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Events support scientific research

April 18, 2017

Seligman: Our nation’s economic prosperity is fueled by scientific innovation

An op-ed from President Seligman appeared this weekend in the Democrat and Chronicle discussing the critical role that federal-funded research plays in improving people’s lives, driving economic growth, and making the nation a global leader in scientific innovation.

This progress and the transformative research being conducted here at the University and elsewhere are threatened by the deep cuts in research proposed under the President’s FY18 budget.

If you missed it, please also take the time to read the message from President Joel Seligman, Provost Rob Clark, and Medical Center CEO Mark Taubman on this topic.

March for Science
As many of you are aware, events are being planned across the country this weekend in support of research.  The March for Science is a non-partisan international movement, led by organizers around the globe to sound a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Among many University of Rochester people taking part in the D.C. march, physics professor Adam Frank will be participating in a teach-in with planetary scientists David Grinspoon and Ellen Stofan titled “Climate Change and the Cosmic Perspective.” Frank has written about the march on the NPR blog 13.7 cosmos & culture. You can read his posts here and here.

Local organizers are planning a Rochester-based march to be held concurrently with the national march on April 22. The Rochester march culminates in a Rochester Science Expo at the Hyatt Regency.  Members of the University of Rochester community will also take part.

“The March for Science is an excellent opportunity for faculty, staff and students throughout the University to share their individual views on the tremendous impact that research has on the human condition globally,” says David Williams, dean for research in Arts, Sciences and Engineering at the University.

“I’ll be speaking at the Rochester Science Expo and participating in the local march, as an individual and as a scientist, because I want to communicate the importance of science to our society.  As scientists, I feel that we haven’t done enough to explain the value of what we do – from fundamental discoveries, to new treatments and cures (such as the HPV vaccine), to economic impact and job creation,” notes Stephen Dewhurst, vice dean for research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “We are 3,000 strong at the Medical Center alone, and we are working to improve life for everyone.  I see the march as an opportunity to celebrate science and scientists, to connect with the public at large, to express our appreciation for the support that scientific research has received in this country over the last half century, and to express the need to continue that support in the future.”

“I’m an introvert; activism and community outreach are way outside my comfort zone. But, when I learned about the march and expo, there was no question in my mind that I would be a part of it. My fellow trainees and I won’t have careers if we don’t work to keep science a priority in this country,” says Emma Grygotis, a fourth year graduate student in pharmacology and physiology at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, who is helping organize both events. “We want to encourage people in the community to join us. We all bring unique stories to this conversation, and the more voices we have, the stronger we’ll be.”

Pedro Benitez is a consumer, advocate for the Latino community and member of the UR HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit Community Advisory Board. He’s participated in clinical research and is supporting the march because he wants to help physicians and scientists find a cure for HIV. “Without federal funding for research, how can we find a cure and help people live longer and better lives?” he asks.

Congress will take up the topic of funding for science and basic research in the coming months and there will likely be additional opportunities for people to advocate in support of these issues.

You can find more information about the President’s proposed budget, leadership advocacy in support of science, and the University’s Political Activity Guidelines on the Government and Community Relations website.



Category: University News