Baldwin and Pocan discuss new legislation to support young scientists

At a panel discussion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center on 16 October 2015, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) (far right) and Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) (second from right) highlighted recent bills to help support early-career scientists. UW-Madison researchers (from right to left) Audra Sterling, Barbara Bendlin and Federico Ray shared their stories with the audience. Photo by Kelly Tyrrell, UW-Madison University Communications.

On Oct. 16, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan spoke to a crowd of scientists, graduate students and others at the UW-Madison Waisman Center about a bipartisan bill, called the Next Generation (NextGen) Research Act, aimed at helping young, up-and-coming scientists advance their careers, and advance science.

At the event, described in a UWMadScience blog post, Baldwin and Pocan participated in a panel discussion highlighting the challenges young scientists face, and talked about the potential to effect change. CALS bacteriologist Federico Rey was among the panelists to describe his funding challenges, including how he spent “two of [his] most creative years chasing money” after he first arrived at UW-Madison.

news release from Baldwin’s office explains that the bill would create the “Next Generation Researchers Initiative” within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of the Director to coordinate all current and new NIH policies aimed at promoting opportunities for new researchers and earlier research independence.

Baldwin introduced the Next Generation (NextGen) Researchers Act in the senate in early September. Pocan introduced a companion bill by the same name in the House of Representatives around the same time.