WASHINGTON: The Science Coalition, which represents more than 400 US universities receiving billions of dollars annually in federal funding, recently issued a "request for consideration" to an undisclosed number of public affairs firms.
Details of the size and length of the RFP were not known, though Podesta Group, which has represented the Coalition for the past nine years, last year received about $920,000 from the group, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Science Coalition referred calls for comment to the Podesta Group. Michelle Tessier, head of PR at Podesta, said her firm is rebidding for the work and that a decision on the new agency is expected in "early summer."
While stem cell research has sparked fierce political debate in recent years, the Science Coalition itself is strictly nonpartisan and lobbies for a wide range of other research funding. Tessier said the group has enjoyed strong bipartisan support, including White House backing this year to add $5.9 billion to R&D spending already totaling $137 billion annually.
"It's important to shore up steady support through PR, events, electronic communications, press outreach, and different creative tools," Tessier said. "It encourages our bipartisan champions in Congress to continue the fight for funding."