On Sept. 9, 20 students and postdoctoral fellows and 13 ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee members representing 30 states conducted 104 meetings with legislators and their staffs. Participants advocated for budget increases to $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $7.6 billion for the National Science Foundation. They also discussed other issues affecting the biomedical research community, including improving STEM education, renewing the research and development tax credit, and increasing the number of STEM visas available to foreign-born scientists.
Most participants never had visited Capitol Hill. Several were interested in pursuing careers in science policy and said they valued the experience they gained. One trainee noted, “I thought the entire experience was very enlightening; it was the first time I was really able to observe the process and appreciate the hurdles we have to overcome.” For others, the experience was eye-opening. A participant said, “Going into this I expected to feel like this was not an important issue to the majority of the people that we spoke with, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many of them seemed passionate about increased science funding.”
The day before Hill Day, ASBMB PAAC members met with representatives from federal funding agencies. The PAAC forged new contacts with several agencies, including the NIH Office of Workforce Diversity and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those meetings focused on how we could partner with agencies to better inform ASBMB members of funding opportunities and other available resources.
ASBMB’s next Hill Day will be in the spring. However, you can set up your own meetings with your representatives; many are now home during the recess. For more information about how to set up and conduct a meeting with your representative, email ASBMB Public Affairs Director Ben Corb.
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