Science Policy & Funding AGU News

Earth and Space Scientists Converge on Capitol Hill

Earth and space scientists traveled to Washington, D. C., to participate in Geosciences Congressional Visits Day.


There is no questioning the societal value of Earth and space science, yet federal funding for these disciplines in the United States has not grown for nearly a decade. On 16−17 September, Earth and space scientists from 14 science organizations traveled to Washington, D. C., to educate policy makers about the geosciences and ask for strong federal investments in geoscience research during Geosciences Congressional Visits Day.

The Congressional Visits Day participants told members of Congress and their staffs that the geosciences provide the knowledge and assets to meet society’s needs for energy and mineral resources, to maintain and improve environmental quality, and to increase our resilience to climate change and hazards. However, federal funding for the geosciences has stagnated since 2004, with some federal Earth and space science programs even seeing decreased funding over time. This is worrisome to many, considering the shrinking innovation gap between the United States and China and India as well as the increasing tolls from natural hazards and impacts of a changing climate.

AGU believes that communicating the importance of Earth and space science directly to policy makers is an effective strategy to buck the sour funding trend. Annually, a consortium of geoscience-­focused organizations, including AGU, convenes their members in Washington to advocate for strong federal support for the geosciences.

Following a webinar and training workshop, 37 scientists participated in more than 100 meetings with members of Congress and congressional office and committee staff. AGU members Amy Keesee and Margaret Fraiser each shared their accounts of this year’s Geosciences Congressional Visits Day on the AGU blogosphere’s The Bridge (http://​thebridge​.agu​.org).

AGU provides numerous resources and opportunities for members interested in the science and policy interface. Visit AGU’s science policy webpage (http://​sciencepolicy​.agu​.org) to learn about upcoming policy-­relevant events, to sign up for email alerts, or for helpful information about writing or visiting your legislators.

AGU recognizes and thanks the members who participated in the 2014 Geosciences Congressional Visits Day: Susan Buhr, Margaret Fraiser, John Geissman, Lisa Grant-­Ludwig, Patrick Harr, Everette Joseph, Amy Keesee, Ian Kraucunas, David Lindbo, MaryAnn Malinconico, Kevin McCray, Amy Monaghan, John Moore, ­Sadredin Moosavi, Rouzbeh Nazari, J. P. Nicot, Suzanne O’Connell, Michael Passow, Danyal Petersen, Daniel Rothenberg, Dena Smith, Jamon Van Den Hoek, and Deborah Weiser.

—Erik Hankin, Public Affairs Specialist, AGU, email: [email protected]

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