Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) are the recipients of the 2012 Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) Award.  The honor is given to congressional leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing science policy and research.

“Our community of biological scientists greatly appreciates the years of leadership by Representatives Wolf and Fattah in advocating for the research dollars needed to address national challenges, help our nation to remain globally competitive, and equip our young people for the science and technology jobs of the future,” said Nadine Lymn, co-chair of BESC and director of public affairs for the Ecological Society of America.

Representatives Wolf and Fattah have led the effort in recent years to sustain federal investments in critical research programs.  Representative Wolf, a Republican representing the 10th district of Virginia, chairs the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.  Representative Fattah, a Democrat from the 2nd district of Pennsylvania, is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee.  Last year, they worked together to press for and secure federal support for the National Science Foundation and other science agencies.

Representative Wolf was among the members of Congress that called for the National Academies to make recommendations to Congress about how the United States could regain its global leadership in science-driven innovation and competitiveness.  This effort led to the publication of the “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report, which sparked a national effort to strengthen U.S. research and education programs.  The Congressman is also responsible for the generation of a recent report by the National Science Foundation on best practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.  In the 110th session of Congress, Wolf sponsored a bill that would have attracted more students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Representative Fattah is a strong supporter of neuroscience research.  Last year, he successfully led the effort for the creation of an interagency working group to coordinate federal investments in neuroscience research.  The Congressman is also very supportive of STEM education.  Last year, he co-organized an event in Philadelphia for the rollout of the National Science Foundation report on best practices in STEM education.  Representative Fattah also has worked to increase minority participation in STEM fields.

“Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Fattah have been powerful and steadfast advocates for scientific research, particularly at the National Science Foundation,” said BESC co-chair Robert Gropp, director of public policy at the American Institute of Biological Sciences.  “They both appreciate that research drives innovation, informs solutions for global problems, and will contribute significantly to our nation’s economic recovery.”

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is a member of the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC), an alliance of organizations united by a concern for every aspect of the biology of the natural world, from agricultural systems to zoology.  BESC supports the goal of increasing the nation’s investment in the non-medical biological sciences across all federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  Please visit www.esa.org/besc.