A contingent of science and engineering graduate students from MIT will deliver a petition in support of research funding to members of Congress on Tuesday, March 27, as part of Stand With Science, an effort to bring together America's science and engineering graduate community and add their voice to the ongoing discussion about the federal deficit.
"Stand With Science has drafted a letter to the members of Congress, urging them to maintain science and engineering funding as a national priority," says Samuel Brinton, one of the Stand With Science founders. "With little more than word of mouth, this message has moved throughout the country, with over 10,000 graduate students, grad school alums and other supporters of innovation signing the letter. At a time when Congress is considering major budget cuts, we have mobilized the scientific community to protect critical federal investments that drive economic growth and keep America globally competitive."
Over half a million graduate students and postdoctoral associates study science and engineering in the United States. "These researchers form the bedrock labor force of the world's best university R&D community." Brinton says. "Federal research funding is essential to graduate education because research is our education." More than 60 percent of university research is federally funded; private industry accounts for only 6 percent of university research.
"Stand With Science urges Congress to find common ground to preserve the indispensable investments in science and engineering research that will drive our nation's prosperity for generations," Brinton says. In Massachusetts alone, losses of more than $680 million in federal research funding could occur in 2013. A cut of 9 percent to the total budget of $7.7 billion for research support could severely damage the sustainability of world-class research being performed at the nation's best universities.
The group plans to meet with the Massachusetts delegation and other key members of Congress and congressional staff during the day of action.