About the Natural Science Collections Alliance


The Natural Science Collections Alliance is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit association that supports natural science collections, their human resources, the institutions that house them, and their research activities for the benefit of science and society.

Our members are part of an international community of museums, botanical gardens, herbariums, universities and other institutions that house natural science collections and utilize them in research, exhibitions, academic and informal science education, and outreach activities.

Membership in the NSC Alliance links you to a network of institutions, scientists and other professionals in North America through which you can share news, information and common concerns - and help shape the future of our community.

 


NSC Alliance in the News



Published on 18 Sep 2019

NSC Alliance Nominates Members to NAGPRA Review Committee

The Natural Science Collections Alliance has nominated Dr. Heather Joy Hecht Edgar and Ms. Linda Lee K. (Cissy) Farm, Esq. to serve on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee.

The NAGPRA was enacted in 1990 to address the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to Native American cultural items, including human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. The law requires museums to compile certain information regarding Native American cultural items in their possession or control and provide that information to lineal descendants and the National NAGPRA Program to support repatriation. The NAGPRA Review Committee is an advisory body appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, which reviews the implementation of the inventory and identification process and repatriation activities.

Dr. Edgar is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and is active in research and administration. Ms. Farm is a Native Hawaiian attorney who has served as Interim President of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Ms. Farm, previously nominated by NSC Alliance, has served as a member and chair of the NAGPRA Review Committee.

Published on 18 Sep 2019

Collections and Bioeconomy Are Priorities, Says White House OSTP

In an August 30, 2019 memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), federal agencies have been directed to prioritize national security, industrial leadership, energy and environmental leadership, health and bioeconomic innovation, and space exploration and commercialization in their fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request for research and development (R&D).

The Administration’s memo on R&D budget priorities for FY 2021 provides guidance on a national strategy “to advance bold, transformational leaps in [science and technology], build a diverse workforce of the future, solve previously intractable grand challenges, and ensure America remains the global S&T leader for generations to come.”

The Administration stresses prioritizing the bioeconomy, defined as “the infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from biologically-related processes and science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit.” To enable bioeconomic opportunities, agencies have been directed to focus on areas such as biotechnology, scientific collections, biosecurity, omics, and data analytics, and prioritize “evidence-based standards and research to rapidly establish microorganism, plant, and animal safety and efficacy for products developed using gene editing.” In regards to public health, the memo directs agencies to prioritize research on the opioid crisis, infectious diseases, anti-microbial resistance, gene therapy, neuroscience, and HIV/ AIDS, among others.

The Administration’s energy and environmental priorities include early-stage research on nuclear, renewable, and fossil energy; efforts to map, explore, and characterize the natural resources of the exclusive economic zone; research to understand and respond to changes in the ocean system; and efforts to quantify “predictability” of Earth systems across time and space. “Knowing the extent to which components of the Earth system are practicably predictable - from individual thunderstorms to long-term global change- is vitally important for physical understanding of the Earth system, assessing the value of prediction results, guiding Federal investments, developing effective policy, and improving predictive skill,” the memo explains.

The memo also details five cross-cutting actions that spread across the R&D budgetary priorities and require departments and agencies to collaborate with each other and with the other stakeholders. These include building a diverse and highly skilled STEM workforce; creating and supporting research environments that reflect the “American values of free inquiry, competition, openness, and fairness”; supporting transformative high risk-high reward research; leveraging the “power of data” by improving data accessibility and security and building a data-skilled workforce; and expanding partnerships between agencies, academic institutions, businesses, nonprofit institutions, and other S&T sectors to build the nation’s innovation capacity.

Published on 18 Sep 2019

OSTP Seeks Public Input on U.S. Bioeconomy

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is requesting public input on the U.S. Bioeconomy, defined as the infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from biologically-related processes and science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit.

According to the notice, public input will inform “notable gaps, vulnerabilities, and areas to promote and protect in the U.S. Bioeconomy that may benefit from Federal government attention.”

Comments will be accepted until October 22, 2019. More information about the Request for Information is available here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-09-10/html/2019-19470.htm

Published on 18 Sep 2019

NAGPRA Review Committee to Meet in October

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee have scheduled a public teleconference on October 30, 2019. The agenda will include discussion of the Review Committee’s annual report to Congress, requests for disposition of Native American human remains, and public comment.

Register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdaZg6_R7_F3WNA2×7W1rd2uU3qLK9EnJfAXWeXB-fnVvNByw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&fbzx=-800241247966857323

Published on 27 Aug 2019

NSC Alliance Members Invited to Submit Nominations for NAGRPA Review Committee

The National Park Service is soliciting nominations for two members of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation (NAGPRA) Review Committee. The Secretary of the Interior will appoint two members from nominations submitted by national museum organizations or national scientific organizations. The committee was established by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, and is regulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Nominations for the NAGPRA Review Committee are due September 9, 2019.

Information about how to submit nominations is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/11/2019-12173/native-american-graves-protection-and-repatriation-review-committee-notice-of-nomination

Published on 20 Aug 2019

BCoN Early Career Travel Awards: Communications Training Professional Development

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) is offering a limited number of travel awards to help early career biodiversity scientists (broadly defined), collection managers, educators, and other biodiversity-collection professionals participate in the October 7-8, 2019 AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists. This professional development training course is being held in Washington, DC.

Eligibility:

  • Graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, or employed less than 3 years.
  • An individual who works in a clearly articulable way to conduct or enable biodiversity-related research or education.
  • Individuals need not be affiliated with a biodiversity collection.
  • Individuals must be able to travel to Washington, DC, to participate in the October 7-8, 2019 training program.
  • Must pay the course registration fee.

For details about the award and application process go to: https://bcon.aibs.org/2019/08/19/bcon-travel-awards-for-communications-training/

Published on 30 Jul 2019

NSC Alliance Urges University of Alaska Regents Not to Cut Museum of North Funding

On July 29, 2019, the NSC Alliance urged the regents of the University of Alaska to find alternatives to devastating and irrevocable budget cuts to the Museum of the North.

The letter from NSC Alliance is below. Please consider contacting the the regents, university officials, and state legislators today to help them understand the importance of the Museum of the North to the well being of Alaska, the nation, and the world.

Read the letter.

Published on 14 Jun 2019

2019 National Fossil Day

The National Park Service (NPS) is planning for the 10th annual celebration of National Fossil Day, which will take place on October 16, 2019. National Fossil Day is a nationwide celebration that will include paleontology activities planned by partner organizations across the United States. NSC Alliance has once again partnered with the National Park Service to promote the event.

NPS and National Fossil Day partners are sponsoring an art contest as a part of the celebration. The contest theme is “Extinct Giants and Survivors of the Last Ice Age.” For details about participating, go to: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/art-contest-2019.htm

If your institution or organization is planning to host a National Fossil Day event or is interested in joining NPS as a partner, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/index.htm.

Published on 05 Jun 2019

The Natural Science Collections Alliance Recognized for Museum Advocacy

The Natural Science Collections Alliance was honored to receive a Special Service Award from the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) for its advocacy and lobbying on behalf of museums. The NSC Alliance President Dr. John Bates accepted the award during the annual SPNHC business meeting which was held at The Field Museum of Natural History on May 31, 2019.

The NSC Alliance greatly appreciates this recognition and looks forward to further collaborations with SPNHC in the future.

The Natural Science Collections Alliance has worked collaboratively with its member institutions, SPNHC, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and other scientific organizations to increase the profile of natural history museums, botanic gardens, and other organizations that hold natural science collections. In recent years, NSC Alliance advocacy and outreach has restored funding for federal programs that support collections-related care, research, and education, articulated forward-looking national agendas that leverage the resources of collections, and ensured that orphaned collections are not lost. The NSC Alliance has briefed members of Congress, as well as federal and international program officials.

The NSC Alliance invites all scientific collections to participate in its campaigns by becoming a member.

Published on 17 May 2019

NSC Alliance Members: Inform Science Policy This Summer

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is pleased to announce that your organization, as an Alliance member, is eligible to participate in the 2019 Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event.

This national initiative, organized by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), and co-sponsored by NSC Alliance, is an opportunity for scientists from 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.

Now in its eleventh year, the event enables scientists, curators, museum professionals, and graduate students to meet with their elected officials without traveling to Washington, DC. Participants may either invite an elected official to tour their research facility or can meet at the lawmaker’s local office. Meetings will take place mid-July through October, depending on the participant’s schedule.

“When I found out about the AIBS Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits, I thought that this would be a perfect way to share not only my passion about my work but also my concerns and interests with a local government representative that might be able to influence policy and share advice about how to become even more involved,” said 2018 participant Khailee Marischuk. “I had not had any previous experience with this type of meeting, but AIBS did a fantastic job connecting me with my State Representative and preparing me for the lab tour and conversation. My meeting with Representative Terese Berceau was incredibly rewarding as she shared our enthusiasm for scientific research and our passion for promoting science policy for elected officials and the general public alike, along with giving our group insight in how best to make our voices and opinions known and heard. It was a thought-provoking discussion for me and hopefully everyone else involved.”

NSC Alliance members who participate will receive one-on-one support and online training to prepare them for their tour or meeting. The event is open to all types of natural science collections, including biological, geological, and anthropological collections.

The event is made possible by AIBS, with the support of event sponsors American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, Helminthological Society of Washington, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Paleontological Society, Society for Freshwater Science, Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, and Society for the Study of Evolution and event supporter Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Participation is free for NSC Alliance members, but registration is required and will close on July 10, 2019. For more information and to register, visit https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressional_district_visits.html.

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