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Science Advocacy Committee

Oregon Chapter of the

Society for Neuroscience


Scientists share (with doctors) the top spot in the Harris poll of occupations having the most prestige; engineers are about in the middle of this ranking. Most Americans say they would be happy if their son or daughter chose a career in science


People Value Science

  • Surveys found that S&T ranked 10th of 14 categories of news followed most closely by the public in 2004.
  • In 2004, 83% of Americans surveyed agreed that "even if it brings no immediate benefits, scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government."
  • Opposition to medical research that uses stem cells from human embryos has declined. In 2004, 36% of those surveyed said they were opposed to this type of research, down from 51% in 2002.

Diabetes cure



Heart disease




People Don’t Understand Science

  • Science knowledge in the United States is not improving. Survey respondents' ability to answer most questions about science has remained essentially unchanged since the 1990s (exception: antibiotics).
  • In 2004 surveys, more than half of the respondents agreed that "we depend too much on science and not enough on faith," that "scientific research these days doesn't pay enough attention to the moral values of society."
  • Less than half the American population accepts the theory of evolution.



South Korea







South Korea


Americans believe they should know more.


  • Americans express strong support for science and technology.
  • They are not very well informed about these subjects.
  • Implications?
  • good citizenship
  • evaluate the validity of various claims they encounter in daily life
  • level of government support for research
  • miracle cures (& other mystical or illogical thinking)

Role of Government in the Role of Science in Society

Federal agencies for promoting scientific research and science-based policies:


Environmental Protection Agency

Advisory Committees

Food & Drug Administration

Center for

Disease Control


National Institutes

of Health

Public Policy


Federal Advisory Committee Act

Advisory committees are to be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented” and advice should “not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest.”

Durbin Amendment

Prohibits use of federal funds to ask candidates for appointment to scientific advisory committees to disclose their voting history, political affiliation, or opinions on unrelated political topics.


Restore Scientific Integrity to Federal Research & Policy Making Act (HR 839) 2/16/05


Pandemic flu?

Increased from 1.4-2.4% of budget in 2 years – Road Map Initiatives


Large decrease in non-competing grants

Modest increase in competing grants (+ applications from people with terminating grants in 2007)

Net decrease of 642 grants

Biomedical inflation rate = 3.7%/year

NIMH will pay up to the 10th percentile & half of grants between 11th and 20th percentile


“To keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity… Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science…I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years.”



American Competitiveness Initiative from White House – calls for 7.8% increase in FY2007 for NSF & 14% increase for DOE

AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program:

Overall federal investment in research and development (R&D) would increase to $137 billion in FY 2007 (1.9 % above this year’s funding level; 2.2 % needed to keep pace with projected inflation).

NIH budget would be flat for the second year in a row—with spending power losing ground to inflation—and would fund less than 1 out of every 5 grant applications.


On Monday, February 7th, President Bush submitted to Congress his budget recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2007 (FY 07). In it, he proposes to fund NIH at $28.587 billion, the same funding level as the FY 06 budget. The new budget continues to erode the gains made from the doubling period (1998-2003).


Harkin-Specter Amendment

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)

March 17 2006 – passed in Senate (73-27) – to increase NIH funding by $7 billion (Smith & Wyden voted in favor)

Will it pass in the House? Call your rep!


Other champions

Acknowledges the importance of neuroscience research and Brain Awareness Week (3/17/06)

Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)

After doubling the NIH budget, did we get what we paid for? Let’s not step backwards.

See Brain Research Success Stories (



Scientists have authority

Their work has the potential to positively affect public health

The authority of science may be abused for ideological purposes

Scientists should participate in presenting their knowledge

In this fiscally-competitive environment, we must speak up for neuroscience research



Bobby Heagerty, Paul Cordo, Anthony Oliva, Samantha Chirillo, Rebecca Hammond, Judy Cameron, Lillian Pubols, Jim Newman, Bryan Boehringer, Christa Helms, Ted Benice, Helen Kamens, Tina Gremel, Philippa Bayley, Skyla Herod, Elinor Sullivan, Shane Durrant, Mike Kaplan, Ethan Beckley, James Brady, Lauren Milner, Larry Sherman, Lee Robertson, David Morton, Alex Stevens, Trish Pruis, Kyle Ambert, Ellen Walker, Kristin McCarthy, Matthew McGinley, Adam Miller, Kim Cronise, Raphael Pinaud


Mission Statement(10-26-03)

Informlegislators and other policy makers about new scientific knowledge and recent developments in neuroscience research and their implications for public policy, societal benefit and continued scientific progress.

EducateOregon neuroscientists about the value, relevance, and techniques involved in communicating with elected officials.

Collaboratewith other Oregon organizations, universities, colleges, institutes, and companies to provide a unified and effective voice for promoting neuroscience.

Demonstratethe benefit of neuroscience research to the public through science outreach activities, communication strategies, and other educational opportunities to engage and mobilize their support.


2005 Activities

Capitol Hill Advocacy

Christa Helms, Bobby Heagerty, Helen Kamens, Ethan Beckley, Philippa Bayley, Ted Benice, Tina Gremel, Alex Stevens, Lee Robertson, Elinor Sullivan, Brenda McKee, David Morton, James Brady, Lauren Milner

Ron Wyden

Gordon Smith

David Wu

Peter DeFazio

Earl Blumenauer

Darlene Hooley

Greg Walden


Capitol Hill Day

April 26, June 7, July 26 and September 13

The Capitol Hill Day program seeks to strengthen the communication between scientists and their Representatives in Congress. Participants will also attend a briefing of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. (travel awards!)



Join the Science Advocacy Committee

JSCPP Capitol Hill Day

Call your representative

Educational outreach


2004 Activities

SfN OR Chapter - Salishan

Samantha Chirillo, Rebecca Hammond, Bobby Heagerty,

Paul Cordo, Anthony Oliva

Public Advocacy Panel



Neuroscience Town Hall

Bobby Heagerty, Anthony Oliva, Christa Helms

Neuroscience Research



Neuroscience Town Hall

Bobby Heagerty, Samantha Chirillo

Stem Cells – Oregon Stem Cell Center

Photo by Anne Ryback



Neuroscience Town Hall

Bobby Heagerty, Christa Helms, Trish Pruis

From Bench to Bedside



“First Steps to Translating Your Research”

Judy Cameron – Vollum (2004)

Christa Helms, Rebecca Hammond, Bobby Heagerty, Skyla Herod, Judy Cameron, Jim Newman

Primate Center Advocacy Presentation (2005)

Bobby Heagerty, Ted Benice, Tina Gremel, Skyla Herod, Christa Helms

Neuroscience Graduate Program Advocacy Presentation – Seaside (2005)

Helen Kamens, Philippa Bayley


Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Animal Research


Increase in number and severity of attacks by eco and animal extremists in the last 25 years (2.2.06)

11 indicted on charges including arson, allegedly participating in a campaign of domestic terrorism in five Western states for Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front