April 14, 2014
Biological scientists traveled to Washington, DC on 9-10 April 2014 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.
Among the participants were 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, and the Ecological Society of America. Among the participants were Amalia Aruda Almada and Andrew Adrian, the 2014 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award recipients.
AIBS President Dr. Joseph Travis (center) with Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award winners Andrew Adrian and Amalia Aruda Almada.
The two-day event began with a training session for the thirty participants. Policy staff from AIBS and the Ecological Society of America provided participants with budget analysis and advocacy training.
On 10 April, participants fanned out across Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress and their staff. This year, the group emphasized the importance of sustained federal investments in research that help the nation create new jobs and respond to society's needs, such as food security, maintaining healthy ecosystems, and improving human health. Participants highlighted the importance of the NSF in fostering economic growth. The agency's Biological Sciences Directorate funds about 66 percent of fundamental, non-medical biological research.
Representative Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama) met with Congressional Visits Day participants.