ASN Attends Congressional Visits Day 2017

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On April 26, The American Institute for Biological Sciences organized “Congressional Visits Day.”  Forty scientists at all levels assembled to meet with more than 70 congress people on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of funding for the National Science Foundation.  ASN President Kathleen Donohue and Chair of the ASN Graduate Council Abigail Pastore attended and met with more than fifteen congressional offices.

The purpose of the meetings was to request an increase in NSF funding to a level of $8 billion for fiscal year 2018.  The goals during the meetings were a) to advocate for fundamental research as the essential upstream component of any translational or applied science; b) to educate congress people on how inadequate NSF funding impedes the progress of science because of costly interruptions to research programs and atrophy of the scientific workforce in the US (at the levels of students, postdocs, and young faculty); and c) to request that decisions on which programs to fund within NSF should be left to the NSF program officers rather than to a partisan congress.

This is a good time to advocate for science. The American Institute for Biological Sciences  (https://www.aibs.org/home/index.html) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (https://www.aaas.org/) are excellent resources for learning more about science advocacy.  The Ecological Society of America (http://www.esa.org/esablog/federal-agency-transition-tracker/) is very engaged in tracking science policy and in public and educational outreach. These organizations have fellowships and workshops for training in science communication and science advocacy.

If you want to know more about this event and other opportunities for science advocacy, ATTEND THE ASN BUISINESS MEETING at the Evolution Meetings.  We want to hear from ASN members about how ASN can help them to engage issues that are important to them.