Now and again I urge my US readers to call or write their Congressional delegates (find yours here) to advocate for one science-related topic or another. One of the things that I would encourage you including as part of each and every letter is a statement about the amount of NIH funding that flows into his or her State or District.
So it might be worth a stroll on over to RePORTER to do some quick research on NIH funding by State and Congressional District.
The interactive map is fun, but kind of hard to generate the full picture without a little digging. Nevertheless we can identify the top State recipients of NIH funds for Fiscal Year 2008 rather quickly*. The Magnificent 7 are:
California: $3,151 M(illion)
Massachusetts: $2,252 M
New York: $1,876 M
Pennsylvania: $1,354 M
Texas: $1,074 M
Maryland: $972 M
North Carolina: $931 M
So take a look at your State's NIH allocation and rank and use that to your advantage. In the top-10? Brag on that. In the lower half? Talk about how you need to catch up. Just talk straight up about the dollars and insist that is a significant taxpayer interest. Whatever makes sense when contacting your Senator.
Now we can move on to Congressional Districts. There is no easy way to do this in a comprehensive that I can find so far; I just spot-checked my gut suspicions based on research Universities and the State rankings. Feel free to identify other big-player Congressional districts in the comments (Update: and I'll add them in).
- MA08 (Capuano): $1,584 M (Harvard/H. Med, Bigham and Woman's Hosp, BU/BUMed, Dana Farber Canc Inst, etc)
- NC04 (Price): $802 M (Duke, UNC, RTI, etc)
- CA53 (Davis): $773 M (UCSD, Salk Institute, TSRI, SDSU, Burnham, LJIAI, etc)
- MD07 (Cummings): $763 M (Johns Hopkins, UM Baltimore,
an unusually extensive list of smaller recipients)
- NY14 (Maloney): $639 (Mt Sinai, NYU Med, Rockefeller, Sloan-Kettering, Weill Med (Cornell), etc)
- PA02 (Fattah): $631 M (U. Penn, Child Hosp Penn, Wistar Inst, Drexel U, Fox Chase Canc Cent, etc)
- NY15 (Rangel): $527 M (Columbia Health Sci, Yeshiva U, NY State Psychi Inst, etc)
- PA14 (Doyle): $477 M (U Pitt, Magee-Women's Res Inst, etc)
- TX07 (Culberson): $472 M (Baylor Coll Med, UT Health Sci, UT MD Anderson, etc)
Of course the correlation between where you live and where you work will not be perfect when it comes to Congressional Reps. You may live in a Congressional district adjacent to the one that actually contains your University. No biggie. Just point out that many of the people who work at the local University, such as yourself, live in your Critter's district and that s/he should therefore take an interest in the doings of that constituency**.
* You may wish to Copy the website HTML tables and Paste (Special; as unitext) into Excel and thereafter using the sort function
** Some University websites brag on useful stats such as total number of employees or even some study they once did estimating impact on local economy. These are also good numbers to have in hand and mention every time you call or write a Critter.