May 2, 2017
Biological scientists traveled to Washington, DC on 25-26 April 2017 to communicate 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.
The participants included researchers affiliated with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and its member organizations, including the Organization of Biological Field Stations, Botanical Society of America, American Society of Mammalogists, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and the Ecological Society of America. Among the participants were Stephanie Bora, the 2017 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award winner.
AIBS Co-Executive Director Robert Gropp with Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award recipient Stephanie Bora.
The two-day event began with a training session for participants. Policy staff from AIBS and the Ecological Society of America provided details about the federal budget for science and tips for effectively communicating with policymakers.
On 26 April, participants fanned out across Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress and their staff. The group emphasized the importance of federal investments in research that ultimately help the nation create new jobs and respond to society's needs, such as improved food security, enhanced ecosystem management, and improved human health. Participants highlighted the importance of the National Science Foundation in fostering economic growth. The agency's Biological Sciences Directorate funds 68 percent of fundamental, non-medical biological research.
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) met with Congressional Visits Day participants.
Download a BESC fact sheet on the importance of federal investments in biological research.
Read an AIBS report on the returns on federal investments in biological research.