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Science advocates rally for support

February 23, 2017

Science and engineering advocates are increasingly finding ways to voice their dedication to ensuring that the fields remain open and free of politics. Hundreds of supporters gathered this past weekend at a Rally to Stand Up for Science in Copley Square in Boston, coinciding with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. On its Facebook page, the organizers called upon the scientists attending the conference and others to join in the rally, which was supported by more than a dozen science organizations.

In addition to the rally, there was a similar event in December during the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, and a March for Science is being planned for Earth Day in Washington, D.C. as well as in other cities around the world. Its website notes that the “March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” It goes on to say that recent policy changes have caused “heightened worry among scientists,” and that on April 22 they will “walk out of the lab and into the streets.”

Other, quieter, efforts are also underway to assert the role of science and engineering, and the importance of funding and immigration in those fields. America’s engineering associations, in recognition of the role of immigration in advancing technological innovation in the U.S., released a statement encouraging the administration and Congress to work with all interested parties to ensure the country’s visa and immigration systems “maintain the flow of individuals and ideas upon which our country’s prosperity and progress depend.” And, on Feb. 15 the National Science Foundation and the Coalition for National Science Funding hosted an event on Capitol Hill for new members of Congress and their staff highlighting the significance of federally funded basic research and its tangible results.