Planning for an active 2018

Published January 01 2018

As 2017 turns to 2018, the Public Affairs Advisory Committee and your public affairs team look forward to an exciting year with new opportunities and programs to enhance the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s advocacy and science policy efforts.

The public affairs staff in November launched “ Pipettes and Politics,” a science policy podcast that you can listen to on our blog or download from iTunes and Stitcher. In addition to our articles and blog posts, the podcast brings you inside our team conversations and strategy sessions as we discuss the federal policies that impact science. We’ll have a new episode every two weeks, and we invite ASBMB members (and nonmembers) to give the podcast a listen and let us know what topics you’d like to hear us discuss.

The PAAC will launch an advocacy externship program in 2018, offering training and leadership opportunities for ASBMB members who are looking to get deeply involved in science policy and science advocacy. The program, now being developed by the PAAC’s Grassroots Advocacy Working Group, will focus on monthly regional advocacy activities and will help strengthen the ASBMB’s advocacy efforts in all 50 states. We expect to debut the program in the spring.

We aren’t just doing new things though. We’re also building on our progress in 2017, starting with working with the National Institutes of Health and sharing opinions on the NIH’s Next Generation Researcher Initiative. The NIH introduced the NGRI back in August, and the PAAC’s initial comments provided suggestions on what policies truly can benefit young investigators. The PAAC has been developing NGRI policy recommendations, which will be shared with NIH leadership throughout 2018.

The committee is working to make its legislative positions clear and easily accessible to policymakers and ASBMB members. The staff is beginning to develop an online library of ASBMB policy positions on topics ranging from disease-specific research funding to the use of embryonic stem cells in research. We plan to publish this library by the summer. We remain committed to advocating for robust funding for science and watching for legislation that will help to create a fertile environment for biochemistry and molecular biology research.

And that’s not all. The committee continues to improve relations with and advocacy for the National Science Foundation, and we are expanding our efforts to work with other funding agencies, such as the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. We are also reviewing alternative research funding models and working to better understand the role philanthropy plays in funding basic science. And we’re developing webinars with policymakers and thought leaders in the life sciences community during which members will be able to participate and ask questions. Updates on these and other exciting activities will be shared in this space as well as on our blog.

We look forward to the opportunities that 2018 will provide.

Benjamin Corb Benjamin Corb is director of public affairs at ASBMB. Follow him on Twitter.