ASBMB supports U.S. Sen. Luján’s ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to increase funding for STEM training

During the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual Capitol Hill day on May 11, participants asked Senate offices to support a “Dear Colleague” letter (a document used by members of Congress to encourage their colleagues to support specific issues) that the society helped the office of U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., to develop. The letter urges appropriators to increase funding for scientific training programs at the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and National Institute for General Medical Sciences. Specifically, it asks for:

  • $16 million for the DOE’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships program, which provides opportunities for undergraduates and recent graduates to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers via research experiences at DOE labs.
  • $25 million for the NSF’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, which provides awards to federally recognized tribal colleges and universities, Alaska Native–serving institutions and Native Hawaiian–serving institutions to promote high-quality science research programs and increase the retention of historically marginalized groups in STEM.
  • Support for President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget request for the NIGMS, which funds training and workforce-development programs that bolster the next generation of biomedical scientists.

Training programs such as these are critical to supporting undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in STEM disciplines by ushering novice scientists through successive channels of further specialized training. With a highly trained, diverse STEM workforce, the U.S. can better compete in research and development globally.

Furthermore, investing in STEM education and training fuels macroeconomic growth by providing the human capital needed to innovate and develop new markets.

We applaud Sens. Alex Padilla, D-Calif.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., for each signing the “Dear Colleague” letter to support scientific training programs.

We urge policymakers to ensure that the next generation of scientists are properly funded with workforce and training development opportunities in FY23.

The ASBMB will continue to strongly advocate for increased appropriations for STEM training programs this year and next.