OPTION 1 - Science Funding in the FY2018 Budget (in collaboration with RISE Stronger)


The FY18 congressional budget is coming and both the President and Congress are proposing to slash the non-defense side of the budget. Science and research, along with education, infrastructure, national parks and forests, environmental protection, some low-income assistance, public health, and foreign aid are all funded via non-defense discretionary programs, with funding levels set by Congress each year through the appropriations process. In the FY18 budget proposal, non-discretionary spending, including for science and research, is cut to allow for the large increase in defense spending in the administration’s budget proposal.

For additional info, check out the RISE Stronger information page and sign up here if you want to work with RISE Stronger directly. 

Task: 500WS pods will work together to publish op-eds in local newspapers regarding the implications of cuts to science funding in the FY18 budget. Share your collective knowledge, and remember that stories of your experiences doing science may be just as effective as peer-reviewed studies in demonstrating dedication to our research.

Audience: Moderates who are a skeptical about science spending, but read the newspaper, care about their country, and are open to learning and accepting new ideas. These folks care about their communities and how their tax money is spent. They may have misperceptions about what scientists do and how research can improve daily lives. This is an opportunity to demonstrate how our science can impact everyday activities.

Resources on the proposed FY18 science budget cuts

State-by-state impacts of federal funding and cuts:


Why is federal science funding important? Here are some more in-depth reports:


Op-ed Approach: Write about themes likely to resonate with a range of moderate perspectives in your city/region, such as:

  • Science is not partisan - it strengthens our nation, helps the military, is patriotic

  • Science grows the economy, develops new industries, and provides jobs

  • Public/Private funding for science are complementary, when one is cut the other suffers

  • Science saves lives and improves public health

  • Science informed policy “preserves nature,” allows for wild areas for recreation (including hunting and fishing)

  • Science is about self improvement and perseverance -- starting from nothing, finding success through hard work, innovative thinking, and many failures.

  • What does your community care about? How will science cuts affect them specifically?

In general, focus on the positive and avoid arguments that:

  • Demonize certain groups

  • Rely on anti-Trump messages

  • Discuss how/why science is under attack

Beware of potentially sticky themes

  • Anthropogenic climate change, social justice, environmentalism, socialism, etc may cause your desired audience to reject your arguments for visceral or ideological reasons right off the bat. You can of course write about these topics, just remember your audience and craft stories wisely.

*** Join these webinars to get more information from RISE Stronger on the FY18 budget and advice for writing effective op-eds

July 24 - 8 pm EDT/5 pm PDT

July 28 - 1 pm EDT/10 am PDT

Webinar link: join.freeconferencecall.com/rise-science-tech

Call-in number: 641.715.3580 (access code: 609621#)