Washington Update

FASEB and Research!America Expand Civic Engagement Opportunities for Young Scientists

By: Jennifer Zeitzer
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

After years of working side-by-side in the research advocacy community, FASEB and Research!America will join forces on a new partnership through an expansion of the existing Civic Engagement Microgrant Program. Launched in 2018 by Research!America, the program provides financial support for graduate students and postdocs in science, technology, engineering, and math fields to develop communication and program planning skills and improve their understanding of government. Projects supported in prior years focused on outreach to candidates running for federal office and the development of student-led projects to initiate dialogue between public officials and members of the community.

In 2021, participants in the Microgrant Program will have a unique opportunity to participate in “Introduction to Science Policy and Advocacy,” an online course developed by FASEB. The class curriculum provides students with a brief overview of the U.S government structure, how government agencies determine funding levels and oversee federally supported research activities, and who makes policy affecting scientists. Case study lectures will also highlight how policy development proceeds through the regulatory and legislative processes, ways scientists can engage in advocacy and policymaking efforts, and career opportunities in science policy. Students will demonstrate comprehension of the material by completing three assignments: an outline for a short memo to the incoming administration identifying proposed policy recommendations; an oral presentation of the outline; and submission of the final policy memo. Certificates of Completion will be awarded to participants who complete and submit all three assignments.

Applications for the Research!America Microgrant Program are due on November 9, 2020. U.S.-based science policy groups managed by graduate students, medical students, and postdocs are encouraged to apply online. More information about the microgrants is available from an archived webinar hosted by Research!America. The maximum grant award is $4,000. Due to COVID, grants awarded in 2021 will support activities that will be conducted virtually, including podcasts, webinars, data visualizations, and seed funding for students interested in starting a local science policy group. The Civic Engagement Microgrant Program is supported by a grant from the Rita Allen Foundation.