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AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 22, Issue 25, December 6, 2021

  • International Workshop Series: How does sharing genetic sequence data impact biodiversity science and conservation?
  • Congress Passes Another Stopgap Funding Bill to Avert Shutdown
  • House Science Committee Chair to Retire
  • Bipartisan Cures 2.0 Bill Would Launch ARPA-H
  • Science Coalitions Urge Congress to Finalize NSF Reauthorization
  • NASEM Seeks Nominations For Public and Ecosystem Health Workshop Panel
  • Prepare Your Resume, Hone Your Interview Skills
  • Apply Now: 2022 Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award
  • Short Takes
    • President Nominates OMB Director
    • Upcoming Webinar to Launch New Arctic Research Plan
    • NSF, NIH to Hold Webinar on Enabling Discovery through Genomics
    • NASEM Gulf Research Program Announces Fellowship Opportunities
  • From the Federal Register
 

The AIBS Public Policy Report is distributed broadly by email every two weeks. Any interested party may self-subscribe to receive these free reports by email.

With proper attribution to AIBS, all material from these reports may be reproduced or forwarded. AIBS staff appreciates receiving copies of materials used. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact the AIBS Director of Public Policy, Jyotsna Pandey, at 202-628-1500 x 225.

 

International Workshop Series: How does sharing genetic sequence data impact biodiversity science and conservation?

With support from the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group are organizing an online workshop series to explore how the international scientific community can study biodiversity in the changing landscape of international policy.  Registration is currently open for the sessions on anthropology, ethnobiology and paleobiology on December 13.

Digging into the Bioethics of Studying Humans, from Culture to the Genome

Date: December 13, 2021
Time: 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM EST or 6:30 - 8:30 PM UTC
Location: Online via Zoom
Hosted by: American Anthropological Association and American Society of Primatologists

As ancestral and modern humans moved around the planet, a multitude of cultures developed as we continued to evolve and undergo natural selection in different environments. Studying humans in all our complexity and diversity – from our cultures and adaptations to our DNA – advances scientific knowledge in ways that will allow us to cope with life on a changing planet. How do scientists studying humans, human ancestors, and primates plan and conduct their research? What ethical practices and standards are there in anthropology, archaeology, primatology, paleoanthropology, biological anthropology, and human genomics that can inspire us all to be better scientists regardless of the species or subject we study? How do these fields relate to the Nagoya Protocol, and how might the Nagoya Protocol influence our research practices?

Learn more and register.

 

Congress Passes Another Stopgap Funding Bill to Avert Shutdown

Lawmakers have averted a government shutdown by passing a second continuing resolution to fund the federal government at fiscal year (FY) 2021 levels through February 18, 2022.  The previous short term funding bill expired on December 3, 2021.

Appropriators have been unable to reach a timely deal on FY 2022 spending bills as a result of the focus on the bipartisan infrastructure package, which was recently signed into law, and the Build Back Better legislation, which has been passed by the House and is currently being considered in the Senate.  The new stopgap measure buys lawmakers additional time to complete work on appropriations.  Lawmakers are hoping to negotiate and pass an omnibus spending package containing all 12 annual appropriations bills over the next 11 weeks.

Operating under continuing resolutions creates uncertainties for agencies and limits their ability to plan for and initiate new programs.  Science agencies are expected to receive significant budget increases in FY 2022 but the multiple continuing resolutions have delayed the allocation of these new funds.      

 

House Science Committee Chair to Retire

Chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), has announced that she will be retiring at the end of her term in January 2023.  Johnson, currently serving her fifteenth term in Congress, is the first Black woman to chair the science panel.  In this role, she has championed increasing federal support for science as well as combating sexual harassment and improving diversity and equity in STEM.  

Johnson has generally sought to work in a bipartisan way to shape science legislation.  In recent years, she partnered with House Science Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) to address a number of challenges facing the scientific community.  Earlier this year, Johnson and Lucas co-sponsored the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Future Act (H.R. 2225), which would make significant new investments in NSF by nearly doubling the science agency’s budget over five years and creating a new technology directorate to enable translational research.  

“There is no one I would rather have as my counterpart across the aisle,” said Lucas in response to Johnson’s retirement announcement.  “Because of her willingness to work across the aisle, we have achieved great things together in her time as chairwoman,” he added.  “We passed the first major overhaul of U.S. energy policy in more than a decade, we worked to make STEM education more inclusive and accessible, and we developed legislation to double down on our investment in research and development so that America can continue to lead the world in science and technology.”

Johnson is the sixteenth House Democrat to announce that they will not seek reelection next year.  If Republicans win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections, Representative Lucas is expected to take over as chair of the science panel.

 

Bipartisan Cures 2.0 Bill Would Launch ARPA-H

Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) have introduced bipartisan legislation to accelerate U.S. biomedical research and expand patient access to novel cures and treatments.  

The Cures 2.0 Act (H.R. 6000) is framed as a follow-on to the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.  The bill would authorize $6.5 billion over three years to establish a new agency, the Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H), within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  ARPA-H—a major priority for the Biden Administration—would be tasked with driving transformational innovation in biomedical and health research and accelerating application and implementation of health breakthroughs.  The health research agency would initially focus on cancer and diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.  Appropriations bills for NIH developed by the House and Senate include $3 billion and $2.4 billion respectively to fund ARPA-H in fiscal year (FY) 2022, contingent upon Congress passing legislation to authorize the agency.

AIBS previously provided comments to the White House and NIH on the scientific framework and research priorities for ARPA-H, highlighting the linkage between biodiversity and human health and stressing the importance of the One Health approach.

H.R. 6000 would also take steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a nationwide study on the implications of long COVID and to develop a national testing and vaccine distribution strategy for future pandemics.

Furthermore, the Cures 2.0 Act also incorporates the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act—a bill that would provide roughly $25 billion across federal science agencies to address pandemic-related disruptions to federally funded research.  The RISE Act, which is also co-sponsored by DeGette and Upton, has been endorsed by more than 300 higher education, research, and industry groups, and associations, including AIBS.

 

Science Coalitions Urge Congress to Finalize NSF Reauthorization Measure

Members of the Science & Technology Action Committee, a nonpartisan coalition of non-profit, academic, foundation, and corporate leaders, and 68 leading institutions, including AIBS, have sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to swiftly conference on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act or USICA (S. 1260) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Future Act (H.R. 2225), and pass a joint bill that includes essential science and technology (S&T) funding.  

The letter calls for the final bill to include a “critical infusion of resources in the S&T enterprise to meet and address societal and global challenges” and the “prioritization of STEM education to ensure a pipeline of well-trained students and researchers and a more diverse STEM workforce.” 

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF)—an alliance of more than 130 professional organizations, scientific societies, including AIBS, universities, and businesses—has also sent a letter to lawmakers urging that the final conferenced bill includes “robust sustainable growth in

authorized funding for both existing NSF programs – including research, education, and infrastructure efforts across all areas of science and engineering – as well as for a proposed new directorate.” 

“Many of the NSF provisions in both House and Senate legislative approaches will require new or changed activities at the Foundation,” reads the CNSF letter.  “We encourage Congress to ensure that the final conference agreement provides the agency with sufficient flexibility to implement these activities, and that appropriations in future years allow growth to fully realize the authorized activities.”

 

NASEM Seeks Nominations For Public and Ecosystem Health Workshop Panel

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is soliciting nominations for committee members to organize a workshop, Integrating Public and Ecosystem Health Systems to Foster Resilience: A Workshop to Identify Research to Bridge the Knowledge-To-Action Gap.  

The workshop will bring together transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners addressing overlapping public and ecosystem health issues to identify opportunities and research needs to better integrate these areas in policy and practice.  The workshop will include discussions about current frameworks and local to global efforts to integrate public and ecosystem health, key elements needed in a knowledge-to-action research agenda on this topic, and ways in which an actionable research agenda could be advanced.

Nominations are sought for committee members with broad expertise in public health, conservation, sustainable development, climate change, ecosystem ecology, environmental science, veterinary health, social and behavioral sciences, and communication. Nominations are due December 10, 2021.  Learn more.

 

Prepare Your Resume, Hone Your Interview Skills

Registration is open for the Employment Acquisition Skills Boot Camp for Scientists, an online professional development program from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate programs in the United States do an excellent job of preparing students for careers in academia. As early career professionals and a growing number of reports note, however, many recent STEM graduates (including those with advanced degrees) are interested in employment in sectors beyond the professoriate by the time they complete their degree.

Scientists continue to report that they feel ill-prepared and ill-equipped to pursue employment in these settings.

To help scientists identify and successfully transition into the careers they desire, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) developed a program to help scientists hone and practice the skills needed to secure employment. AIBS’s Employment Acquisition Skills Boot Camp for Scientists is an intensive multi-day program that blends asynchronous modules, live lecture, and hands-on exercises. Designed by scientists with years of work experience in diverse settings and a career coach, this program provides graduate students to senior scientists with the information, tools, and resources required to successfully identify and secure employment in a diversity of careers, including science policy, communications, researchers or program managers in the private sector, research funding organizations, non-profit management, international development, government agencies, and others.

Course participants will:

  • Identify and clarify career interests and opportunities by reviewing currently available jobs;
  • Learn to communicate their knowledge and skills to employers by providing tools and activities;
  • Develop strategies for finding employment;
  • Develop application materials with feedback from instructors;
  • Prepare for and practice different interview styles and scenarios.

Current graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and scientists interested in transitioning to a new employment sector should consider signing up.

This course will be offered online in three live sessions, each three hours long, conducted on February 11, February 18, and February 25, 2022 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern Time. In addition, participants will be asked to review short pre-recorded modules asynchronously.

For more information, including a general program agenda, and to register, please visit our website

 

Apply Now: 2022 Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award

Are you a science graduate student looking to make a difference in science policy and funding? The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is now accepting applications for the 2022 Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award. This award recognizes graduate students in the biological sciences who are demonstrating an interest and aptitude for working at the intersection of science and policy.

Recipients of the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award receive:

  • A trip to Washington, DC, to participate in the AIBS Congressional Visits Day, an annual event where scientists meet with lawmakers to advocate for federal investment in the biological sciences, with a primary focus on the National Science Foundation. The event will be held over three days in the spring of 2022 (likely in March or April). Domestic travel and hotel expenses are paid for the winners.
  • Policy and communications training, including information on the legislative process and trends in federal science funding, and how to engage with policymakers and the news media.
  • Meetings with congressional policymakers to discuss the importance of federal investment in the biological sciences.
  • A one-year subscription to the journal BioScience.

The 2022 award is open to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents enrolled in a graduate degree program in the biological sciences, science education, or a closely allied field. Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to science policy and/or science education policy. Prior recipients, including Honorable Mentions, are not eligible for the award.

Applications are due by 05:00 PM Eastern Time on January 19, 2022. Learn more about how to apply.

 

Short Takes

  • President Biden has nominated Shalanda Young to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees the performance of federal agencies, including science agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and sets and administers the federal budget, including federal science spending.  Young is a former House Appropriations Committee Staff Director, who currently serves as Deputy Director and acting head of the OMB.  Biden had previously nominated Neera Tanden to lead the OMB but withdrew her nomination after getting bipartisan pushback.  Biden has also nominated Nani Coloretti, a former Deputy Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to serve as Deputy Director at OMB.  Both positions require Senate confirmation.
  • The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) is set to release the Arctic Research Plan 2022-2026 this month.  The new research plan builds from the 2017-2021 plan, and outlines a bold five-year vision for federal agencies to address emerging research questions in the Arctic.  A webinar to launch the new plan will be held on December 16, 2021 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST.
  • The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host an informational webinar on December 9 at 2:00 PM EST about the Enabling Discovery through GEnomics (EDGE) interagency program solicitation (21-546).  Following a brief presentation, program directors from NSF and NIH will be available to answer questions from participants.
  • The National Academies’ Gulf Research Program (GRP) is now accepting applications for its Science Policy Fellowship program, which helps scientists hone their skills by putting them to practice.  Fellows gain first-hand experience as they spend one year on the staff of federal, state, local, or non-governmental environmental, natural resource, oil and gas, and public health agencies in the Gulf of Mexico region.  Applications must be submitted by March 2, 2022.  GRP is also accepting applications until January 12, 2022 for its Early-Career Research Fellowship (Track 1: Human Health and Community Resilience).  Learn more.
 

From the Federal Register

The following items appeared in the Federal Register from November 22 to December 3, 2021. 

Commerce

Environmental Protection Agency

Health and Human Services

Interior

National Science Foundation

 

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity organization that advances the biological sciences for the benefit of science and society. AIBS works with like-minded organizations, funding agencies, and political entities to promote the use of science to inform decision-making. The organization does this by providing peer-reviewed or vetted information about the biology field and profession and by catalyzing action through building the capacity and the leadership of the community to address matters of common concern.

Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, AIBS has over 100 member organizations and has a Public Policy Office in Washington, DC. Its staff members work to achieve its mission by publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience, by providing scientific peer-review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients, and by collaborating with scientific organizations to advance public policy, education, and the public understanding of science.

Website: www.aibs.org.

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