July 31, 2013
5th Annual Event Encourages Biologists to Share Science with Elected Officials
The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and the Entomological Society of America (ESA) have announced the start of the 5th Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event. This national initiative encourages scientists across the nation to showcase for federal and state lawmakers the people, facilities, and equipment required to conduct scientific research.
"Scientific innovation drives advances in agriculture, biotechnology, environmental management, and medicine, and plays a leading role in job creation and economic growth," said Dr. Richard O'Grady, AIBS Executive Director. "These meetings provide the opportunity for biologists to demonstrate the benefits of research."
The 5th Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event occurs during the month of August. Participating scientists meet with elected officials and their staff at the local district office or a research facility.
"Biological science, and insect biology in particular, is important to federal and state decision-making," said David Gammel, ESA Executive Director. "Entomological research helps us control invasive species, improve agriculture, preserve biodiversity, and prevent disease."
This year a record number of scientists will participate. Individuals from 34 states plan to meet with their elected officials. Participants range from graduate students to senior researchers and educators.
The 5th Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits are made possible by AIBS and ESA, with support from event sponsors: American Society of Naturalists, Botanical Society of America, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, and Society for the Study of Evolution.
"This is a great opportunity to share the importance of science with our elected leaders," said Dr. Christopher Pickett, a participant in the 2011 event. "My experience meeting with Senator Claire McCaskill inspired me to remain engaged in science policy." Pickett is now a Science Policy Fellow with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Individuals in the 2013 event participated in an interactive training webinar. The program provided information about how best to communicate science to non-technical audiences, tips for conducting a successful meeting with an elected official, and information about trends in funding for research.
More information about the Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event is available at www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressionaldistrictvisits.html.