While scientists carry out research in labs across the country, important decisions are being made in Washington, DC that will affect how they do their jobs.
For example, how much money will the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation get to fund extramural research next year?
Since the completion of the doubling of the NIH budget, yearly increases have failed to keep pace with inflation, causing success rates for extramural grants to fall into the teens. Even the fight to protect the NIH budget from being cut has become an uphill battle. The outlook for the NSF is somewhat more promising. As part of the American Competitiveness Initiative there is a plan to double the agency's budget over the next several years. However, in the process of doing so, lawmakers have already attempted to legislate scientific priorities at NSF.
Lawmakers are also making decision about:
- What regulations govern the use of animals in research
- What the Visa requirements are for foreign scientists who come to this country to work and study
- Whether or not federally funded scientists can carry derive human embryonic stem cells
Most members of Congress do not have a scientific background; therefore lawmakers need to hear from YOU about why these issues are important. As a scientist and a constituent, you have a unique opportunity to have input in the decision making process.