ASTC asks Congress for increased support for science engagement

As part of our ongoing efforts to champion public engagement with science and to build greater support for science engagement activities and institutions, ASTC submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Committee calling for increased funding at a range of federal agencies. ASTC was joined on our testimony by other national museum organizations including the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), and Association of Science Museum Directors (ASMD).

Our testimony was directed at two appropriations subcommittees which set the annual appropriations for agencies of interest to our community:

Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Oversight of appropriations for National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Testimony submitted by ASTC, AAM, ACM, ASMD

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Oversight of appropriations for National Institutes of Health, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and U.S. Department of Education

Testimony submitted by ASTC, ACM, ASMD

Testimony from ASTC and the other associations made the case for the critical need to support science engagement activities and organizations, including the essential work conducted by science centers and museums in communities across the country.

As trusted place-based institutions, our members serve essential roles in convening their communities, advancing action on issues of local and national concern, and engaging individuals of all ages in science and technology.

Overall, we emphasized the need for inclusive programs that include support for informal education and stressed the importance of public engagement as a core element of scientific research programs across the federal government:

Our testimony requested increased funding for the agencies and programs of interest to our community and amplify requests included in the asks for Museums Advocacy Day:

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
    • At least $65.5 million for the Office of Museum Services
    • Continue to strengthen structural support for a museums Grants to States program
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    • At least $150 million for Office of STEM Engagement, including at least $20 million for the Teams Engaging Affiliate Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) program
    • At least $48 million for the Science Activation program
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • At least $25 million for the Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA)
    • Incorporate public engagement with science in initiatives that have significant public impact
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    • At least $38 million for the Office of Education
    • Support for NOAA’s public engagement with science across its offices and programs
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • At least $75 million for the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program
    • Increased funding for directorates that support museum research, collections, and programs
    • Support for continued analysis and refinement of the broader impacts criterion
  • U.S. Department of Education
    • Increase of $750 million for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers to a budget of $2.09 billion

We encourage you to amplify these asks in your outreach to your Members of Congress.

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