AIBS Public Policy Report, Volume 23, Issue 23, November 7, 2022
- Call for Applications: 2023 Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award
- Congressional Departures Affect Science Committees
- NSF Renames Education Directorate
- Science Coalition Urges Robust Investments in NSF in FY 2023, 2024
- Action Alert: Ask Your Members of Congress to Complete FY 2023 Appropriations with Robust Increases for Science
- BioScience Talks Podcast: The TIP Directorate at NSF
- Short Takes
- Interior Names USFWS Deputy Director
- NSF EPSCoR Rotator Program Officer Recruitment Webinar
- EPA Seeks Input on Inflation Reduction Act Programs
- NSF Releases Report on Engaged Environmental Research
- From the Federal Register
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Call for Applications: 2023 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 2023 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 2023 (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, 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 2023 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 are not eligible for the award.
Applications are due by 05:00 PM Eastern Time on January 18, 2023. Learn more about how to apply.
Congressional Departures Affect Science Committees
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 is the mid-term election, when all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of Senators are up for re-election. Although the results from some hotly contested races may not be known for days—or even weeks—as ballots are counted, change is already coming to the congressional committees with jurisdiction over science policy.
Sixty-six members of the House won’t be returning next year, either due to retirement, running for another office, or having lost their primary election. That’s about 15 percent of all Representatives. A comparable percentage of Senators whose terms expire this year chose to retire.
Although only 7 Senators are departing, this short list includes several very senior members. Most notably, the Appropriations Committee will lose both its chair, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and its vice chair, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). This powerful committee allocates money to federal agencies and programs. Leahy is the most senior member of the Senate and Shelby ranks fourth. A third committee member, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MS) is also retiring; Blunt was the Ranking Member for the subcommittee overseeing health spending.
In the House, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will be losing its chair, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who is retiring. Johnson is the first African-American and woman to chair this committee. Six other committee members won’t be returning either due to retirements, running for other offices, or losing a primary election: Mo Brooks (R-AL), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Peter Meijer (R-MI), and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO).
The House Appropriations Committee will experience even more turnover, with nine members departing. Three of the 12 subcommittee chairs are leaving, but none lead a subcommittee that oversees science spending.
On the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the ranking Republican member, Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, is retiring. Upton is the 6th most senior member of the House overall. Two subcommittee chairs are also retiring: Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL), who leads the Energy Subcommittee, and Representative Michael Doyle (D-PA), who leads the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
The House Agriculture Committee and House Committee on Natural Resources will have relatively fewer departures. Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) who chairs the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee is retiring.
Notably, both Representatives who have led the effort to organize their colleagues in support of increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) are departing. Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and David McKinley (R-WV) distributed a ‘dear colleague’ letter in the House each year to rally for robust funding for NSF. The pair worked together on this effort dating back almost a decade. Butterfield is retiring and McKinley lost his primary election. Another 28 signatories from the 2022 letter won’t be returning to the House either.
NSF Renames Education Directorate
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently renamed its education directorate “to more accurately reflect and communicate the values and totality of the agency’s work with STEM education,” according to a press released from the agency. The new name is the Directorate for STEM Education.
“As the largest investor in STEM talent in the federal government, the new name for the directorate responsible for inspiring and unleashing talent across our nation should represent the work that NSF has been doing for decades and into the future,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “It is important to communicate the impact and potential to our taxpayers and the public so that they can understand and appreciate our work in these areas.”
The new name is already in effect and did not change the portfolio of programs or mission of the directorate.
Science Coalition Urges Robust Investments in NSF in FY 2023, 2024
The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF)—an alliance of more than 140 professional organizations, scientific societies, universities, and businesses that advocate for the National Science Foundation (NSF)—has called on lawmakers to complete appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2023 before the end of the calendar year and to fund NSF at the highest level possible. AIBS is a member of CNSF.
“As you know, the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act recently provided strong support for ambitious NSF growth and expanding the geography of innovation,” the coalition noted in their letter. “The law authorizes $11.9 billion in FY 2023 to enable the expanded mission it outlines for NSF and numerous new activities. NSF will not be able to implement these fully without additional funding as specified in the Act.” CNSF urged congressional appropriators to fund NSF “as close to the authorized level of $11.9 billion” in FY 2023 as possible and at least at the Senate’s proposed level of $10.338 billion.
The coalition sent a separate letter regarding NSF’s FY 2024 budget request to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Office of Management Budget. The letter urged the Administration to request $15.65 billion in NSF research and education investments in FY 2024 as authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act (P.L. 117-167).
“Failure to meet these levels of funding for NSF will result in a growing gap between authorized and actual funding that will equate to billions of dollars in lost opportunities to strengthen science, technology, innovation, and the STEM workforce,” the letter argued. “Now is the time to create more opportunities to bolster our nation’s competitiveness and security.”
Action Alert: Ask Your Members of Congress to Complete FY 2023 Appropriations with Robust Increases for Science
Congress has yet to pass legislation providing fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding for science. Government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health, have been operating under FY 2022 funding levels since FY 2023 began on October 1, 2022. This stopgap approach expires on December 16 and stifles the government’s ability to initiate new programs.
It is important that members of Congress hear from scientists. Please show your support for science by asking your members of Congress to complete work on FY 2023 appropriations bills and fund NSF as close as possible to the authorized level of $11.9 billion in FY 2023. Interested individuals can send a letter to their members of Congress from the AIBS Legislative Action Center.
BioScience Talks Podcast: The TIP Directorate at NSF
Interested in learning about the opportunities for biologists at the newly launched Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF)? Check out the latest BioScience Talks episode with Thyaga Nandagopal, Division Director for the Division of Innovation and Technology Ecosystems, in the TIP Directorate. He discusses the directorate’s programs, priorities, and future plans.
- The new Deputy Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is a wildlife biologist. Dr. Siva Sundaresan has a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University; his research was focused on ungulates and carnivores in Kenya and India.
- Are you interested in making a real impact on science research and funding in geographically diverse regions of the nation? NSF EPSCoR is recruiting new Program Officers and are hosting a recruitment webinar on Monday, November 7 from Noon to 1:30 PM Eastern Time. Register now.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting input on programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, including air quality projects and climate projects tackling clean energy, transportation, methane emissions, and climate super-pollutants. To this end the agency has created a new webpage to host information on the implementation of the climate law and plans to hold listening sessions to enable stakeholder to provide input to EPA staff.
- Meaningful collaboration among scientists and a broad swathe of stakeholders, broadly termed ‘engaged research,’ is essential to effectively address societal challenges related to the environment, sustainability, and equity, according to a new report from NSF. The report, Engaged Research for Environmental Grand Challenges: Accelerating Discovery and Innovation for Societal Impacts, intends to provide clarity for funding agencies and researchers on the societal challenges that require engaged research, the varied conceptualizations of engagement in the literature, and the benefits and pitfalls associated with engaged research.
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.