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Open Call: The Science for Public Good Fund of the Union of Concerned Scientists

Juan Declet-Barreto's picture
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Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), non-profit organization that advocates the use of science to have a healthier and safer planet for all, announces the second round of its "Science for Public Good Fund"



In the first round, Dr. Zulmarie Pérez Horta was awarded a scholarship by UCS, and these funds contributed to the creation of the Puerto Rico Science Policy Action Network (PR-SPAN) and co-supported the event "Ciencia en Acción: Política Pública Puertoriqueña basada en Evidencia" on September 1, 2018 1n Caguas, Puerto Rico.


Below I reproduce the full text of the call, also available here

The Science for Public Good Fund

The UCS Science Network is excited to announce another round of the Science for Public Good Fund for science advocates. Science Network members can apply to the Fund for financial support of up to $1000, to be used for advocacy actions or related events to promote the role of science in public policy, with an emphasis on understanding and addressing local impacts.

If you are an early career scientist looking for ways to get involved with advocacy or a faculty member who wants to engage your students in advocating for the role of science in public policy, this fund is for you. We want to support the next generation of science advocacy leaders today.

What is science advocacy?

Science advocacy plays a key role in advancing public protections and evidence-based decisions—and the Union of Concerned Scientists has been helping scientists contribute to those advances for almost 50 years. Learn more about science advocacy.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be active UCS Science Network members (or must be willing to become members) at time of application. Join the UCS Science Network.

What kind of projects are eligible?

All funded projects will be related to advocating for the role of science in public policy. For example, a project might be focused on hosting trainings on science advocacy followed by a direct advocacy action like writing letters to the editor, meeting with your local representative or Congressmember, working with community organizations to address lead in local drinking water or conducting air quality monitoring and presenting results to an elected official. Awarded proposals will receive a maximum of $1000.

In the past, we have awarded grants covering a wide range of issues and events, including community education events around clean water in Baltimore, trainings for graduate students on submitting public comments in Seattle, and hosting an in-person science advocacy symposium in Puerto Rico. Learn about the first and second round grant recipients.

Priority will be given to proposals that:

  • are led by earlier career scientists (graduate students, post-docs or those within 3 years of graduation)
  • reach new audiences
  • work with impacted communities
  • feature opportunities for project organizers to grow their advocacy skills and leadership
  • come from applicants with a demonstrated financial need

Please review our criteria and rubric and the Science Network statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Examples of appropriate proposals:

  • Hosting a public forum with a decisionmaker on a topic such as legislation or recent attacks on science
  • A letter writing, call-in, or teach-in campaign
  • Attending a national event with a clear plan for local action as follow-up
  • Holding meetings with decisionmakers and/or local community groups, especially with affected communities to build relationships
  • Scientific support for grassroots engagement (e.g. setting up a team to support a community group’s review and participation in public comment periods)
  • Holding a training for conducting meetings with legislators in district
  • Covering travel costs to a local policymaker meeting or to DC to meet with policymakers (with a clear local follow-up plan)
  • Training and logistical support for hosting or participating in a local public forum or town halls with policymakers
  • Holding an educational forum in community or on campus that has a direct action or follow-on engagement
  • Learn about the first and second round grant recipients.

Commitments of grant recipients

  • All actions and events need to be completed and reported on within 2-3 months of receiving the grant
  • Recipients will report back on the use of the funds and will share lessons learned with fellow scientists through avenues such as guest blog posts, online trainings, or other platforms
  • All recipients will remain an active member of the UCS Science Network for 2 years (An active member is one who has taken an action within the last year, attended a training or event, and has not opted out from UCS Science Network emails.)

How to apply:

Eligible applications will include two parts:

  1. An application form submitted through the UCS online submission site
  2. A PDF of your project proposal submitted through DropBox. Use this template and answer all six questions. Through the application process, you will share a detailed project description and proposed budget. Additional materials will not be considered.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted by midnight pacific U.S. time on November 30, 2018.

Notification of Awards: Recipients will be notified by December 2018. We expect to award five grants.

The UCS Science Network wants to spotlight and support the valuable science advocacy work you are undertaking. Let us help you put your science into action!