Scientists in the UK got political this week, staging a mock funeral for science at 10 Downing Street to protest what they see as unfair funding regulations. The march was organized by a new science lobbying group called Science for the Future. But too few researchers are willing to engage in politics, even though they should, says The Guardian's Adam Smith. Jon Spiers, former policy and campaign manager at Cancer Research UK, tells Smith that "the average scientist doesn't appreciate how policy is made or, therefore, how they can influence it."
So, Smith says, researchers need to get political if they want to make sure that their interests are taken into consideration when policy is made. Some researchers stay quiet because they're worried their funding will be in jeopardy if they protest, while others are too busy with publishing papers or getting grants to have time to participate in the political process, Smith says. But, he adds, "Like it or not, scientists, sometimes you have to swap the pipette for the placard."