Biological scientists traveled to Washington, DC on 30-31 March 2011 to express to members of Congress the importance of sustained federal investments in the biological sciences. The scientists and graduate students were in the nation’s capital as part of the annual Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) Congressional Visits Day. Among the participants were scientists affiliated with American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) member organizations, including the Organization of Biological Field Stations and the Ecological Society of America. Also participating was Wesley Brooks, the 2011 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award recipient.

The two-day event began with a briefing by senior staff from the National Science Foundation and Congress. Policy staff from AIBS and the Ecological Society of America provided participants with budget analysis and advocacy training.

On 31 March, participants fanned out across Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress and their staff. This year, the group emphasized the importance of federal investments in research that will help the nation to create new jobs and respond to society’s needs, such as food security, maintaining healthy ecosystems, and human health. Participants highlighted the importance of the National Science Foundation in fostering economic growth. The agency’s Biological Sciences Directorate funds about 68 percent of basic non-medical biological research.

To download a BESC fact sheet on the importance of federal investments in biological research, visit


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