Washington Update

Research Organizations Offer New Advocacy Opportunities for Scientists

By: Jennifer Zeitzer
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Two prominent nonprofits are sponsoring new opportunities for scientists to engage in advocacy ahead of the mid-term elections. With every House member and one-third of Senators up for re-election in November, it is critical for the scientific community to make their voices heard on the campaign trail.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), a FASEB member society, recently launched their “August is for Advocacy Campaign” encouraging researchers and others to “advocate for the robust support of the scientific enterprise” while members of Congress are home for the summer recess.

ASBMB is offering assistance with scheduling and preparing for meetings with legislators and tips for developing a strong relationship with elected officials. In addition, a “How To” video gives additional guidance on effective communications and constituents’ role in influencing the legislative process. More information about ASBMB’s program is available online and interested individuals can sign up to participate here.

Research!America’s bipartisan civic engagement initiative is providing $1,000-$3,000 microgrants to student and postdoc-led science policy groups. The grant program’s goal is to increase outreach to candidates, elevating the importance of scientific research during the 2018 midterm elections.

Grantees can use funds to plan lab tours, roundtable discussions, and policy briefings with candidates; host community science events and Pub Nights; support social media engagement including Twitter chats; conduct media outreach; and organize webinars highlighting the benefits of federally funded research. Collaborations that engage new, diverse groups of young scientists in implementing innovative programs are especially encouraged. Research!America will announce the grant winners and provide more information about community engagement activities in late August.