Microbiology professor Dr. Louis Justement and three other UAB professors were among 50 scientists from 27 states to meet with congressional staff during Capitol Hill Day, April 14, 2015.
“The annual Capitol Hill day represents an ongoing effort by The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), its constituent societies and individual scientists to communicate directly with legislators and their staffs regarding the importance of biomedical research in terms of the economic impact and benefits to the health of the country,” says Justement, who serves as chair of the FASEB subcommittee on Policy and Government Affairs.
This year, researchers proposed a specific funding strategy to more than 100 congressional offices. That strategy involves a five-year commitment to a five percent annual funding increase in support of science research and development. The researchers believe this plan would help maintain the country’s leadership in science and restore the purchasing power of the NIH budget, which has decreased by 25 percent since 2003.
“The good news is that the efforts of FASEB and other advocates for biomedical research are indeed having an impact on how legislators view the NIH, NSF and other federal research entities. Recently, there has been a clear indication that legislators realize that NIH and the biomedical research community across the country are struggling to keep pace and that we risk losing a generation of new scientists. Hopefully, this will translate into increased support for biomedical research in the near term,” says Justement.