Research!America Launches 2020-21 Microgrant Program Supporting Virtual Civic Engagement Programs for Young Scientists

Friday, October 9, 2020

ARLINGTON, VA —  October 9, 2020 — Research!America is excited to launch a new request for microgrant proposals to support early-career scientists in their efforts to work with local elected officials, community leaders and the public around issues of common concern. The Civic Engagement Microgrant program is now in its third year and growing in impact and popularity.  

Since its inception, the Civic Engagement Microgrant Program has provided opportunities for STEM graduate and postdoc trainees to develop skills in communication and program planning, along with an understanding of government in order to make a difference in their communities. In its first year, the program focused on outreach to federal candidates running for office. Last year and continuing this year, the focus has been on student-led projects which create dialogue between public officials and members of the community. A “Science Meets Science” module supports collaborative civic engagement efforts between graduate students in STEM and social sciences.  

In light of the pandemic, new grants will support high-impact virtual programming using methods such as podcasting, webinars and data visualization. It will also provide opportunities for students interested in starting a local science policy group to receive up to two years of seed funding. In addition, microgrant group leaders will be invited to participate in a high-level science policy and advocacy course developed in partnership with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). To learn more about the 2020-2021 microgrant program including how to apply by November 9, 2020 visit: www.ResearchAmerica.org/microgrants.

The Civic Engagement Microgrant Program is supported by a grant from the Rita Allen Foundation. The Rita Allen Foundation recently committed grant funding through 2022 which will greatly help to strengthen science policy capabilities among student groups at universities across the country. 

“We are grateful to the Rita Allen Foundation for their grant support of this important program that works with our next generation of young scientists, empowering them to engage directly with their local communities and policymakers.” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “COVID-19 shines a bright light on the role science can play in contributing solutions to societal challenges; the microgrant program helps position young scientists to participate in that conversation.”   

“As our communities confront complex and urgent challenges, it is deeply encouraging to see the energy of a new generation of scientists interested in building civic relationships to be part of solutions for a more hopeful future,” said Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rita Allen Foundation. “The vision of Research!America is helping to channel that energy into new capacity and innovation to support science and society — a mission that is more critical than ever in our changed landscape of connection.”

The Research!America alliance advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Visit www.ResearchAmerica.org.

The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector.

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