In an ongoing effort to engage scientists in advocacy for research funding and science policy and to provide innovative new tools for our member societies, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology has rolled out several new electronic resources.
The National Science Foundation Advocacy Clearinghouse is a comprehensive resource developed for the NSF advocacy community, policymakers and members of the public interested in supporting NSF and its pioneering scientific research and education programs.
The site contains links to data, policy reports, NSF-funded scientific breakthroughs, advocacy tools and relevant government and nonprofit information.
“We hope that this new resource will inspire and help the many friends of NSF in their efforts to tell the story of this remarkable driver of progress,” said FASEB President Mark O. Lively.
Congressional Visit Toolbox
The Congressional Visit Toolbox is an online resource aimed at empowering, training and equipping scientists to build relationships with their elected representatives in Congress. The toolbox contains everything needed to plan and conduct a congressional visit, including templates for meeting requests and follow-up letters, printable state-specific “leave-behind” materials and customizable talking points on the importance of biomedical research. Training materials, such as a slideshow tutorial on advocacy and a video of congressional visit role-playing, are also linked to the site.
The launch of the toolbox comes at a time when science advocacy is critical. “With the recent investments in biomedical research through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set to expire next year, and future funding for the National Institutes of Health and other science agencies uncertain, scientists have an important role to play by directly contacting their legislators to talk about their concerns and priorities,” said Lively. “Hopefully, the toolbox will provide scientists with all they need to convey their messages effectively, whether they are new to biomedical science advocacy or longtime leaders in the field.”
To field-test the toolbox, several members of the FASEB board of directors and Science Policy Committee conducted visits with their elected officials over the August recess. Larry J. Suva, director of the Center for Orthopaedic Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, did a test run in his home state and remarked, “The templates for leave-behind information and introductory remarks for setting the stage were invaluable. I was well prepared, and it showed.”
Updated Training Data
FASEB also has updated its compilation of survey data on education and employment in the biological and medical sciences.
Recent data from national surveys indicate that the number of graduate students in the biological and medical sciences continues to grow and that the postdoctoral population is also growing. However, for both graduate students and postdocs, the growth rate has slowed for temporary residents. Among postdocs, the growth rate for U.S. citizens and permanent residents now exceeds that of temporary residents for the first time since the mid-1990s.
*Howard Garrison and Kimberly McGuire of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs also contributed to this article.
Carrie D. Wolinetz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of scientific affairs and public relations for the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB.