Spring 2015

Forging Relationships on Capitol Hill

In March, 52 SfN members rallied together for a successful Capitol Hill Day. Members participated in 81 meetings with legislators and staff from 27 states to advocate on behalf of scientific research.

“At the end of the day, what really matters is to be able to explain to the elected officials what we do and why it’s important,” SfN President Steven Hyman said.  “You can never take this for granted. Things that may be obvious to you about the importance of your science may not be so obvious to policymakers. It is critical every year to explain how fundamental discoveries ultimately lead to practical and health-related applications that policymakers are ultimately concerned about.”

Hill Day participants asked members of Congress to support for a budget increase of at least 10 percent for NIH and a budget of $7.7 billion for NSF. These funding levels will help ensure the medical progress needed to combat the neurological diseases and disorders that affect more than 100 million Americans each year.

SfN members also invited legislators and their staff to attend lab tours in their home states and shared the captivating stories of their own research.

“It’s not just about ideas; it’s about building relationships,” Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) said. “When you have a good relationship with somebody, when you like their work, when they bring you to their laboratory, it makes it much harder to say no. Use this as an opportunity to build and begin those relationships.”

Also on Hill Day, Hyman testified on Federal Investments in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. His testimony emphasized the progress that has been made through investment in scientific research thus far and stressed the importance of consistent funding for future advances.

Couldn't attend this year's Hill Day? View a recap of the day through social media and advocate from home using SfN's Advocacy Action Center.