AGU Members Promote Research Funding on Capitol Hill

26 September 2013
AGU Science Policy Alert 13-41

On 18 September 2013, scientists from across the United States traveled to Washington, D.C. to share the importance of funding scientific research with Congress during the 6th annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day. AGU teamed with 10 other scientific societies to facilitate meetings for 70 participants from 23 states. These scientists met with members of Congress, congressional staff, and committee staff to discuss the importance of stable, continued funding for scientific research and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, as well as to offer their expertise to answer questions.

Prior to their congressional visits, participating scientists attended a workshop on the intricacies of the legislative process, the complexities of the current budget process, and upcoming legislation. They also took part in mock meetings to become more comfortable with talking to policy makers and to practice their individual messages. Dan Byers, Anna Henderson, and Kevin Reed, scientists working in congressional offices or on committees as current or past Congressional Science Fellows, answered participants’ questions and provided valuable insight on getting the most value out of their meetings.

After the training sessions, participants were invited to gather with members of Congress, congressional staff, and federal agency officials to celebrate the contributions of Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4) to the USGS and the scientific community. Congressmen Calvert and DeFazio were honored with the 10th Annual USGS Coalition Leadership Award.

The next day, they all traveled to Capitol Hill to take part in more than 140 meetings with congressional offices. Split into teams based on their home state, the scientists discussed relevant local, state, national, and global geoscience issues. The meetings focused on the necessity of stable funding for the development of quality scientific research, which will in turn promote public health and safety, job creation, and national security. Furthermore, steady funding of both research and STEM education helps to cultivate the future workforce and encourages scientists to stay in the U.S. This message was particularly important because of impending congressional action on passing the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, continuing sequestration, and raising the debt ceiling.

AGU invites its members to get involved in communicating the importance of science to decision-makers by participating in events such as Congressional Visits Days, policy briefings, and the 2014 AGU Science Policy Conference. To learn more about these events, visit the AGU Science Policy events page.

AGU would like to recognize and thank its members for participating in the 2013 Geosciences Congressional Visits Day:

Sandy Carlson, University of California, Davis

Greg Cutter, Old Dominion University

Eric Davidson, Woods Hole Research Center

Chris Davis, NCAR/UCAR

Hannah Dean, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, University of Massachusetts

Corey Drozdowski, Georgia Institute of Technology

Rana Fine, Rosenstiel School, University of Miami

Robinson (Wally) Fulweiler, Boston University

Jack Hess, Geological Society of America

Brittany Huhmann, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Haig Iskenderian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Lab

Roberta Johnson, University of Albany

Ivy Krystal Jones, Hampton University

Suzanne Kay, Cornell University

Victoria Keener, East West Center, Pacific RISA

Pat Leahy, American Geosciences Institute

David Lindbo, North Carolina State University

Sarah Lipscy, Ball Aerospace

Michael Long, Harvard University

MaryAnn Love Malinconico, Lafayette College

Lisa Ludwig , University of California, Irvine

Diane McKnight, INSTAAR-University of Colorado, Boulder

Harry (Hap) McSween Jr., University of Tennessee

Jerry Miller, Science for Decisions

Kevin Milner, University of Southern California

Jessica Moerman, Georgia Institute of Technology

Sharon Mosher, University of Texas, Austin

Caitlin Murphy, Carnegie Institution of Washington

Susan Newman, Seismological Society of America

Karen Paczkowski, University of Maryland

Garrett Rue, University of Colorado, Boulder

Alexander Soloviev, NOVA Southeastern University

Zoltan Szuts, University of Washington

Betsy Weatherhead, University of Colorado

Bob Weinbeck, American Meteorological Society

Anastasia Yanchilina, Columbia University