Washington, DC, Aug. 8, 2016 –The Science Coalition today presented Champion of Science Awards to Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL). The award is given to members of Congress in recognition of their commitment to funding the basic research that keeps the United States at the forefront of scientific and medical discovery and technological innovation.

The award to Congressman Yoder was presented Monday morning at an event at the KU Cancer Center by University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, along with KU Medical Center Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Doug Girod and Dr. Roy Jensen, Director of the KU Cancer Center. Special guest at the ceremony was Dr. Douglas R. Lowy, Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute.

“Representative Yoder’s critical support for the KU Cancer Center’s successful National Cancer Institute designation effort and his tireless advocacy on behalf of significant additional federal funding for research make him an ideal candidate for this honor,” said Chancellor Gray-Little. “He clearly understands the importance of maintaining America’s role as a leader in scientific innovation, and we appreciate all he does for Kansas and for the nation.”

“I’m honored to receive the Champion of Science Award,” Congressman Yoder said. “Diseases know no political parties or regional differences, they affect us all indiscriminately. That’s why we need to keep fighting to get our researchers every tool they need to find cures. That’s why I’m going to continue to champion this cause so that we can lower the cost of health care for everyone and most importantly, save lives.”

The award to Congressman Foster was presented Monday afternoon before an audience of several hundred physicists during the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Chicago. Representatives from the Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin-Madison presented the award to Rep. Foster, the only Ph.D. physicist in Congress.

In presenting the award, University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said, “Congressman Foster is well-deserving of this award for his efforts to both defend and promote federal investment in scientific research. Rep. Foster’s personal passion for advancing science and innovation—especially energy research and technology development, an area in which the University of Illinois has renowned strengths—is consistently reflected in his committee work, legislative activities, votes and public engagement.”

“As the only PhD scientist in the United States Congress, it is a great honor to receive the Champion of Science Award,” Foster said. “In Congress, I have fought to make sure we invest in the scientific research and training that is vital to our country’s economic growth, public health, and national security. Scientific investment – whether through STEM education in schools or federal funding for scientific research – is a crucial priority for our country. If America wants to lead the world in the discoveries, innovation, and advancements to improve lives, it will be our commitment to science that drives us forward.”

“The Science Coalition has the double honor today of recognizing members of Congress who are leaders in their respective parties’ on behalf of scientific and medical research, each working to ensure that the academic research institutions and national laboratories in their states – and across the United States – have access to the funding that enables education, discovery and innovation,” said Science Coalition President Jack Cline.

The Science Coalition’s Champion of Science Award recognizes members of Congress whose actions and votes consistently reflect their belief that basic scientific research, conducted at universities and national labs across the country, is essential to the nation’s ability to address pressing issues in health, security, energy and the environment, and additionally, that a strong federally supported basic research enterprise drives innovation that fuels the U.S. economy. Representatives Yoder and Foster join a distinguished group of approximately 80 current and former members of Congress who have received this award since 1999.

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