Our January Call to Action: A Letter to the Editor

Dear Supporters of Science,

Happy New Year!

As we kick off 2013, we are launching our January Call to Action.  This month, we call on you to write a letter to the editor of your local campus newspaper.  We hope that these letters will help us obtain our goal of 5000 signatures on our online petition by Friday, February 1, 2013.  If your letter is published, please let us know and you’ll be highlighted on our updates page as well as social media outreach.

To minimize your time commitment, we’ve included a letter template which you can personalize with your own experiences and information relevant to your campus community.  Please customize the second paragraph of the template with whatever information you think best paints a picture of the importance of federally funded research to your education – we’ve provided some ideas to get you started.  Of course, if you would like to draft your own letter to the editor we gladly welcome that as well!

We thank you again for making your voice heard and for Standing With Science.  Stay tuned for our February Call to Action!

 

A Sample Letter:

Scientific research funding, and the future of the next generation of scientists, is in jeopardy on our campus.

I am a [X agency]-funded graduate student studying [Ex. how antibiotics kill bacteria so we can develop new drugs]. Federally funded research is the largest source of basic research funding on our campus. Without federal funding [X] graduate students, just like myself will be unable to learn and produce the ground-breaking research which could bring significant innovation and investment to our university and our state.

Other ideas to personalize your letter:

– On our campus, X% of the research budgets are federally funded.

– Our campus supports x number of postdocs (grad students), most (all) of whom are funded by federal research grants.

– For every $1 invested in scientific research, nearly $2.50 are created in new economic activity including X [list spin out products from campus – smartphone, LED-cardio charger thingy, etc.]

– Research on our campus has led to X Nobel Prizes which are awarded for a lifetime of research training and experience largely funded by the federal budget.

This federal research funding could be significantly limited by sequestration, required by the Budget Control Act of 2012. Sequestration is now scheduled to take place on March 1, 2013 and will require cuts in discretionary spending to reach significant savings from 2013-2021. This will lead to an 8-10% cut to federally funded research and development (R&D) in 2013 alone. These cuts will immediately impact the ability of federal research funding agencies to maintain investment in basic research.  These agencies include the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and NASA.

Since federal R&D plays a key role in driving U.S. innovation, productivity, and overall economic growth, the impacts of sequestration are already evident and will be severe. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) projects that a decline in R&D investment of this magnitude will reduce GDP by at least $203 billion in the short term and up to $860 billion over the complete timeline of the sequester, to 2021. The short-term losses alone are the economic equivalent of eliminating all sales of new motor vehicles for a half year. In addition, this unprecedented cut in federal research investment will have a huge impact on the workforce with ITIF estimating cumulative job losses and forgone job creation of approximately 450,000 from 2013–2016.

Federal research funding is an investment in the futures of both [X university] and our country. I will be watching for our congressional delegation’s leadership on this issue, and encourage readers to do the same. I encourage fellow supporters of research funding to reach out to your congressional leaders about the importance of federal research funding. Start by signing the Stand with Science online petition at: https://standwithscience.org/theletter

One thought on “Our January Call to Action: A Letter to the Editor

  1. UPenn has an op-ed from our Penn Science Policy group-http://www.thedp.com/article/2013/02/shaun-obrien-how-you-can-save-science

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