AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 24, Issue 10, May 8, 2023
- Biologists Visit Congress as Part of AIBS Advocacy Event
- Rochelle Walensky Steps Down as CDC Director
- House Science Panel Introduces Bipartisan DOE Research Coordination Bills
- NSF Seeks Input on New Research Security, Integrity Organization
- New AIBS Report on Biological Sciences in the President's FY 2024 Budget
- Societies Submit Joint Comments on NIH's Public Access Policy
- AIBS Signs Letter Urging Support for Research Facilities in Farm Bill
- SPNHC Natural History Education DemoCamp: Register Now
- Enter the 13th Annual Faces of Biology Photo Contest
- Short Takes
- Resources on NSF’s Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Requirement
- Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Prevent Sexual Harassment at NOAA
- NSF Requests Input to Develop Roadmap for TIP Directorate
- NOAA Seeks Nominations for Science Advisory Board
- From the Federal Register
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Biologists Visit Congress as Part of AIBS Advocacy Event
Biological scientists from across the country were in Washington, DC, on April 24-26, 2023, to participate in the AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists and Congressional Visits Day. After being held virtually in 2021 and 2022, this annual event returned to an in-person format in 2023.
Following a two-day communications and advocacy training program, scientists headed to Capitol Hill where they spent April 26 meeting with their members of Congress. The meetings provided participants with an opportunity to put into practice what they had learned in the training program, while also advocating for increased federal funding for scientific research. Participants talked with their elected officials about the need for Congress to appropriate at least $11.9 billion to the National Science Foundation in FY 2024, and some also discussed the importance of new investments in other science agencies. Overall, 38 meetings took place between scientists and congressional offices.
AIBS member societies, including American Society of Mammalogists, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for the Study of Evolution, and University of Florida, sponsored the participation of a number of scientists. Recipients of the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award also attended.
Rochelle Walensky Steps Down as CDC Director
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), submitted her resignation last Friday, saying the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic was a good time to make a transition. She led the CDC for a little over two years.
“Dr. Walensky leaves CDC a stronger institution, better positioned to confront health threats and protect Americans. We have all benefited from her service and dedication to public health, and I wish her the best in her next chapter,” said President Biden. He thanked Walensky for leading “a complex organization on the frontlines of a once-in-a-generation pandemic with honesty and integrity.”
Dr. Walensky is an experienced HIV researcher and infectious diseases physician. Prior to her role at the CDC, she served as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Walensky will officially leave her office on June 30. An interim director has not been named yet.
House Science Panel Introduces Bipartisan DOE Research Coordination Bill
The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology have introduced bipartisan legislation to improve collaborations between the Department of Energy (DOE) and other science agencies.
H.R. 2980, sponsored by the science panel’s Research and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Representative Jim Baird (R-IN), would enhance research coordination between DOE and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The DOE and NSF Interagency Research Act would authorize collaborative research in a number of areas, including advanced physics, fusion science, biological and computational science and engineering, artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences, advanced manufacturing technologies, and microelectronics. It would promote collaboration and data and information sharing between agencies, national labs, higher education institutions, and nonprofits. Additionally, it would enable collaborations on STEM education and workforce development initiatives.
H.R. 2988 would support cross-cutting and collaborative research between DOE and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), including to enable a future mission to Mars. The DOE and NASA Interagency Research Coordination Act is sponsored by the Energy Subcommittee Chair Brandon Williams (R-NY) and Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Eric Sorensen (D-IL).
The committee previously approved similar measures to authorize collaborations between DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (H.R. 1713) and between DOE and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (H.R. 1715).
NSF Seeks Input on New Research Security, Integrity Organization
The Office of the Chief of Research Security Strategy and Policy (OCRSSP) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) is soliciting input from the research community on the creation of a Research Security and Integrity Information Sharing Analysis Organization (RSI-ISAO), as mandated by the CHIPS and Science Act.
The RSI-ISAO is tasked with empowering the U.S. research community to address foreign interference issues, support a security-informed decision-making structure, and serve as a conduit that connects research community stakeholders with government officials and expertise as needed. Importantly, the organization is meant to reduce administrative workloads and provide researchers with tools and other capabilities not typically available to them.
NSF requests input along six thematic areas: current research security and integrity issues; informational resources needed by the research community; prioritization of RSI-ISAO’s duties; integration of RSI-ISAO’s duties with existing organizational processes; benefits from RSI-ISAO’s resources; and RSI-ISAO’s potential liaison role. Responses should be limited to 2-3 pages and submitted to RSI-ISAO@nsf.gov by June 30, 2023. The feedback will be used to inform the development of the RSI-ISAO to ensure the products, services, and tools provided by the organization align with the needs and expectations of the research community to the extent practicable.
NSF plans to hold two identical webinars on May 18 and 24 to offer the U.S. research community an opportunity to learn more about the RSI-ISAO. Register here: Stakeholder Engagement on Research Security and Integrity Information Sharing Analysis Organization.
New AIBS Report on Biological Sciences in the President's FY 2024 Budget
A new report from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) provides an analysis of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request for biological sciences research and education.
The report summarizes proposed budget and program changes relevant to the biological sciences. The document analyzes the budget proposals for several federal agencies and programs, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Standards and Technology, United States Geological Survey, Department of Energy Office of Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency, among others.
Read the report.
Societies Submit Joint Comments on NIH's Public Access Policy
In response to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) request for input on its “Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research,” a group of 16 scientific societies and associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and AIBS, have submitted joint comments urging NIH to focus on creating an environment that balances reader access to new work with researchers’ ability to publish.
“We must strive to create a system wherein scientists are not required to pay additional fees to publish and where grants are not required to bear the brunt of publishing costs,” the societies argue. “Otherwise, we risk creating heavy cost burdens not only for researchers and their institutions, but also for funders of research, including taxpayers.”
Read the comments.
AIBS Signs Letter Urging Support for Research Facilities in Farm Bill
AIBS has joined the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and more than 340 other agricultural organizations, in sending a letter to House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership urging Congress to fund the Research Facilities Act in the 2023 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill, passed by Congress every five years, is a legislative package that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. Specifically, the stakeholder letter requests that Congress support $5 billion in mandatory funding over five years through the Research Facilities Act within Title VII of the next Farm Bill.
“This catalytic investment would advance the critical work being done at public colleges of agriculture, veterinarian, forestry, and natural resources across the country,” the letter asserts. “Updated facilities would support American jobs, enable the recruitment of diverse workforce talent, address agricultural production challenges, and ensure U.S. leadership in food and agricultural innovation.”
The letter cites a 2021 report by Gordian, which assessed the state of facilities at U.S. colleges and schools of agriculture and reported that 70 percent of these buildings are at the end of their useful life. “The U.S. cannot rebuild our agricultural research prominence or keep up with international competitors with facilities built in the 1950s and 1960s,” the letter argues.
SPNHC Natural History Education DemoCamp: Register Now
The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) Education Sessional Committee is hosting a virtual Natural History Education (NHE) DemoCamp. The goal is to share, discover, and discuss educational materials that have a framework in natural history. AIBS is a partner in the event.
The NHE DemoCamp is designed to provide materials and resources to teachers, educators, and faculty looking for easy to adopt educational materials that engage students with the natural world. The NHE DemoCamp format allows educators access to open education resources and provides opportunities to discuss these resources with the teachers and educators who developed the materials. For the presenters, the NHE DemoCamp provides a platform to share resources and materials, and creates a place to exchange ideas and receive feedback from peers.
When: 14th-15th of June, the amount of time blocks will be dependent on the number of presenters.
Presenter registration is open until May 22, 2023 and general attendee registration (available here: DemoCamp Day 1, June 14; DemoCamp Day 2, June 15) will be open up until the event. Please see the website for additional details and send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enter the 13th Annual 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).
“Photography is one of many excellent tools scientists have to showcase their work to new audiences, including policymakers and the public,” said Scott Glisson, CEO of AIBS. “AIBS remains committed to strengthening scientists' ability to communicate with broad audiences. An important part of that effort has been supporting this artful approach to sharing their research.”
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 photos from the 2022 contest were featured in the April 2023 issue of BioScience.
Submissions must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2023. For more information or to enter the contest, visit our website.
- Several solicitations from the Biological Sciences and Geological Sciences Directorates at the National Science Foundation (NSF) will soon require the submission of a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan that will be considered as part of the Broader Impacts criteria during the review process of grant proposals. NSF has shared additional resources to aid researchers in responding to the new requirement, including some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and recordings and slides from recent virtual office hours that addressed the requirement.
- Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), and Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) have introduced legislation (H.R. 2990) to address sexual harassment and assault at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The bill would expand coverage of NOAA’s sexual harassment prevention and response policy and direct NOAA to provide a clear mechanism for anonymous reporting and a secure reporting structure for survivors. It would also enhance enforcement of such policies and expand reports to Congress on sexual harassment, sexual assault, and equal opportunity employment.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a request for information to inform the development of a roadmap for its new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate, as directed by the CHIPS and Science Act. The legislation tasked the TIP Directorate to develop a roadmap to guide investment decisions in use-inspired and translational research over a 3-year time frame, working towards the goal of advancing U.S. competitiveness in key technology focus areas, that include biotechnology, artificial intelligence, quantum information science, etc., and addressing the identified societal, national, and geostrategic challenges. Comments are due July 27, 2023.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is soliciting nominations for members of its Science Advisory Board. The board advises the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the NOAA Administrator on long and short range strategies for research, education, and application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. The agency seeks individuals with expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning in the fields of weather and climate; environmental remote sensing; engineering for coastal resilience; social and behavioral sciences; and tropical cyclones. Nominations should be submitted to email@example.com by June 15, 2023.
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.