Last December, Stand With Science entered the Stand Up For Science! competition sponsored by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Our entry, which described the development of the Stand With Science community and demonstrated the unique voice and perspective of students and young researchers through videos like “Stand With Science: What’s Next?” so impressed the FASEB judges that this past February, Stand With Science was awarded the grand prize of $10,000, and invited to join FASEB for its annual Capitol Hill Day event. So this past March, three of us from Stand With Science traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with FASEB and bring our message to congressional offices on Capitol Hill.
On the evening of March 18, we met with many of the FASEB members to discuss Stand With Science and the impending issues of federal science funding. There were representatives from FASEB and many of its member societies; some had been with FASEB for many years, and some were as new to it as we were, but all had a deep and inspiring passion for the importance of innovation, and all were eager to find out what was in store for Stand With Science. We shared with them our desire to continue building the Stand With Science community, and our hope that Americas young researchers will become an important voice in the debate over America’s continued investment in research.
The next day, along with dozens of other FASEB members and ambassadors, we made our way to Capitol Hill, to meet with House and Senate offices and remind them of the importance of our nation’s investment in science and engineering research. These meetings made two things clear to us: the fight for our country’s commitment to innovation is far from over, and that fight cannot be won without the effort and passion of the hundreds of thousands of graduate students, post-docs, and young scientists that form the backbone of our national research community. The debate over the 2013 sequester is still barely complete, and the battle for funding in fiscal year 2014 and beyond has already started; without your voice, and the voices of thousands like you, across-the-board cuts, drastically reduced budgets and fewer and fewer grants will become the new normal, and the long term effects to our science and engineering communities will become inexorably more devastating.
We at Stand With Science are deeply grateful to FASEB for inviting us to join them this past March, and for the generosity and confidence they have shown in America’s young scientists and engineers by awarding their grand prize to the Stand With Science community. It is our hope that we can continue to work with FASEB and organizations like it, to protect our nation’s investment in innovation, and keep us on the road to groundbreaking ideas and long-term economic growth.
Written by Nat Twarog, SWS Founder