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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

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U.S. Reps. Frelinghuysen and Holt receive Science Coalition awards

Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro and Rutgers University President Francis L. Lawrence Monday presented U.S. Reps. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11th) and Rush Holt (D-NJ-12th) with the Science Coalition's Champion of Science awards during ceremonies at Rutgers' Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS) in New Brunswick.

The congressmen were recognized for their work in the legislative process in support of the federal agencies that fund scientific research at universities. Princeton and Rutgers are among more than 400 member organizations in the Science Coalition working to expand and strengthen the federal government's investment in university-based scientific, medical, engineering and agricultural research.

Holt, who served as assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory before his election to Congress, is a member of the House Budget Committee overseeing the general federal budget. He successfully secured more than $700 million in additional funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and the Department of Energy in the FY2001 budget.

Holt has been called a "leader for higher education" by the American Association of University Professors and been a outspoken advocate in the fight to improve the teaching of science education in our nation's schools.

Frelinghuysen is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which sets the budgets for federal agencies. Since 1998, he has taken the lead in the support of the NSF. In that year, he successfully offered the Frelinghuysen amendment that added $70 million to the NSF budget. For the last two years, he has also served on the subcommittee that funds the Department of Defense basic research budget. He has been a consistent champion of scientific support in the appropriations process, particularly for NSF and the Department of Defense.

Frelinghuysen also has been instrumental in securing funding for RUNet 2000, Rutgers' project to implement and deploy a comprehensive, advanced information and communication network, and for fusion research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. In this year's budget, he worked with the White House and the secretary of energy to include $248.5 million in the energy budget for the fusion sciences program.

The Champion of Science awards, first presented in 1999, honor members of Congress who have demonstrated strong support for federal funding of basic research. Previous recipients include Sens. Bill Frist, Joseph I. Lieberman and Barbara A. Mikulski, and Reps. Vernon J. Ehlers, Richard Gephardt and Connie Morella.

The award contains an actual "pharmacy on a chip" -- a device developed in university labs that can release powerful chemotherapeutic drugs directly onto tumors. This device represents the interconnectedness of the scientific fields of medicine, electrical engineering, materials science and chemistry that is so important to modern-day discovery.

"We are here today to recognize the importance of scientific research and to honor those who support it on Capitol Hill," said Rutgers' Lawrence. Turning to Frelinghuysen, Lawrence continued, "In recognition of his unwavering efforts on behalf of scientific inquiry at this nation's research universities, it is my pleasure to present this award to our good friend and a true champion of science."

Accepting the award, Frelinghuysen said: "There is nothing more important to our nation's future than our continued research and development of new technologies and medicines, so much of which is done right here in New Jersey. I am honored to be recognized by Rutgers, Princeton and the rest of the Science Coalition for my work in Congress to strengthen our nation's investment in critical research and the sciences. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I remain committed to this important endeavor."

Paying tribute to Holt, Shapiro said, "New Jersey has long provided national leadership in scientific research and technology development, and Rush is helping to extend that tradition into this new century. Drawing on his own experience as a scientist and teacher, he quickly has become one of the Congress' most knowledgeable and effective advocates for university-based research on the frontiers of science and engineering. We are deeply grateful for his determined and effective leadership."

"I am honored that our state's great research universities and the Science Coalition have presented me with this award," said Holt. "I will continue to fight in Congress to advance scientific research because, as a physicist, I know that investments in research and development are driving our nation's growth, economic strength and productivity. Nowhere is that more true than in New Jersey."

To learn more about the Science Coalition, click here .

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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