New & Noteworthy

Archive for the 'Activities & Events' Category

16 Jan 2020

BCoN Briefs Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections

On January 16, 2020, Robert Gropp briefed the members of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections about the Extended Specimen Network report and other recent Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) activities and accomplishments. The NSC Alliance is an active leader of the BCoN effort and played an important role in shaping the Extended Specimen report, a version of which was published in the January issue of BioScience (

The briefing was well received and timely. The Interagency Working Group is in the process of developing a vision for federal collections.

NSC Alliance members and representatives of BCoN also participated in the December 2019 AIBS Council Meeting, Beyond Specimens. A report from this meeting, which will include a number of community-identified priorities is forthcoming. Thus, collections should not lack for attention in the spring of 2020. In addition to the BCoN report, forthcoming AIBS report, and deliberations of the Federal Interagency Working Group, the National Academies is expected to release a report on living and non-living collections in February.

16 Jan 2020

Registration Open: 4th Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference

Indiana University (IU), iDigBio, and the Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSCA) will hold the 4th annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference on June 1-3, 2020 at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.

The theme for the conference is “Harnessing the Data Revolution and Amplifying Collections with Biodiversity Information Science.” Registration is now open and costs $50 for students and $100 for professionals. To register, visit:

For more information about the conference, please bookmark and regularly visit the conference announcement page:

To ensure that you receive regular announcements on the conference email list, please send your email address to Gil Nelson ( or Jill Goodwin ( at iDigBio.

11 Dec 2019

Action Alert: Ask Congress to Fund Science, Complete FY 2020 Appropriations

Congress has yet to pass legislation providing fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding for science. Government agencies, including the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, have been operating under FY 2019 funding levels since FY 2020 began on October 1, 2019.

More than two months into FY 2020, Congress has passed two continuing resolutions to avert government shutdowns, but this stopgap approach expires on December 20 and stifles the government’s ability to initiate new programs.

NSF is the primary federal funding source for fundamental biological research at our nation’s universities and colleges. The agency provides nearly 69% of funding support for non-medical, fundamental biological and environmental research at academic institutions. Uncertainty in its funding allocations hinders scientific progress.

If funded at $9 billion, NSF can accelerate progress on its 10 Big Ideas, expand support for early career researchers, and create new interdisciplinary research programs. This investment will sustain core research and education programs that are vital to U.S. competitiveness.

Scientists interested in the National Science Foundation (NSF) should consider contacting their U.S. Representative and Senators to ask that they complete work on FY 2020 appropriations bills and provide NSF with $9 billion in FY 2020.

Individuals can send a letter to their members of Congress from the AIBS Legislative Action Center.

11 Dec 2019

IMLS Seeks Comments on a Proposed Information Collection

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is soliciting public input on a Museums for America grant program, entitled “Museums Empowered: Professional Development and Capacity Building Opportunities for Museums–A Museums for America Special Initiative.”

Museums for America (MFA) grants support efforts that strengthen the ability of museums to serve the public. This is a special MFA initiative with the goal of strengthening the ability of an individual museum to serve its public through professional development activities that cross-cut various departments to generate systemic change within the museum.

Written comments should be submitted on or before January 12, 2020. More information is available at:

11 Dec 2019

OSTP Requests Input on American Research Environment

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has requested information from the public on the American Research Environment. In a notice published in the Federal Register on November 26, 2019, OSTP has requested input on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC’s) Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE) on “actions that Federal agencies can take, working in partnership with private industry, academic institutions, and non-profit/philanthropic organizations, to maximize the quality and effectiveness of the American research environment.”

Comments should be submitted on or before 11:59 PM Easter time on December 23, 2019.

Details of the Request for Information and instructions for submitting comments are available at

11 Dec 2019

NIH Seeks Input on Proposed Data Management and Sharing Policy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking public comment on a proposed NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing and supplemental guidance. According to NIH, the purpose of this draft policy and guidance is “to promote effective and efficient data management and sharing to further NIH’s commitment to making the results and accomplishments of the research it funds and conducts available to the public.” Deadline to submit comments is January 10, 2020. For more information, go to:

14 Nov 2019

NASEM Soliciting Research Applications to Determine Red Wolf Taxonomy

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Assistance to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) on Taxonomic Studies of the Red Wolf is calling for research applications to clarify the taxonomic identity of wild canid populations in southwestern Louisiana and other geographic areas where the red wolf (Canis rufus) was historically known to inhabit. At the request of USFWS, NASEM convened this expert panel to solicit applications to conduct morphological, genetic, and genomic research on unidentified canids suspected to be red wolves.

Research applications are being accepted through December 3, 2019. USFWS will notify applicants of its decision in January 2020. Queries can be directed to More information at:

14 Nov 2019

SPNHC and ICOM NATHIST Announce Joint 2020 Meeting

The joint meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and the International Council of Museums Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History (ICOM NATHIST) will take place from the June 7-13, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. The theme for the meeting is ‘The Role of Natural History Collections in Global Challenges.’

For more information and to register your interest in attending the meeting, go to:

14 Nov 2019

IMLS and ACM to Hold Webinar on Museums for All

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) are hosting an informational webinar on Museums for All, an initiative dedicated to expanding community access. NSC Alliance members are invited to join the webinar to learn more about how and why more than 450 museums participate in the program.

The webinar will take place on December 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM Eastern time. Information on attending the webinar is available at

14 Nov 2019

Call for Community Input: NSF RFI on Data-Focused Cyberinfrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on Data-Focused Cyberinfrastructure Needed to Support Future Data-Intensive Science and Engineering Research.

According to the notice, the challenges of growing volumes of scientific data – their availability, transmission, accessibility, management, and utilization – have become urgent and ubiquitous across NSF-supported science, engineering, and education disciplines. NSF is particularly interested in understanding how broader cross-disciplinary and domain-agnostic solutions can be devised and implemented, along with the structural, functional and performance characteristics such cross-disciplinary solutions must possess. To inform the formulation of a strategic NSF response to these imperatives, the RFI asks the research community to update NSF on their data-intensive scientific questions and challenges and associated needs specifically related to data-focused cyberinfrastructure.

AIBS encourages the life sciences community to respond to this request by following the guidelines outlined here:

Submissions must be received on or before 5:00 PM Eastern time on December 16, 2019. NSF will share the responses publicly in spring/summer 2020. Questions concerning this RFI should be directed to

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