Thank you to every #NeuroAdvocate who contacted Congress regarding the recent budget deal for FY 2020! With encouragement by the broader science advocacy community, the agreement was swiftly passed and signed by the president. Securing this budget deal is a crucial step toward finalizing funding for basic biomedical research for critical agencies next year.
As you know, Congress is currently on its August recess. Until lawmakers return to Washington, D.C. in September, they are meeting with constituents at home. Capitalize on this time to meet with them in their local offices, invite them to tour your lab, attend a town hall, and engage them on the importance of robust funding for neuroscience research. Make use of SfN’s resources and be sure to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or updates on how your interaction went. For international advocates, SfN also has resources to engage policymakers and connect with national societies.
Federal News Roundup
- The President signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. The bill sets topline spending levels of $1.37 trillion on agency budgets for the next two fiscal years and ends automatic spending cuts.
- NIH delayed a rule to mandate registration of basic human behavioral studies in ClinicalTrials.gov until September 24, 2021. NIH had also issued an RFI seeking additional input from stakeholders.
- New NIH requirements eliminate training funding for graduate and postdoctoral students using fetal tissue in research and require a more detailed explanation for not using alternatives.
- White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director Kelvin Droegemeier testified before House appropriators in his first congressional committee appearance since his nomination hearing last year.
- Senators introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for the creation of international ethical standards for gene-editing research.
Q&A: A Hill Staffer Shares How to Craft an Impactful Pitch
What are some of the best ways to effectively convey your message when meeting with congressional offices? Take an inside look with Senate legislative assistant Wesley Brooks. Brooks discusses the most impactful ways to craft and deliver your pitch, as well as ways you can make sure your pitch stands out and leads to actionable outcomes with your elected officials and their staff.
A #NeuroAdvocate Speaks on Capitol Hill
ACT for NIH and the Senate NIH Caucus held a briefing, “BRAIN Initiative: Revolutionizing our Understanding of the Human Brain.” The event featured many key congressional speakers alongside SfN Government and Public Affairs (GPA) committee member Christopher Cowan. Speakers discussed how the BRAIN initiative is transformational in our understanding of the brain and ability to diagnose and treat neurological disorders.
How I Started a Nonprofit by Finding Others Who Share My Passion
Current Early Career Policy Ambassador and MD/PhD candidate Bradford Martins shares how he and other students developed the advocacy nonprofit Mental Illness and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Coalition (MIND Coalition). In starting a nonprofit, Martins notes that "the most important lesson I’ve learned is to find other people who are also interested in your passion."
Research!America Accepting Civic Engagement Proposals Through September 20
Research!America is calling on graduate and postdoctoral science policy groups to apply for two sets of microgrants. The first set supports various civic engagement initiatives surrounding science, innovation, and public health; the second is a Science Meets Science initiative aimed at bridging social scientists and biological and physical scientists within a civic engagement context. Grant awards will be considered from project budgets up to $3,000. The deadline to apply is September 20, 2019.
International News Headlines
- Indonesia Gets Tough on Foreign Scientists – Science
- Japan approves first human-animal embryo experiments – Nature
- Former UK Science Minister Returns as Brexit Government Assembles – Nature
- Mexico’s New President Shocks Scientists with Budget Cuts and Disparaging Remarks – Science
Notable Legislative Updates Going into August Recess
- The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 has passed in the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
- Two other bills, the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019 and the Building Blocks of STEM Act, were also passed in the House.
- The Senate introduced and sent the Secure American Research Act of 2019 to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
SfN Advocacy Resources
- Contact your legislator about research funding via the Advocacy Action Center.
- Watch the Neuroscientist’s Guide to Advocacy series to understand the tools you need to help advance the field.
- Learn how to engage your members of Congress and persuasively advocate for science with SfN's Advocacy Best Practices.
- Get involved in global advocacy.
- Talk to the public about the importance of animal research.
- Reach out to email@example.com for assistance in preparing for your next advocacy effort at home or on Capitol Hill.