As scientists across the globe prepare to flood the streets to speak up for research, organizers for the March for Science have expressed their disappointment at the lack of support from the pharmaceutical industry.
The main march is in Washington DC on April 22 but more than 500 associated demonstrations are planned across the world. Organizers hope the events will be “the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies and governments.”
Huge numbers are expected and yet the pharmaceutical industry has been conspicuous by its absence in the build-up. In the UK, Sophie Morgan, organizer of the Bristol March for Science, told The Pharma Letter that, while everybody is giving their time and skills for free, there are essential safety, first aid and technology costs to raise and response from the industry itself has been poor.
She said that “due to the short time frame we have had for organizing the march, we have had to take the initiative to approach companies and groups. However, when we have tried to contact pharma and other large STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) companies we rarely get further than the front desk and struggle to get responses to emails.”
Ms Morgan went on to say that “in the current climate there is a lot of insecurity regarding the future of science and scientific careers, so whilst we’ve engaged with a broad spectrum of the community, we’ve found young people, early in their now uncertain science careers, have really connected with the march ethos.” She added that “beside the obvious recruitment opportunities for pharma, it is the chance to get behind a new generation, and perhaps new more outspoken era, of scientists and say ‘we support you’.”
Ms Morgan concluded by making a final plea to the pharmaceutical industry: “With more than 500 marches taking place across the globe, this is an event that could be quite literally the biggest in the entire history of science. Shouldn’t an industry based entirely on science be part of it?”
- “The War Against Science Hurts All of Us”; http://sco.lt/5EfrHd