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AIBS Public Policy Report

AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 23, Issue 10, May 9, 2022

  • Scientists Advocate for Research Funding in AIBS Virtual Advocacy Event
  • House Science Panel Criticizes DOE Science Budget Request
  • AIBS Endorses Letter Opposing Harmful Open Access Provisions in Competitiveness Legislation
  • AIBS Joins Letter in Support of Strong FY 2023 Funding for the Agricultural Research Service
  • Biden Issues Executive Order to Address Deforestation, Develop First National Nature Assessment
  • NSF Requests Comments on Draft Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide
  • Enhance Your Interdisciplinary and Team Science Skills
  • Registration Open: Writing for Impact and Influence Online Course
  • Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest
  • Short Takes
    • White House Announces Paid Internship Program
    • Nominate Experts to the NAGPRA Review Committee
    • NSF Webinar: Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology
    • SPNHC Natural History Collection Education DemoCamp
  • 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.

 

Scientists Advocate for Research Funding in AIBS Virtual Advocacy Event

During the week of April 25-29, 2022, scientists from across the country participated in a virtual advocacy event organized by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) to discuss federal investments in scientific research and education with lawmakers.

Scientists from 18 states, namely California, Hawaii, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, New York, Maine, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado, participated in the online event.  AIBS member societies, including American Society of Mammalogists, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, the LTER Network, Organization of Biological Field Stations, and Society for the Study of Evolution sponsored the participation of a number of scientists.  Recipients of the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award also attended.

Participants received online communications and advocacy training as part of the AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists on April 25-26.  AIBS provided participants with background information and resources, as well as arranged online meetings with lawmakers on April 27-29.  Overall, 51 meetings took place over the course of 3 days.

In their meetings with lawmakers, scientists discussed the benefits of federal investments in science and how it impacts their research.  Participants asked members of Congress to provide $11 billion for the National Science Foundation in fiscal year (FY) 2023, an increase of 25 percent over FY 2022, and called for increased funding for other federal science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy Office of Science.

 

House Science Panel Criticizes DOE Science Budget Request

Both Republican and Democratic members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee expressed disappointment over the Biden Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science at a recent congressional hearing.

Lawmakers criticized DOE’s request of $7.8 billion for the Office of Science, an increase of roughly 4 percent above FY 2022, calling it inadequate.  They argued that larger increases were warranted to advance innovation and accelerate needed construction projects.

“Under this proposal many current major construction projects would not be supported at levels that are needed to maintain their project schedules and minimize their total costs,” noted Energy Subcommittee Chairman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY).  “Budget requests that propose cuts, stagnation or slow growth to the office’s topline also cause downward pressure on the research programs, which is leading to adverse long-term effect.”

Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Randy Weber (R-TX) echoed similar concerns saying the requested level was “not sufficient” to support the infrastructure upgrades needed to maintain the office’s “top-of-the line” facilities and address emerging challenges.  “Instead, the proposal appears more focused on Green New Deal talking points than what we call mission critical Department of Energy needs.”

DOE Under Secretary for Science and Innovation Geri Richmond explained that the request reflected the Administration’s attempt to balance spending priorities and deal with pandemic-related delays and staffing problems.  Insisting that the DOE was still committed to addressing climate change and advancing new science and innovation, Richmond said the priority-setting had been “very painful to do with tough decisions and trade-offs.”

Importantly, the FY 2023 budget request for the Office of Science falls significantly short of the aspirational levels set forth in the reauthorization measure passed by the House earlier this year as part of the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521).  The bill would authorize $8.8 billion for the Office of Science in FY 2023, which would eventually increase to $11.1 billion in five years.  

H.R. 4521 is now entering formal conference negotiations with the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), which would provide DOE $17 billion in additional funding over 5 years to support efforts on key technology areas, including at the national labs.  A separate bipartisan measure in the Senate (S. 3699), introduced earlier this year by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Barrasso (R-WY), would authorize $8.4 billion for the Office of Science in the next fiscal year, which would grow to $12 billion in the next 5 years.

Noting that the Administration “wholeheartedly” endorsed these authorization bills, Chairman Bowman said he hoped that “going forward they will match rhetoric with action.”

 

AIBS Endorses Letter Opposing Harmful Open Access Provisions in Competitiveness Legislation

As Congress begins conference negotiations to reconcile the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521) and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), a group of 83 organizations, including AIBS, is urging lawmakers to oppose the inclusion of certain harmful provisions that would change current public access policies for peer-reviewed journals.

Specifically, the organizations oppose the inclusion of Section 2527(b) of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the final conferenced legislation. “Section 2527(b), purportedly offered to improve ‘public accessibility of research funded by taxpayers,’ would instead undercut the public’s interest in scientific and scholarly integrity, which is key for progress across science, medicine, and academic scholarship,” the groups note in their letter to Congressional leadership.

“Current federal policy is delivering public access,” the groups argue. “Section 2527(b) would disrupt the current policy framework, which is working well precisely because it is flexible and collaborative.”

 

AIBS Joins Letter in Support of Strong FY 2023 Funding for the Agricultural Research Service

AIBS has joined 50 other stakeholder organizations in urging House and Senate Appropriators to provide at least $1.9 billion for salaries and expenses at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) intramural research agency—in fiscal year (FY) 2023.

“ARS is USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency supporting research across the full spectrum of food and agriculture at more than 90 research locations across the country,” the groups note. “ARS is uniquely positioned to support critical long-term agricultural research across a variety of climates and agricultural settings, including the Long Term Agro-Ecosystem Research (LTAR) sites, the Resilient Economic Agricultural Practices (REAP) sites, and the USDA Climate Hubs. ARS also develops and maintains numerous, agriculturally significant, long-term datasets and is home to the National Agricultural Library, the world’s largest collection devoted to agriculture.”

Included in this joint request is $112 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) and $15 million for the new Big Data Initiative at ARS.

President Biden has requested $1.9 billion in discretionary spending for ARS in FY 2023.  Congress appropriated $1.8 billion for the agency in FY 2022.

 

Biden Issues Executive Order to Address Deforestation, Develop First National Nature Assessment

On Earth Day, President Biden signed an Executive Order to expand his Administration’s efforts to combat climate change, strengthen wildfire resilience, and address deforestation.

“America’s forests are a key climate solution, absorbing carbon dioxide equivalent to more than 10% of U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions,” the White House noted.  With the objective of enabling “climate-smart forest stewardship,” the new directive intends to protect mature and old-growth forests on federal lands to reduce wildfire risk, strengthen reforestation partnerships to support local economies, address global deforestation to deliver on key COP26 commitments, and deploy nature-based solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The order directs the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to conduct an inventory of mature and old-growth forests on federal lands that will inform new policies to “institutionalize climate-smart management and conservation strategies” that help address threats such as wildfires.  

The directive calls on the State Department to coordinate with other agencies to develop approaches to stop global deforestation and support sustainable forest management around the world, “with special attention to the critical role played by Indigenous peoples and local communities and landholders in conserving and restoring forests.”  This includes incentivizing sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities to reduce deforestation.

The order directs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Office of Domestic Climate Policy to work with federal agencies to develop a report to the National Climate Task Force on deploying “nature-based solutions,” such as restoring marshes and planting shade trees.  Furthermore, it calls on the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance on “valuing nature” to help agencies better account for ecosystem services. 

In addition, the directive calls for the development of the first U.S. National Nature Assessment.  Similar to the National Climate Assessment, the Nature Assessment will be developed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which brings together thirteen federal agencies.  The assessment would provide a comprehensive report on the state of the nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife and the benefits that they provide.  The report would also make predictions about how nature might change in the future and help identify opportunities to achieve climate, health, environmental justice, and economic goals.

 

NSF Requests Comments on Draft Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on an updated draft of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

Notable proposed changes include:

  • A provision requiring the use of SciENcv to prepare personnel biographical sketches for grant proposals.
  • A new section to expand disclosure requirements to be consistent with the National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) implementation guidance.
  • A new requirement for grant proposals involving field research, including on research vessels and aircraft, to submit a supplemental document entitled, “Plan for Safe and Inclusive Field/Vessel/Aircraft Research (PSI-FVAR),” which details steps grantees will take to ensure an “inclusive climate” and outlines a plan to prevent harassment and report incidents.
  • Clarification of timelines and other requirements for awardee reporting.

Public comments will be accepted until June 13, 2022.

 

Enhance Your Interdisciplinary and Team Science Skills

Team science is increasingly common in the 21st century to develop convergent solutions to complex problems. Collaboration is no longer limited to sharing ideas with the biologist in the lab next door. There is a real and present need to better prepare scientists for success in this new collaborative environment.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences has responded to this call with an intensive, two-day, interactive professional development course developed by scientists and other experts to provide participants with the knowledge and skills required to become productive and effective members of scientific teams.

Nothing teaches collaboration like practicing collaboration. This is not a course that asks you to learn in isolation. It is a microcosm of scientific collaboration, with extensive hands-on learning as part of a scientific team, with scientific case studies and examples.

The Enabling Interdisciplinary and Team Science course is designed for anyone involved in collaborative scientific endeavors.  Team leaders will find the course especially helpful. Because participants will work on “real-world” team science concerns, we encourage multiple members of a team to attend together.

Details about the next course:

  • Dates: June 6-7, 2022
  • Time: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Eastern Time
  • Location: Online

Learn more and register here.  We can also customize the course and bring it to your university, department, lab, or research team.  If you are interested in organizing a workshop for your institution, please contact Scott Glisson at sglisson@aibs.org for more information.

 

Registration Open: Writing for Impact and Influence Online 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

  • For the first time in history, the Executive Office of the President is launching a paid internship program.  The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as well as other offices will be hosting summer interns this year.  Applications are now open through May 15, 2022.  Internships will also be available in the fall.  Details can be found at www.wh.gov/ostp/internship.
  • The National Park Service is soliciting nominations for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation (NAGPRA) Review Committee.  The Secretary of the Interior will appoint members from nominations submitted by Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, or traditional Native American religious leaders and national museum organizations or national scientific organizations.  Nominations must be received by June 13, 2022.  Learn more.
  • The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology (BRC-BIO) program is organizing a webinar on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT.  BRC-BIO is a new program intended to enhance research capacity and broaden participation among new faculty of biology at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs), and other universities and colleges that are not among the nation’s most research-intensive and resourced institutions.  There will be a short presentation, followed by an open Q&A session with NSF Program Officers.  Register here.
  • 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 is open until May 30th and general attendee registration will be 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 April 25 to May 6, 2022. 

Agency for International Development

Commerce

Environmental Protection Agency

Health and Human Services

Interior

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 

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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