Last week, scientists from across the country participated in a virtual advocacy event organized by AIBS to discuss federal investments in scientific research and education with lawmakers.
Scientists from sixteen states, namely Alabama, California, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin, participated in the online event. They were joined by some international scientists as well. AIBS member societies, including American Society of Mammalogists, Society for the Study of Evolution, Botanical Society of America, Organization of Biological Field Stations, and American Society of Plant Taxonomists, sponsored the participation of a number of individuals. Recipients of the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award also attended.
Participants received online communications and advocacy training on April 19-20. AIBS provide participants with background information and materials, as well as arranged online meetings with lawmakers on April 21-23. Overall, 42 meetings took place over the course of 3 days.
In their meetings with lawmakers, scientists discussed the benefits of federal investments in science and how it impacts their research. Participants asked members of Congress to provide $10.2 billion for the National Science Foundation in fiscal year (FY) 2022, an increase of 20 percent over FY 2021, and called for increased funding for other federal science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy Office of Science.
Participants also shared the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their work and urged lawmakers to support the RISE Act (H.R. 869, S. 289), which would provide $25 billion in emergency supplemental funding for federal research agencies to be awarded to research universities, independent institutions, and national laboratories to address COVID-19 related disruptions to federally funded research.