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Chamber to Advocate for Federal Research Funding on Capitol Hill

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Elizabeth Cromwell will visit Capitol Hill to advocate for increased federal research grant funding nationwide.

Cromwell will meet with legislators during the Business for Federal Research Funding (BFRF) Coalition’s annual Fly-In to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 7, and Wednesday, May 8.

Cromwell plans to meet with Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Denver Riggleman, as well as elected officials from other states.

“We know that federal research grants create jobs and stimulate economic activity,” Cromwell said. “But the numbers show that federal funding for research and development has declined over the last decade. We need to reverse that trend.”

“What we want to do is bring a variety of people from around the country into each one of those meetings so that we can share with a common voice the importance of having more predictable funding available for federal research,” said Cromwell.

The Charlottesville Chamber recently joined the BFRF coalition, which was formed in 2004 by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. The coalition represents more than 75 members, including the Chambers of Commerce from cities such as Huntsville, Alabama; Charlotte, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, North Carolina; Princeton, New Jersey; Austin, Texas; and Madison, Wisconsin.

“When our colleagues in Boston invited us to join the coalition, we immediately answered the call,” Cromwell said. “As the home of a major research hospital and a deep pool of research-based entrepreneurial ventures, our region understands the vital importance of federal funding to boost the economy and create life-saving medical breakthroughs.”

"With NIH funding, the UVA School of Medicine is advancing the health of Virginia and the nation," said David S. Wilkes, MD, dean of the UVA School of Medicine. "The NIH has supported the development of focused ultrasound to treat essential tremor as well as an artificial pancreas that seeks to automatically monitor and regulate blood-sugar levels for those with Type 1 diabetes.”

“Medical research also supports the economic health of communities across the U.S.,” Wilkes said. “In Virginia alone, NIH funding supported 6,283 jobs and provided more than $1.1 billion in economic activity during fiscal year 2018. That is why it is critical that Congress provides predictable increases in the NIH budget."

Coalition representatives from across the nation will begin their Capitol Hill visit with briefings on the federal budget process by key influencers from the American Association of Universities and United for Medical Research.

The group’s agenda will continue with a roundtable discussion between participating Chamber CEOs and the Federal Representatives of the American Association of Universities.

Finally, participants will embark on a series of scheduled meetings with members of the Appropriations and Ways & Means Committees, as well as regional legislators.

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life in the Greater Charlottesville communities.  Founded in 1913, today the 1,200 Chamber member and affiliate member enterprises employ more than 45,000 people in the Greater Charlottesville region, representing an estimated total payroll of more than $1.9 billion a year.

Business for Federal Research Funding (BFRF) is a nationwide coalition of Chambers of Commerce. The coalition’s goal is to bring heightened focus to the critical impact federal research funding has on economic growth and global competitiveness by engaging in lobbying efforts, raising awareness among key stakeholders, and coordinating strategy to maximize the collective impact of efforts to increase federal research funding. More information can be found at