The SfN Advocacy Network Newsletter gives members an overview of political developments affecting the science community, as well as upcoming advocacy opportunities.
In this issue:
- In the Spotlight: Deadline Looming for Speaking Out Against Sequestration Cuts, 2013 SfN Capitol Hill Day and Time to Take Action, SfN and its Members Opposing New Restrictions on Animal Transport, New Poll Finds Public Support for Research, AMP Public Outreach Fellowship Now Accepting Applications, Survey on Possible Changes to the Animal Welfare Act
- On Capitol Hill: President Emphasizes Science in State of the Union Address, President's Press Conference
- The Policy Mix: Sign on Letters, NIH Seeks Public Comment on Research Chimpanzee Decisions, Increasing Opportunities for Maximizing the Translation of Effective Therapies
In the Spotlight
Deadline Looming for Speaking Out Against Sequestration Cuts
On March 1, the NIH and NSF annual budgets will be reduced by 5 percent, unless Congress takes action. Five percent means the NIH budget will be cut by $1.6 billion and NSF will issue nearly 1,000 fewer research grants.
On Thursday, February 7, SfN joined Research!America in a Day of Action to oppose the cuts. SfN members sent thousands of messages to the President and Congress asking them to prevent these devastating cuts. Add your voice and send a letter today!
Mark Your Calendars: 2013 SfN Capitol Hill Day and Time to Take Action
No matter what happens with sequestration, the fight to increase funding for biomedical research continues with the FY2014 budget process. This process will begin with the release of the President's budget in March, which will coincide with both the expiration of the continuing resolution funding the federal government and SfN's seventh annual Capitol Hill Day on March 20. You don't have to come to DC to make a difference — SfN makes it easy to set up meetings in your district or to invite a legislator to tour your lab during the congressional recess March 22 - April 5. For information, contact email@example.com.
In concert with Capitol Hill Day, SfN is encouraging all its members to take action during the week of March 18. Contact Congress during this week through social media, phone calls, and letters. SfN members provide invaluable first-hand accounts of federal funding effects new medical treatments, jobs, and the economy. Look for more information on how to get involved in coming weeks.
SfN and its Members Opposing New Restrictions on Animal Transport
The FY2014 budget process usually kicks off in the first week of February with the release of the President's budget. However, due to the uncertainties raised by fiscal cliff negotiations, the release of the President's budget is likely to be delayed by several weeks. Its release at the end of February or early March will coincide with the new deadline to address sequestration, the expiration of the continuing resolution currently funding the federal government, and SfN's Capitol Hill Day on March 20.
- Add your voice: join the more than 700 SfN members who sent letters to the CEO of United Continental and more than 250 letters sent to the CEO of Air Canada by contacting the airlines and urging them to reconsider their position using SfN's Action Center.
- A new oped by SfN President Larry Swanson and chair of SfN Committee on Animals in Research Mickey Goldberg opposes this change and extols the benefits of research involving animals.
- SfN joined 150 organizations in a sign-on letter organized by the National Association for Biomedical Research. The letter was sent to CEOs of airlines currently being targeted by activists and urged them to continue transporting animals for research purposes.
New Poll Finds Public Support for Research
Research!America released a new report showing strong public support for health improvement-related research. The poll shows that 85 percent of Americans are concerned about stagnant funding for medical research, 70 percent of Americans feel the government should encourage careers in STEM fields, and 54 percent of Americans would pay $1 per week more in taxes if the money was spent on medical research. The results underscore the need to educate public officials about the importance of medical research funding.
Americans Medical Progress Public Outreach Fellowship Now Accepting Applications
The SfN coalition partner Americans for Medical Progress is accepting applications for the Michael D. Hayre Fellowship in Public Outreach to help foster innovative outreach programs that engage the next generation of research advocates on the responsible use of animals in research. Past fellows include SfN members Elizabeth Burnett and Scott Dobrin, who used their award to launch Speaking Honestly – Animal Research Education. Applications are due April 12.
Survey on Possible Changes to the Animal Welfare Act
At the end of the last Congress, the House introduced a bill (H.R. 6693) that would have regulated rats, mice, and birds under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). SfN's coalition partner, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) prepared a confidential survey to assess the impact of this potential change and to estimate the overall cost of compliance. Take the time to complete this survey. Download the survey and return to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Capitol Hill
President Emphasizes Science in State of the Union Address
On February 12, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress in his annual State of the Union Address. During the hour-long speech, Obama spoke out against the indiscriminate, across the board "sequestration" cuts scheduled to take place on March 1. He also mentioned brain mapping procedures used to research Alzheimer's disease and highlighted the great investment that money spent on fundamental research can be, stating "every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy."
President Obama announced, "Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. We need to make those investments." It is important SfN members remain a strong unified voice on behalf of biomedical research funding through SfN's action alerts, letter writing campaigns and other activities. See a video and full transcript of the speech.
President's Press Conference
The President held a press conference on February 5 about the impending cuts known as sequestration. He explained that the looming deadlines will have "real and lasting" impacts on the economic recovery of the country. He argued that while it is important to cut wasteful spending, we cannot cut our way to prosperity. He highlighted that sequestration cuts will cost jobs and slow the recovering economy.
The Policy Mix
SfN joined the Ad Hoc Group for Biomedical research and 270 other signatories on a sign-on letter to express concern about the impact of continued cuts to NIH. The letter was sent to all members of Congress on February 11.
The Nondefense Discretionary (NDD) United community also delivered a letter on February 11 to Congress which urged leaders to avert sequestration. Joining together in this effort were nearly 3,200 national, state, and local organizations from all fifty states representing the health, education, law enforcement, science, housing, workforce, transportation, and faith communities, among others.
NIH Seeks Public Comment on Research Chimpanzee Decisions
NIH issued a request for public input on the 28 recommendations found in the report of the Council of Councils Working Group on the Use of Chimpanzees in NIH-Supported Research. All comments should be submitted by March 23.
Why Do Many Therapeutics Show Promise in Preclinical Animal Models but then Fail to Elicit Predicted Effects When Tested in Humans?
The Institute of Medicine's Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders released a summary of a workshop held March 28-29, 2012, to discuss potential opportunities for maximizing the translation of new therapies from animal models to clinical practice. The primary focus of the workshop was to examine mechanisms for increasing opportunities for maximizing the translation of effective therapies from animal models to clinical practice though discussions about how and when to use animal models.