General invitation to scientists

Dear Colleagues,

As a member of the coordinating committee for March for Science (Greensboro) I would like to extend each of you a personal invitation to join us on April 22nd, 2017 as we march to inform the public concerning the crucial importance of supporting both the scientific method of reasoning and enterprise for the health of our nation and world. The National March for Science includes the Greensboro March which is one of over 400 worldwide and endorsed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)1.

This week, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) released an analysis of the Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget’s impact on scientific research and education2. The Trump budget would increase military spending by 10% to approximately $639 billion dollars. To pay for this increase cuts are projected to occur for the Environmental Protection Agency (-30%), Department of Agriculture (-29%), Department of Energy offices of Science (-16%) and to the National Institutes of Health (-18%).   The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant programs would be cut by $250 million. These programs support coastal and marine research and education. The Sea Grant program, which provides research, education, and extension services, would be eliminated.

At a time when the world is in dire need of advances in scientific research we believe that such cuts could have disastrous consequences. Therefore we will be marching to demonstrate our passion for science and sound a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. The incredible and immediate outpouring of support for the marches has made clear that these concerns are also shared by the support of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

We also reject the mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue. This mistaken view has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, especially when it contradicts their specific political agenda.  We see this as a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

We are people who value science and recognize how science serves the public good. We come from all socially-defined races and ethnicities, all religions, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all abilities, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all political perspectives, and all nationalities. Our diversity is our greatest strength: a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process. What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.

Science is often an arduous process, but it is also thrilling. A universal human curiosity and dogged persistence is the greatest hope for the future. This movement cannot and will not end with a march. The relationship between science and democracy must not continue to erode. The application of science to society is not divorced from politics. Our plans for policy change and community outreach will start with Marches for Science world-wide. In Washington DC there will be a teach-in at the National Mall. Locally we are inviting people to attend a list of science outreach activities scheduled throughout the state. It is imperative that we continue to celebrate and defend science at all levels – from local schools to federal agencies – throughout the world.

The March for Science Greensboro has a Facebook page and website. Please visit these to find out additional ways that you can join in our efforts.  Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me or any other member of the coordinating committee directly.

Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr.

Associate Dean for Research & Professor of Biological Sciences

Joint School for Nanoscience & Nanoengineering

North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Greensboro*

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section G: Biological Sciences

Named to “The Sensational Sixty” commemorating 60 years of the NSF GRFP.

*For identity purposes only, this does not indicate endorsement of either university for the march or associated activities.