Biological scientists traveled to Washington, DC, last week to meet with members of Congress about the importance of federal investments in fundamental biological, agricultural, and environmental research. The scientists and graduate students were in the nation’s capital on 21-22 April 2010 as part of the annual BESC/CoFARM (Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition/Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions) Congressional Visits Day.

Among this year’s participants were scientists affiliated with American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) member organizations, including the Organization of Biological Field Stations, Ecological Society of America, and the Poultry Science Association. The recipients of the 2010 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award also participated.

The two-day event began with a briefing by senior staff from the National Science Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, and Congress. Policy staff from AIBS, the Ecological Society of America, and the Crop, Agronomy and Soil Science Societies also provided participants with budget analysis and advocacy training. On 22 April, participants fanned out across Capitol Hill for meetings with Representatives and Senators. This year, the group emphasized the importance of federal investments in research that will help the nation respond to grand challenges, such as those identified by the National Research Council in “Biology for the 21st Century.” The report highlights the need for research to help address the issues of food, environment, human health, and energy.


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