Call to action: Request increased funding for research
Dear CSMB Members,
Today I am contacting you to request your active involvement in the society’s advocacy work aimed at obtaining increased support for curiosity-driven basic research. Increased funding would be beneficial for all our members, for principal investigators as well as for postdoctoral researchers and for students who are particularly vulnerable in the currently fragile situation of funding for research. Before the holidays, I have written letters to the Prime Minister of Canada, to the Ministers of Finance, Health and Industry as well as to the leaders of the opposition parties and the critics for science and technology. In these letters the CSMB is requesting increased support for NSERC and CIHR as well as for the indirect cost program financing research activities at Universities; you will find the link to these letters on our website.
Will these letters be answered? We have received some encouraging feedback, but I am certain that they will not make much of an impression if these are the only communications the politicians receive on this topic. This is where your implication would make a difference! This initiative will only succeed if the politicians we address feel that the expressed views correspond to concerns many citizens and voters have. Remember, most politicians are decent people dedicated to public service and to our country, but they are in the business of being elected and they will only listen if many speak up on a particular issue.
What kind of letter or email you write is of course entirely at your discretion. You could endorse or paraphrase this letter. Even better, you could describe, using concrete examples, how the limited amount of research funding affects your life, your career or your future plans. Speak from a personal perspective! Explain the importance of consistent and sufficient funding, especially in terms of discovery, training the next generation of Canadians and how the public will DIRECTLY benefit from the research. Explain how the stagnation of funding for research has impacted your laboratory/students and how this will negatively impact future development of new technologies / new treatments for Canadian patients. If you are a student wanting to succeed in science, you have even more reasons to participate and why don’t you ask your family and relatives to also write a letter?
We suggest that you write to one of the politicians on our list and/or to your local member of parliament and to the presidents of the political parties. Some of us may be better placed here and we believe that it would make a big difference if CSMB members in Western Canada wrote to elected members of government in their area. Those of us in Eastern Canada will also have choices among members of government, but we should not forget members of the opposition who hope to form the next government.
I realize that this message is focused on advocacy, but this is not the only thing the society is doing as you can see in the President’s letter. Advocacy for increased research funding is our number one priority. The board believes that we will succeed if you help us, and thereby yourself, by writing one or two letters or emails and if you motivated others to do the same.
To help us continue our work in your interest we would greatly appreciate if you renewed your membership, and even more so, if each of you motivated one or two of your fellow students or colleagues to join the CSMB. Having more members would give us more authority to speak up in your name. Thank you for your consideration.
Professor and Chair, Université de Montréal
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
President of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences