The Science Coalition, an alliance of 413 organizations, institutions and individuals, dedicated to sustaining the federal government's commitment to university-based science research, will begin operating its Web site Oct. 7. That night, from 9 to 11 p.m., there will be an online "chat" on the exploration of Mars. Tom Economu of the University of Chicago and Peter Smith of the University of Arizona will participate. Economu invented the Alpha Proton X-ray, which measures the elements that make up rocks, and Smith is a public investigator and inventor of the imager on the Mars Pathfinder.
The Web site, at http://www.sciencecoalition.org, is now featuring the UI. The site includes information about research at member universities, trends in research, chat rooms and a bulletin board, an index of member universities and a library of research. It also includes information about who to contact in Washington, D.C., to help lobby for continued support of research.
Rick Schoell, director of federal relations in the UI's office of government relations, said UI faculty members can help the coalition's effort to encourage federal support for university research in a variety of ways.
"The UI gets $200 million in federal support for research and development," Schoell said. "What's best to do? Write a letter? Go to Washington? Sure, but we would be better served to find ways to publicize breakthroughs that have occurred with our best and brightest." The UI and other members of the coalition have spent time on Capitol Hill doing demonstrations on what has come out of research at universities. Members of the house and senate have been able to sit down and get hands-on experience with some of the things that have been developed, he said.
"The best thing is giving them an opportunity to get hands-on experience
showing members what we're doing and how it's important in the medical,
engineering and social science fields," he said. He also encourages
faculty members to take positions on major scientific boards and groups
that affect research policies and help to develop national standards.