Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Research!America Annual Events

Research!America's Advocacy Awards Dinner surprise dessert
Photo credit: Jen Moran

Yesterday Research!America held a series of annual events including our 2009 National Forum: Science in the Service of the Nation and Advocacy Awards Dinner. This is big news at New Voices for a couple of reasons. First, because the New Voices for Research initiative was officially launched. Hooray!

Secondly, all of the regular New Voices contributors helped organize and attended the events. So, we thought it might be nice to share a little bit about what we've been working on (outside of New Voices) and some of the key moments from yesterday.

FlyGal's scientific perspective on the National Forum:
It was exhilarating to be at the event and hear so many stalwarts of science share their thoughts. The most exciting thing for me was the enthusiasm in the community for science and research. It was refreshing to hear that research should be viewed as an investment rather than as an expense.The consensus was that this is the time to build new partnerships and invest in human capital. I wanted to get up and cheer when Dr. Kington (acting head of NIH) said that we have to send a clear signal to young people that they have a future in science. He said that when a young person gets excited about science, it increases society's investment portfolio. It was so inspiring to hear the leaders of the research community talk about investing in the investigators of tomorrow.

Emily Norton's view as an advocate:
The Advocacy Awards Dinner was a magnificent success. All seven award winners were brilliant, inspiring individuals that have passionately advocated for science and research in unique ways. The energy in the room was electric; it was easy to see that everyone is excited to welcome a new era for science in the United States.

Dr. C. Everett Coop, former U.S. Surgeon General, was presented with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership for his longstanding dedication to health advocacy. He had a strong presence on the stage as he said “No brick of this hospital was placed, no care of a patient was planned… without the knowledge…that the problem has to go through the crucible of research. We will never attain the potential in this country until we recognize that without research it just doesn’t work.”

Heather's take from behind the scenes:
Being part of planning for huge events like this can be overwhelming and time consuming. But, like most things that take a lot of upfront effort, the end result is so much more satisfying. It also helps you remember what a team effort event planning can be. Being the point of contact for heads of government agencies and multi-national corporations can be a heady position, but nothing would run without the people responsible for coordinating nametags or media outreach.

We had a last minute panelist substitution and at least five members of the staff rallied to prepare for the new panelist - not to mention his willingness to step up and serve on a panel with 10 minutes notice! It would not have been possible without good team dynamics and strong relationships built beforehand.

We'll keep giving you tips on planning events (like we did here and here), but my take-away from yesterday's whirlwind was definitely that nothing makes event planning easier than solid upfront organization and a magnificent team of people supporting the effort.

For more coverage of the National Forum and Advocacy Awards, check out:

1 comment:

  1. Beatriz A. SantillanMarch 30, 2009 at 7:11 PM

    It was a beautiful event full of distinguished scientists and public servants. I was glad that we had the opportunity to mingle with such diverse yet like-minded people. Kudos for the wonderful event.