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AIBS Public Policy Report

AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 23, Issue 12, June 6, 2022

  • Meet with Your Lawmakers This Summer and Help Inform Science Policy
  • AIBS Submits Testimony in Support of FY 2023 Funding for NIH
  • OSTP Issues Guidance on Public Access to Federally Funded Research Data
  • Senate Confirms EPA Research Nominee
  • DOE Launches Science Workforce Diversity Initiative
  • U.S. Global Change Research Program Requests Input on Draft Decadal Strategic Plan
  • Increase Your Career Opportunities: 2022 Writing for Impact and Influence Course
  • Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest
  • Short Takes
    • Job Openings at NSF
    • HHS Launches Environmental Justice Office
    • SPNHC Education DemoCamp: Presenter Registration Deadline Extended
  • 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.

 

Meet with Your Lawmakers This Summer and Help Inform Science Policy

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2022 Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event. 

Now in its 13th year, this national initiative is an opportunity for biologists across the country to meet with their federal or state elected officials to showcase the people, facilities, and equipment that are required to support and conduct scientific research.  This initiative helps to put a face on science and to remind lawmakers that science is happening in their district and state.

The Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event enables scientists, graduate students, representatives of research facilities, and people affiliated with scientific collections to meet with their federal or state elected officials without traveling to Washington, DC.  Participating scientists can meet with their elected officials at the local district office, virtually, or may invite them to visit their research facility.

“I am grateful for the experience, which has enriched my professional development. I am particularly pleased to think that we started a conversation with Rep. Joyce Beatty’s office that will continue in the future. I encourage everyone to reach out beyond their scientific community, which includes explaining your science to your district offices.”

- Coralie Farinas, Graduate Student, Ohio State University

AIBS will once again organize the event this summer and fall in a hybrid format, with options for both virtual as well as in-person meetings and tours where feasible.  AIBS will schedule participants’ meetings with lawmakers and will prepare participants through online training and one-on-one support.  Meetings will take place mid-July through October, depending on the participant’s schedule and their lawmaker’s availability.

This event is made possible by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, with the support of event sponsors American Society of Primatologists, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, Helminthological Society of Washington, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Paleontological Society, Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, and Society for the Study of Evolution.

Registration for participation is free, but required and closes on July 15, 2022.  To learn more and register, visit io.aibs.org/cdv.  

 

AIBS Submits Testimony in Support of FY 2023 Funding for NIH

AIBS has provided testimony to the House Appropriations Committee regarding fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

AIBS urged Congress to provide NIH with a base budget of at least $50 billion in FY 2023, arguing that this level of funding is needed to “advance research on infectious disease emergence and transmission, prevent future pandemics, and fill gaps in our knowledge about the spread and evolution of biological threats.”

AIBS further requested that any additional funding to support the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) should supplement, not supplant, the $50 billion request for the world’s largest public funder of biomedical research. “The new agency charged with supporting transformative high-risk, high-reward research must complement, and not interfere with, NIH’s commitment to funding basic research.”

Read the testimony.

 

OSTP Issues Guidance on Public Access to Federally Funded Research Data

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has published new guidance for federal agencies to improve public access to federally funded research data.

According to the White House, the mechanisms of collection, maintenance, and sharing of federally funded research data is inconsistent across agencies.  In particular, while many federal science agencies have developed plans that identify publicly accessible online data repositories for researchers to use, “there is no consistent guidance for how these agencies can support common expectations about the sharing of those data.”

Some agencies designate specific repositories to be used for particular types of data or research, but for much of federally funded research, the selection of an appropriate repository is left to the researcher or their institutions.  And the information agencies provide to assist researchers in the selection of suitable repositories varies across the government. 

The new report, “Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research,” developed by the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Open Science, aims to improve uniformity across the federal government in the instructions they provide to researchers about selecting suitable repositories for federally funded research data.  It identifies a set of desirable characteristics of online, public access data repositories “to help ensure that research data are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) to the greatest extent possible, while integrating privacy, security, and other protections” for repositories storing human data.

Agencies are now tasked with using this guidance to provide more consistent information about sharing federally funded data with the public to the research communities they support.  The White House expects that this guidance will be updated “as new modes of data storage and management emerge and agency needs evolve.”

 

Senate Confirms EPA Research Nominee

On May 25, the Senate voted 51-43 to confirm Dr. Christopher Frey—an expert in environmental science and engineering—as Assistant Administrator for the Office and Research and Development (ORD) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The ORD had been without a Senate-confirmed leader for more than a decade.

In this role, Dr. Frey will also serve as the Agency Science Advisor.  Prior to his confirmation, he had been serving as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science Policy in ORD since the beginning of the Biden Administration. 

Dr. Frey previously served as a faculty member at North Carolina State University, where he conducted research on human exposure to air pollution.  He has served in numerous roles at the EPA, including as an American Association for the Advancement of Science/EPA Environmental Science and Engineering Fellow in 1992.  He also served as exposure modeling advisor in ORD’s National Exposure Research Laboratory and on a number of science advisory panels, including the EPA Science Advisory Board, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel.

Dr. Frey has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.  He earned his Ph.D. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

 

DOE Launches Science Workforce Diversity Initiative

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it will invest $40 million in a new program within its Office of Science to expand research training opportunities for historically underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

The Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) initiative—first proposed under the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request—aims to diversify the physical and climate sciences by providing internships, training programs, and mentor opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and other research institutions.  Of the total planned funding of $40 million, $22 million will be allocated from the FY 2022 budget, while the rest will be contingent on future congressional appropriation.

“This investment will provide hands-on experience to our nation’s future scientists to unlock the climate solutions that hold the key to a safer and cleaner future for all Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

Through the Office of Science’s national laboratories, user facilities, and other research infrastructure, RENEW will provide training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty at “academic institutions currently underrepresented in the U.S. science and technology ecosystem.”   The program will also benefit students from “communities with environmental justice impacts.”

DOE has announced six funding opportunities under RENEW focused on: Biological and Environmental Research, Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, and Isotope R&D and Production.  The Office of Science is holding a series of public webinars for potential applicants to learn more about each of these opportunities.  The webinar for the funding opportunity focused on earth and environmental sciences is scheduled for June 13, 2022 at 4:00 PM ET.

 

U.S. Global Change Research Program Requests Input on Draft Decadal Strategic Plan

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is requesting comments on its draft Decadal Strategic Plan.

USGCRP, which coordinates and integrates climate change research across 13 federal agencies, seeks feedback on program priorities and accompanying narrative in the strategic pillar sections.  Respondents are encouraged to consider (i) ideas on emerging, large-scale scientific questions related to global change and/or societal response, especially those where interagency collaboration will be critical; (ii) specific information on how science is or is not being used to inform societal response to global change, and why; and (iii) knowledge gaps and obstacles to implementing scientific tools or knowledge.

Registration via the USGCRP Review and Comment System is required to access and review the draft.  The deadline to submit comments is 11:59 PM ET on July 15, 2022.

 

Increase Your Career Opportunities: 2022 Writing for Impact and Influence Course

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is once again offering its popular professional development program to help scientists and students hone their written communication skills to increase the power of their message.

Writing for Impact and Influence provides practical instruction and hands-on exercises that will improve the participant’s general writing proficiency. The program will provide participants with the skills and tools needed to compose scientific press releases, blog posts, memoranda, and more, with a focus on the reader experience. Each product-oriented session will have an assignment (deadlines are flexible), with feedback from the instructor. The course is interactive, and participants are encouraged to ask questions and exchange ideas with the instructor and other participants.

Learn to write for stakeholders, decision-makers, and the general public, with a focus on perfecting the reader experience.

Who Should Take the Course?

  • Individuals interested in furthering their professional development by augmenting their writing skills.
  • Graduate students and early-career professionals interested in increasing their marketability to employers.
  • Individuals interested in more effectively informing and influencing segments of the public, supervisors, policymakers, reporters, organizational leaders, and others.

The course consists of six 90-minute online modules conducted live and will begin on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, with subsequent course sessions held weekly on Wednesdays, through August 17.  Individuals who actively participate in and complete the full course will receive a certificate recognizing that they have completed a nine-hour professional development course on business writing for scientists.

Register now.

 

Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest

Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest for a chance to win $250 and to have your photo appear on the cover of the journal BioScience.

The competition recognizes scientists who use imagery to communicate aspects of biological research to the public and policymakers.  Once again, this year's competition is sponsored by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in addition to the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

“Art and science are inextricably linked to effective communication,” said Scott Glisson, Chief Executive Officer of AIBS.  “This contest provides a forum for expression, inspiration, and technical skill. The creativity involved is magnificent.”

The theme of the contest is “Faces of Biology.”  Photographs entered into the competition must depict a person, such as a scientist, technician, or student, engaging in biological research.  The depicted research may occur outside, in a lab, with a natural history collection, on a computer, in a classroom, or elsewhere.

The winning photo from the 2021 contest was featured on the cover of the April 2022 issue of BioScience.

Submissions must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2022.  For more information or to enter the contest, visit our website.

 

Short Takes

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is hiring for the position of Division Director of the Division of Earth Sciences within the Geosciences Directorate.  Deadline to apply is July 8, 2022.  The agency is also hiring a Deputy Office Head and a Communications Specialist for the Office of International Science and Engineering.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established an Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) within the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity to “better protect the health of disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations on the frontlines of pollution and other environmental health issues.”  The new office will serve as an HHS-wide hub for environmental justice policy, programming, and analysis aimed at addressing pollution disparities.  The OEJ is currently seeking public input on a draft outline to further the development of the 2022 HHS Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan that will identify priority actions and strategies to address environmental injustices and health inequities.  Deadline to submit comments is June 18, 2022.
  • AIBS is partnering with the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections in hosting a virtual Natural History Collection Education DemoCamp over Zoom on June 22-23, 2022.  The goal is to share, discover, and discuss educational materials that have a framework in natural history.  Presenter registration deadline has been extended to June 6 and general attendee registration will remain open up until the event.  If you have any questions, please contact educationdemocamp@gmail.com.
 

From the Federal Register

The following items appeared in the Federal Register from May 23 to June 3, 2022. 

Agriculture

Commerce

Energy

Environmental Protection Agency

Health and Human Services

National Science Foundation

Office of Science and Technology Policy

 

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 more than 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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