groundwork must be done. Furthermore, he said that the funding does not need to be tied to a particular crisis.
Question: Does the scientific community need a lobby to put pressure on Congress and OSTP?
According to Stiles, members of Congress do not need to have a deep understanding of the field. He said that what matters to them is how it touches the lives of people in their districts. Weber reiterated that the community should not focus all of its attention on Congress but should talk to the executive branch because it makes the initial budget proposal.
Question: We have heard many times that CMMP contributes to prosperity. How can we get the message across that if our government invests in CMMP, our society will get the largest return on the investment?
Stiles asked, “How is Congress getting this message?” He said that someone has to tell people in Congress on an individual level and inform public policy structure—and that information needs to be consistent. Judy Franz, Executive Officer of the American Physical Society, pointed out that the American Physical Society has worked hard to get the message out and that grassroots lobbying is the best way to do this. She added, however, that to be effective it has to be done continuously and making this happen is difficult because the community does not see this activity as an essential part of the life of a scientist.
Weber warned that the community needs to be careful in making economic arguments. He said that it is not possible to say how today's funding of research will impact the economy of the future.
Stiles advised the community to stay close to Congress because Congress can do things by accident that can harm the community, for example, the recent provision that makes data available to the public. He observed that research is becoming a commodity—we are going from a system of grants to one of contracts. Watson added that there is no free lunch in research and that most researchers get their money from the federal government.
Question: What are the statistics on collaborations? Is this a way to get federal funding?
Oosterhuis replied that research on significant problems needs to done by teams. He believes that the problems we currently face are more difficult and require input from diverse sources. He is trying to encourage collaboration at DOE laboratories in areas where it makes sense to do so. He pointed out that the DOE has the PAIR program to encourage these interactions. Weber called attention to the GOALI program at the NSF as an example of a program that encourages collaborations.
Question: How can we convert S. 1305 from an authorization bill to an appropriations bill?
Stiles replied that S. 1305 is a good organizing tool but will not produce more money for science. He said that in the short term, only having Congress declare an emergency or lift the budget caps will accomplish that. He urged the community to ensure that the subcommittees that fund the community's work get all the funding they need. Watson responded that the requests need to get into the Administration' s budget request; otherwise, it will be difficult to get the requests into the final budget. He said that Congress can only “tweak” the numbers around the edges. Furthermore, he said that the community should bear in mind that there are huge numbers of claimants for any pot of money. Because one Congress cannot bind future Congresses, he thinks a large effort at passing “feel-good” legislation is a waste of time and effort.