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US Capitol

As we enter 2015, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology public affairs staff is looking at a changed Washington landscape: a Republican-controlled Congress, a president in the last years of his final term and many in Washington already looking forward to the 2016 elections. Yes, 2015 is going to be a challenging year for the research community — but not an impossible year. Here are some initiatives we’re looking forward to introducing in the coming months.

First, many of you certainly have read about the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee’s work to build a sustainable biomedical research enterprise. In 2015, we are transitioning from the first phase of identifying systemic problems within the research enterprise (funding, training, stakeholder interactions) to the next phase of implementing the necessary changes. The ASBMB has had preliminary meetings with officials at the White House to discuss the most important needs of the biomedical research community and has submitted legislative language to a bipartisan group of members in the U.S. House that will be introducing the 21st Century Cures Act. We are excited about taking these next steps and putting our ideas into action.

As a service to you, we will begin sending monthly policy updates tailored to each geographical region. Those updates will communicate the national policies that will affect researchers across the country and explain the roles your local representatives are playing in ongoing debates. Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once said that “All politics are local,” and we will work to provide you a more localized perspective on science policy in 2015.

We also will continue to expand and improve our blog, the ASBMB Policy Blotter, which you can read at policy.asbmb.org. We will continue our timely science policy news and analysis for the reader, including our newest feature, the Policy Roundup by Erica Siebrasse, our science policy fellow. Siebrasse’s roundup highlights top news stories of the week that are most pertinent to our members, making it a terrific weekly touchstone.  

Finally, we will offer more opportunities for members to engage in advocacy. With letter-to-the-editor campaigns, district meetings with elected representatives and a few exciting online advocacy opportunities, you will have a variety of new ways to get involved in the society’s advocacy efforts. Opportunities will range in intensity, so those who have little free time but want to be involved will have their chance, and those who want to dedicate more time to being a leading voice for their field will have opportunities.

As always, the public affairs office at the ASBMB headquarters is looking forward to dutifully serving you in 2015, representing you proudly to policymakers in Washington and tirelessly working to ensure that this is a year of action and progress — a much needed change from the previous decade of frustration and stagnation.

Benjamin Corb Benjamin Corb is director of public affairs at ASBMB.