AGU Members Talk Science Funding on Capitol Hill
21 April 2011
AGU Science Policy Alert 11–11
AGU teamed with 28 other scientific societies to sponsor the 16th annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day on Capitol Hill. Over 250 scientists, including 24 Earth and space scientists, came to Washington, D.C., on 7 April 2011 to communicate the importance of basic research funding and federal support for the sciences. With Congress promising to focus on deficit reduction and budget cuts, now is a critical time to inform lawmakers that basic research is one of the engines of economic growth, improved environmental protection, and increased safety for Americans and property.
L to R: Jeremy Caves (AGU Public Affairs Intern)
and Elizabeth Landau (AGU Public Affairs Manager)
listen to Alex Minchenkov (USDA) at the Science, Engineering,
Technology Congressional Reception.
On 6 April 2011, the day before traveling to Capitol Hill, the Earth and space scientists participated in a morning training on how to talk to Congress. Highlights from the training included a panel discussion with Congressional Science Fellows on how to discuss science with Members of Congress and their staff. That afternoon, the scientists attended a briefing, sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), on the current state of the federal R&D budget and its prospects for the future. The evening closed with a congressional reception where Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) and Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) were honored for their continued and strong support for basic research funding. At the reception, AGU co-sponsored a booth with the American Geological Institute and the Geological Society of America on earthquake research and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS).
Barbara John (University of Wyoming) met with
Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) about the importance
of federal support for basic research.
The following day, the scientists participated in over 90 meetings with Members of Congress, their personal office staff, and congressional committee staff. Armed with their personal experiences, the scientists discussed their own research and stressed the importance of federal funding for continuing groundbreaking research as well as training the next generation of qualified Earth and space scientists. Further, they asked the offices to support specific funding increases for Earth and space science agencies, including DOE, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and USGS. Many offices understood the importance of basic research for America's competitiveness, health, and safety, and promised to do their best to guard against budget cuts to these agencies.
These meetings between scientists and policymakers are vital for establishing productive ongoing relationships to inform policy and ensure that decisions are being made on sound science. As a link between scientists and policymakers, AGU encourages you to meet you're your legislators in Washington, D.C., and at home to begin a relationship with your Members of Congress.
AGU would like to thank its following members for participating in Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day 2011:
Natalie Beckman, Colorado State University
Donna Blackman, Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Ann Catherine Bryant, University of Utah
Marcos Cheney, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
Justin Falls, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
George Hornberger, Vanderbilt University
Barbara John, University of Wyoming
Peter Kelemen, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Robert Kleinberg, Schlumberger
Patrick Leahy, American Geological Institute
Michael Long, University of Virginia
Matthew Makou, Ohio State University
John Meriwether, Clemson University
Heath Mills, Texas A&M
Dalal Najib, University of Michigan
Alexei Pevtsov, National Solar Observatory
John Schultz, Northrop Grumman
Cameron Wake, University of New Hampshire
Aleck Wang, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Throughout the year, AGU scientists participate in several congressional events, including exhibitions, briefings, and Congressional Visits Days. The Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (Geo-CVD) is on 20–21 September 2011 in Washington, D.C. If you are interested in participating in any congressional events with AGU, please contact Elizabeth Landau at email@example.com.