Board Chair Message
Science in government today is under siege. Health services research and the social sciences are under attack. Sequestration, the automatic spending cuts, is still the law of the land. And science is under attack in the federal budget and appropriations process. While a commitment to restore regular order to the appropriations process has been voiced by both sides of the aisle, ideological differences about investments in science and technology remain intact. Now is the time for defenders of science to speak up and rally the public.
In polls commissioned by Research!America, scientists are consistently the most respected people in the nation. They are well positioned to help connect the dots of research and lifesaving therapies for the public. Yet too few researchers have engaged in activities such as writing an op-ed in the local paper or volunteering as a scientific adviser for a candidate (an ideal opportunity in an election year) to help Americans have an appreciation for and understand the importance of science to our future.
Scientists must take off their lab coats and roll up their sleeves, converse with the public to elevate science in the national conversation and inspire young people to pursue careers in science. With a stronger commitment to public outreach, scientists can play a key role in strengthening our nation’s research and innovation ecosystem. We need defenders who will use their knowledge to recruit and cultivate champions of research and help create a political environment where medical progress and private sector innovation can thrive, unencumbered by ideological differences.
It’s not too late to make research and innovation our country’s destiny. All scientists should remind the public and their representatives that research drives our economy, provides good jobs at good salaries, raises our standard of living and improves human health. This is a time when science needs defenders, and it’s up to scientists to lead the way.