: On Wednesday, August 8, at 11 a.m. ET, Grace Graham and Kristen Shatynski, key health staff for House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). We’ve asked Grace and Kristen to address the possibility of NIH reauthorization in the next Congress. Register now for this important discussion!
In Memory of Dr. Leon Rosenberg: This week we mourn the loss of renowned physician-scientist and medical geneticist Leon Rosenberg, MD, an Emeritus Director of the Research!America Board. One of the great scientific leaders of our time, Dr. Rosenberg devoted his storied career to achieving and championing medical and health research progress for the benefit of us all. He was ahead of his time in assuring that women and people of color have the opportunity to succeed in science, and spoke in a straightforward, destigmatizing way about his own challenge battling bipolar disorder.
Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.