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.
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
The President’s Proposed Federal Budget for FY18
The House Appropriations Bills were released and can be found here
Budget analysis from the RISE Stronger Science & Technology Policy Working Group
Weekly Science and Technology (S&T) policy summaries from weeks 8, 17, and 18 contain breakdowns of the administration's proposed cuts to S&T programs
Citizen’s Guide to the Budget (April 20, 2017) describes the cuts proposed across all areas of government (not just S&T)
Budget analysis from UCS
What’s in Trump’s 2018 budget request for science? (May 23, 2017) Science Magazine
Trump’s budget would slash science programs across the government (May 23, 2017) Scientific American/Nature
Here's Trump's plan to destroy the US science budget (May 23, 2017) The Verge
Federal science funding drops sharply in Trump budget plan (May 24, 2017) Eos
Trump budget seeks huge cuts to science and medical research, disease prevention (May 23, 2017) The Washington Post
AAAS FY 2018 R&D Appropriations Dashboard (updated with latest info)
State-by-state impacts of federal funding and cuts:
Why is federal science funding important? Here are some more in-depth reports:
- Federally Supported Innovations 22 Examples of Major Technology Advances that Stem from Federal Research Support (January 2014), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Future Postponed: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit (April 2015), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream (September 2014), American Academy of Arts & Science
- Want to learn more? Check out our full list of FY18 science budget resources.
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#)