News from the Hill

Be a hometown science advocate

Daniel Pham
By Daniel Pham
May 01, 2018

This is an exciting time for science. Scientists are running for office in record numbers and are making their voices heard through emails, petitions and phone calls to Washington, D.C. Our members lobbied Congress during last month’s Capitol Hill Day, and thousands participated in the second annual March for Science.

While many efforts focus on federal advocacy, local activism is also crucial. Policies enacted in statehouses and city halls can have major impacts on research institutes within their jurisdictions. To focus on garnering support for life science research at the local and state level, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is launching its Advocacy Training Program. And we are searching for 10 scientists to be the first ASBMB ATP delegates to cultivate the energy of local grassroots science advocacy.

This nationwide six-month externship will provide hands-on science policy and advocacy training and experience, beginning in June. Delegates will first complete a digital advocacy training course to equip them to build and support local sustainable science advocacy activities. In this informal training phase, the program will provide a substantial overview of the advocacy landscape and how to navigate it.

Through the summer, delegates will join bimonthly hour-long conference calls on specific policy topics. Before each call, they will receive curated materials to read and watch, such as those produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. ASBMB public affairs staff, sometimes with a guest expert, will underscore specific points before facilitating an open discussion of these topics, similar to discussions that take place in scientific journal clubs. Potential topics include how science agencies such as the National Institutes of Health make policies, how Congress passes laws and budgets, and what effective advocacy looks like. Delegates also will complete homework assignments to prepare them to meet with their state and local representatives in August.

And they will not stop there. From September until December, delegates will develop and carry out an advocacy calendar tailored to their specific regions. They will learn how to recruit like-minded scientists and identify allies who will assist in and amplify their advocacy efforts. Through this program, scientists will become trained science advocates, will develop and contribute to local science advocacy efforts, and will build a regional network of grassroots and professional science advocates.

We are looking for passionate scientists who seek new opportunities in advocacy. We recognize that the course is intensive, and we expect delegates to commit about two hours a week to this endeavor. Whether you are an undergraduate passionate about science education, a member of your institution’s science policy group or a scientist looking to increase diversity in your lab, this program may be the right fit for you. The ATP does not require you to leave your lab for a prolonged period, and it will provide you with the training and support required to become the tip of the spear in our advocacy efforts.

Our goal is to have one ASBMB delegate from every state able to provide up-to-date local intel on relevant policy issues and plug into their local network to amplify the ASBMB’s national advocacy campaigns. We hope our inaugural class of ATP delegates will not only participate in our programs but also help us to develop and strengthen the ATP for the next class.

Please go to the ATP webpage to learn more about the program and to apply to become a 2018 ATP delegate. If you have any questions about the application or the program, email us at Public Affairs.

Daniel Pham
Daniel Pham

Daniel Pham is the public affairs manager at the ASBMB. Follow him on Twitter.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in Policy

Policy highlights or most popular articles

U.S. seeks to kick out and ban foreign students
Blotter

U.S. seeks to kick out and ban foreign students

July 08, 2020

Harvard and MIT sue government to stop rule change targeting F-1 and M-1 visa holders at or heading to institutions offering only online courses this fall because of COVID-19.

NIH struggles to address sexual harassment by grantees
Blotter

NIH struggles to address sexual harassment by grantees

July 01, 2020

While the agency has made progress with intramural cases, it has been less successful with extramural ones.

What the Supreme Court's DACA ruling means for undocumented students and the colleges and universities they attend
News

What the Supreme Court's DACA ruling means for undocumented students and the colleges and universities they attend

June 27, 2020

At least for now, hundreds of thousands of students can stay in school without facing new hardships.

When leaders choose self-interest over science, the consequences are deadly
Editorial

When leaders choose self-interest over science, the consequences are deadly

June 26, 2020

As a result of the Trump administration’s actions and inaction, Ben Corb writes, the U.S. was late to adopt a testing protocol to help track and slow the spread of COVID-19.

NIH continues to investigate scientists’ foreign ties
Blotter

NIH continues to investigate scientists’ foreign ties

June 26, 2020

The agency has investigated 189 scientists suspected of violating NIH policies and has found a majority of them guilty of failing to disclose foreign affiliations.

Bill would reform NSF and plant innovation hubs nationwide
Blotter

Bill would reform NSF and plant innovation hubs nationwide

June 17, 2020

The Endless Frontier Act would rename, add a directorate to and pump up to $100 billion in new funding into the agency. It also would fix the uneven distribution of jobs and capital concentrated now in just a few cities.