The importance of scientists connecting with policymakers and the non-scientific public to discuss research issues that impact society was at the core of a town hall meeting hosted by The University of Florida in Gainesville on November 15.
“The opportunities for science have never been richer,” said Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley, who kicked off the discussion. Woolley encouraged students and faculty to share their passion for research and innovation to shore up support for stronger federal investments for research.
Research!America Chair Emeritus, The Honorable John Edward Porter shared his experiences working with scientists and advocates as a member of Congress for 21 years. He emphasized the need for advocates to be consistent with their outreach to elected officials as medical research competes with other priorities. “Scientists are going to have to stand up for themselves, you’ve got competition,” he said. The most effective advocates engage regularly, clearly and consistently with their members of Congress, underscored Porter.
David Norton, PhD, vice president for research in the UF Office of Research, and Stephen Sugrue, PhD, Professor and senior associate dean for research affairs at the UF College of Medicine and acting associate vice president for research at UF Health, also served on the panel and provided perspectives on international research collaboration, legislative engagement and other issues related to university research. The panel was facilitated by Todd Golde, MD, PhD, director of the director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida.