Prepare a lab tour for your legislators
Hosting a member of Congress at your institution is an excellent way to demonstrate the importance of federal funding for scientific research. You will have direct access to the official and staffers to talk about the exciting research being done at your institution and how congressional support is important for researchers as well as the entire community.
Step 1: Identify your members of Congress
Step 2: Develop an itinerary
Prior to contacting your elected officials, devise a plan for showing them around. Who will be accompanying them on the tour? Which labs should they see? How long will each activity take? Will there be a sit-down portion? Prepare to be flexible with your plans, as legislators’ calendars often change at the last minute. Also be sure to get the necessary permissions from the labs and your institution’s government relations office.
Step 3: Schedule a tour
Call your legislators’ regional offices to find out when they will be in town. You also can email the ASBMB public affairs staff for help setting up a tour.
Step 4: Do some research, practice and prepare for your tour
Before you meet, make sure you’ve done your homework. Here are some general talking points about federal agency funding and other science-related pieces of legislation.
How does your state and district benefit from biomedical research? The ASBMB public affairs staff can provide stats about the benefits of research to your local community.
Also, review our tips for communicating with Congress.
Step 5: Host the tour
Put your research and preparation into practice, and then, as the meeting concludes, leave your member of Congress with some information about the importance of research. Here are some fliers you can print out:
- ASBMB tree graphic
A pictorial representation of the wide-reaching effects of federal funding for the NIH and how budget cuts to science-funding agencies affect the nation.
- “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity” summary
A one-page summary of some of the important takeaways from the “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity” report.
- Congress must support biomedical research
A rundown of how discovery research can benefit human health.
- “Sparking Economic Growth” summary
A summary “Sparking Economic Growth,” a document prepared by the Science Coalition, which identifies successful examples of companies that are the direct result of federal investments in basic research.
Contact the ASBMB public affairs staff for more leave-behind materials or advice on how best to use them.
Step 6: Follow up with the office
Write a note thanking the official and/or staff member for meeting with you.
Other toolkit topics
Dos and donts for communicating with legislators
Helpful tips to make your meetings effective.
Meet with your legislators in person
Communicating directly with your elected officials is an important way to make your voice heard.
Write a letter to the editor
A letter to the editor of your local newspaper can be very effective at increasing public awareness of an issue important to your community.