September Science Policy Events from the Union of Concerned Scientists

From the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Science Network Workshop Series:

101: Science & Policy Change: Using your expertise to influence the policy making process

Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 3:00 p.m. EDT

Presenters: Kate Cell, Senior Outreach Coordinator, UCS Climate and Energy Program; Dr. Dave Cooke, Vehicles Analyst, UCS Clean Vehicles Program; Dr. Daniel Pomeroy, AGU Congressional Science Fellow, Office of Senator Edward Markey

In today’s partisan political climate and noisy media landscape, science doesn’t always get an equal seat at the table in the policy making process. But for experts who want to make a difference on the issues they care about, there are opportunities to be a voice of influence and reason at all levels of policy making. This webinar is a guide for scientists and other experts who are interested in learning how they can use their expertise to make an impact on the policy process at the local, state, or national level. We will cover an approach to the theory of social change as it relates to the policy process, what it takes to create policy opportunities and how to identify them, strategies for working with coalitions, and advice on how to be a resource for decision makers. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions to experts who have been involved in every step of the process, from organizing to coalition-building to advising a legislator.

 

ECS: So You Want to Work in Science Policy: What the experts wish they knew when they were students

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3:00 p.m. EDT

Presenters: Christopher Boniface, UCS National Advisory Board member and molecular biologist; Emily Boniface, UCS National Advisory Board member and cell and molecular biologist; Andrew Rosenberg, Director, the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS

Whether you’re a grad student, post-doc, or early career scientist, if you’re interested in a career at the nexus of science and policy, it may be hard to know where to look for guidance. Join us for a Google+ Hangout with three scientists who have been in your shoes. Our experts will share tips on how to make the most of the resources that are available to you, and personal stories about what they wish they knew when they were finishing their degrees. During this interactive Hangout you’ll have plenty of time to ask your questions about building your network, finding a mentor, and where to look for resources and guidance as you take the next step in your career.

 

 

1000 Word Event – Recap (a month later)

We hosted the 2nd annual 1000 Word Event with the Burke Museum last month March 21st, and have finally been able to get up a blog post about it.  Apologies to everyone who entered and how late this reporting is (and apologies if your photos don’t match entries).

We had just over 60 people in attendance at the event.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the Happy Hour, and then were a great audience for the event itself.  I was impressed with my colleagues and their creativity, as well as the broad showing of departments we had from all around the University.

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The judges and audience at the 1000 Word Presentations

One of the things FOSEP members wanted to focus on this year was communication, and we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to try in a friendly environment.  When I was writing my entry, I was surprised at how hard it was to convey my research using the 1000 most common words, but found that it really challenged me to think about what my research means.  I was trying to use both fast and slow thinking and understand where my audience was coming from, as we had talked about earlier in the year in our book club, but I found it was hard when limited to these words.   (How do you talk about hypertension if you can’t even use the word blood pressure – blood pushing on the inside of course). 

See more, including the entries and winners after the jump…

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Action Alert! Flat Funding for NIH is a Budget Cut – Urge Your Representative to Support NIH by Signing the McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research

From Research!America:

“Given that the budget allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds the non-commercial, basic medical research required to develop new medical treatments and cures, is actually lower this year than it was in 2012, it has never been more important to fight for NIH funding. To help ensure that this unique federal agency receives the resources needed to support research at universities, hospitals and other research institutions across the country, Representatives Peter King (R-NY), Susan Davis (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), and David McKinley (R-WV) are circulating a sign-on letter in support of critically needed funding for NIH.”

In addition to the NIH budget being lower this year than in 2012, as a recent NatureEditorial points out, due to inflation and continued flat funding, the NIH’s budget has decreased by 10% in the last 10 years! Inflation for biomedical research is high, which means flat funding is actually a funding cut when inflation is taken into account. For example, while President Obama requested a 0.7% increase in his FY2015 budget for the NIH, inflation is projected to rise by 2.2% in 2014, translating into  an actual 1.5% cut for NIH spending. Likewise, by FY2019 the Department of Health and Human Services is projecting biomedical inflation to be at 3.3%, which would mean Congress would have to approve at least a 3.3% budget increase just for the NIH’s purchasing power to remain flat!

While these numbers are quite disheartening, a bipartisan group of Congress members are now recognizing what flat funding for NIH actually means. The McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research currently being circulated reads, “As Members of Congress who value the critical role played by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in better health outcomes, job creation, education, and economic growth, we respectfully request that the NIH receives at least $32 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. We feel this amount is the minimum level of funding needed to reflect the rising costs associated with biomedical research. At a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity, it is critical that the United States make forward-thinking investments that promote medical breakthroughs as well as our international leadership in biomedical research.”

The McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research’s $32 billion ask for FY2015 would be an additional 5.5% budget increase over Obama’s request. Please consider contacting your US House of Representative to urge them to sign on to the letter.

Crossposted from SciencePolitics.

Graduate student Happy Hour @ the Burke & the 1000 words challenge!

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Complete flyer: FOSEP_1000_word_challenge_2014

Where: Burke Museum
When: Friday March 21st 5:00-8:30pm (6-7pm for the 1000 Word Challenge)

Hello Graduate & Professional students!

Join us for a packed  and fun-filled  1000 Words Contest and End of the Quarter Happy Hour at the Burke Museum of Natural History. We had close to 200 people last year!  Come enjoy food and drink, celebrate the end of the quarter, and enjoy networking with your peers from all over the university.The Challenge takes place March 21 at the Burke Museum. Grand prize is a $100 gift card for the University Bookstore.  Test your blurb to make sure it before you enter online by noon March 20th.

Brought to you by The Burke Museum and FOSEP (Forum on Science Ethics and Policy).

Judging Criteria

  • Language - Does the entry convey the work of the grad student  in a clear and concise manner, using the 1000 words in an economical and grammatically correct fashion?
  • Style – Does the entry go beyond clear word choice to incorporate humor, prose, rhythm or other elements of style to good effect.
  • Presentation - Does the candidate present their entry effectively?   Considerations are enunciation, volume, posture, and dress.

This year’s Judges are.

  • Jessica Robles, a scholar in Communication Studies who spends much of her time teaching, reading, writing, and thinking about what, how, and why people talk the way they do in everyday life.
  • David B. Williams, a former national park ranger, outdoor instructor, museum educator, and the author of The Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from the City, Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, and Cairns: Messengers in Stone.
  • Alaina Smith, Director of External Affairs for the Burke Museum.

Greetings from the 2014 AAAS meeting in Chicago!

It’s been an exciting several days with lots of talks, seminars, and advice, and looking toward the future for science and technology. This year’s theme is Meeting Global Challenges: Discovery and Innovation. The meeting kicked off Wednesday morning, but it really got going on Thursday morning with day-long seminars investigating the challenges of communicating with the public, in the form of communicating with journalists, social media, and public events. Later that night there was a presentation by Story Collider and one about love in honor of Valentine’s day.

Rather than belabor every single story that was covered at the meeting, I’ll point you to several news outlets that covered the entire meeting, with more detailed stories to come on the sessions that I attended.

AAAS Eureka Alert
Science Update
Science News
And if you’re a tweeter, the meeting used the hashtag #aaasmtg

My only regret is that I couldn’t be in 4 places at once!!! I had to pick and choose what I attended, but I’m leaving this meeting inspired by excellent conversations and new and innovative ideas!

Corey S.

The Polar Vortex…and what is with all of this Crazy Weather?

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This picture was taken at Mt. Rainier, however images like this have been used to illustrate the “Polar Vortex” in Midwest and East Coast cities.

About a week ago FOSEP members got together to talk about scientific communication, a topic that was one of the most requested from our members.  In particular we discussed the distinction between climate and weather.  The Polar Vortex has kept the East Coast and Midwest frigid  Meanwhile, on the West Coast we are in drought conditions.  Some counties in Oregon have already declared drought conditions, while parched Northern California has finally seen some rain. On my recent snowshoeing trip to Mt. Rainier (which are being used to illustrate this post), snow level was below “low” on the mountain.

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