U.S. Rep Nita Lowey (D-NY) is named a 2013 Champion of Science. (Angel Mojarro)
U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) received the Science Coalition’s Champion of Science Award on Monday in recognition of her commitment to funding the basic research that keeps the United States and New York at the forefront of innovation in science, medicine and technology. The award was presented jointly by officials from three Science Coalition universities, Columbia, NYU, and Pace, at an event at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.
“If only my instructors at Bronx Science could see me become the recipient of a distinguished science award,” said Lowey, looking visibly pleased as she accepted a plaque engraved with her name.
The Science Coalition’s Champion of Science Award recognizes members of Congress whose actions and votes reflect their belief that basic scientific research is essential to the nation’s ability to address pressing issues in health, security, energy and the environment, and that research drives innovation that fuels the U.S. economy. More than 60 current and former members of Congress, including U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, have received the award since 1999.
In her remarks, Lowey criticized members of Congress who remain skeptical about climate change and the importance of climate research. “Scientists here [at Lamont-Doherty] are conducting important research into the effects of climate change, which will help better prepare not just those of us here in New York but others throughout the country for tomorrow’s extreme weather events,” she said. “Unfortunately, some of my colleagues in Congress still have what I would diagnose as an allergy to science. They appear to have an acute reaction to climate scientists. They do not appreciate how important the United States’ scientific leadership is to our country’s global economic competitiveness – and that remaining a leader means we must continue to invest in science.”
Congresswoman Lowey has long supported research in global health and biomedicine. As a longtime member of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, she has fought for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, helping double NIH funding in the 1990s and early 2000s. In addition, Congresswoman Lowey has been a leader in the fight against breast cancer, authoring the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act in 2008. She has also advocated for STEM education initiatives to build a technologically and scientifically advanced future workforce and enhance America’s ability to compete globally.
“We particularly appreciate Representative Lowey's sustained advocacy in the areas of environmental conservation and energy management at a time of profound global change," said Lamont-Doherty director Sean Solomon in a press release announcing the award.
“America’s great research universities are engines of innovation that not only drive our economy, but help solve society’s most urgent problems, from climate change to infectious disease,” said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. “We’re delighted to see Nita Lowey recognized for being a leading voice in Congress for investment in the basic and applied science research that is essential to our national strength and quality of life.”
"We are extremely fortunate to have Congresswoman Lowey representing New York in Congress. She has long understood the direct connection between funding university-based research and the innovation economy," said New York University President John Sexton. "We are hopeful her leadership on the Budget Conference will mitigate the devastating effects that sequestration is having on health and science research."
“I would like to thank Congresswoman Lowey for her leadership and ongoing support in Congress, in particular in the area of higher education research funding, she is a true Champion of Science,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman. “Without her voice it would be a challenge for Pace students, who represent the great middle class of American education and the aspiring heart of America, to assume leadership roles that are essential to creating jobs, stimulating the economy and keeping America competitive.”
“As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Lowey has made federal investments in basic scientific research a priority throughout her career,” said Science Coalition President Tim Leshan of Northeastern University. “Not only has she been a steadfast supporter of biomedical research, but she has consistently supported investments across the spectrum of scientific and engineering research.”