New & Noteworthy



Archive for the 'Correspondence' Category

17 May 2019

BCoN: Consider Endorsing Extended Specimen Report

Last month, members of the NSC Alliance Board of Directors participated in a National Press Club event on April 4, 2019, to celebrate the public release of the Biodiversity Collection Network’s (BCoN) community-informed vision document: Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education. If you have not yet reviewed the document, we invite you to read the summary brochure and longer document which are available at https://bcon.aibs.org/2019/04/04/bcon-report-extending-u-s-biodiversity-collections-to-promote-research-and-education/. A special report will appear in the journal BioScience later this year.

NSC Alliance members are encouraged to join fellow NSC Alliance members — Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, the KU Biodiversity Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, and Occidental College, among others — in endorsing the vision document.

If your organization would like to endorse the plan, please send a PDF file of a letter on letterhead and signed by an authorized representative of your organization to BCoN care of the American Institute of Biological Sciences at publicpolicy@aibs.org.

17 May 2019

National Science Board Seeking New Members

The National Science Board (NSB) is accepting nominations for the NSB Class of 2020-2026 through May 31, 2019. NSB, the oversight and governance board of the National Science Foundation, is seeking recommendations for new Board Members from leading scientific, engineering, and educational organizations, as well as the public.

Information about the process and requirements is available at: https://www.nsf.gov/nsb/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=298427

04 Apr 2019

New Report from BCoN: Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) has released its new report, Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education. You are invited to download and share the summary brochure and to review the longer report that provides additional detail about this vision for the future..

An excerpt from the report: “There is an urgent need to build a network of extended specimen data that represents the depth and breadth of the more than one billion biodiversity specimens held in U.S. collections institutions. The Extended Specimen Network (ESN) would include the physical specimen and its associated physical and digital genetic, phenotypic, and environmental data. The network would rely on new data integration mechanisms necessary to link all of the dynamic components together. The ESN will help researchers understand the rules that govern how organisms grow, diversify, and interact with one another, and how environmental change and human activities may affect those rules. As a resource for formal and informal education (including citizen science), the ESN will provide scalable learning opportunities for K–12 and lifelong learning in data literacy as well as the life sciences and humanities.”

Read the report.

15 Mar 2019

NSC Alliance Urges Congress to Support Federal Funding for Collections

The NSC Alliance provided testimony to the House Appropriations Committee regarding fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding for certain programs that curate natural history collections within the Department of the Interior and Smithsonian Institution.

“Scientific collections, and the collections professionals and scientists who make, care for, and study these resources, are a vital component of our nation’s research infrastructure. Whether held at a museum, government managed laboratory or archive, or in a university science department, these scientific resources consist of data (for example, genetic, tissue, organism, and environmental) that are a unique and irreplaceable foundation from which scientists are studying and explaining past and present life on earth. Research results improve human health, enhance food security, and provide monitoring for responses to environmental change and species conservation.”

The testimony called for new investments within the Department of the Interior and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Read NSCA’s FY 2020 Interior testimony.

27 Feb 2019

NSC Alliance Announces New Partnership

The NSC Alliance has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Florida (iDigBio) to “promote the sustainable implementation of a national digital data meeting.”

In response to a request from iDigBio in 2018, the NSC Alliance Board of Directors has entered into an agreement that will result in the NSC Alliance becoming a cosponsor of the annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research Conference beginning this year. Additionally, NSC Alliance and iDigBio will work to secure funds over the next three years to ensure the conference continues after the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections and iDigBio sunset in their current form.

The NSC Alliance looks forward to working with iDigBio, future conference hosts, the scientific community, and our member institutions to sustain this important scientific program. We hope that you will plan to participate in the 2019 conference this June. The 2019 conference is being held at Yale University from June 10-12. To learn more and register, please visit https://www.idigbio.org/content/save-date-methods-protocols-and-analytical-tools-specimen-based-research-biological-sciences.

24 Jan 2019

NSC Alliance 2019 Collections Policy and Advocacy Meeting: Register Now

Registration is now open for the NSC Alliance 2019 membership meeting, Collections Policy and Advocacy. The meeting will be held in Washington, DC, on April 2-3, 2019. Learn more about the meeting, including a draft agenda, and register at http://nscalliance.org/?page_id=1084. All NSC Alliance member institutions are encouraged to participate. In addition to being an opportunity for NSC Alliance members to network and exchange information with each other, this meeting provides a platform for the community to interact with federal program officers and lawmakers. The meeting will explore opportunities for the community to work collectively to promote new investments in natural science collections, and opportunities to inform or reform policies impacting collections. NSC Alliance members are also invited to share information about initiatives or programs at their institutions. Information about submitting an abstract is available on the meeting website.

Questions about the meeting can be directed to Robert Gropp at rgropp@aibs.org or 202-628-1500 x 250.

24 Jan 2019

Opportunity for NSC Alliance Members to Inform Future of Biodiversity Collections Research, Policy, and Education

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is a founding partner organization in the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), a National Science Foundation funded Research Coordination Network. A number of representatives of NSC Alliance members recently participated in a BCoN workshop convened on 30 October – 1 November 2018 at Oak Spring Gardens in Upperville, Virginia. The purpose of the workshop was to draft a future-focused vision document for the deployment of data held in U.S. biodiversity collections for research, policy, and education.

BCoN is accepting community feedback on this draft document through 1 February 2019. NSC Alliance members are encouraged to review the document and to provide feedback. The document, supporting materials, and instructions for submitting comments are available at https://bcon.aibs.org/2019/01/16/community-input-requested-extending-u-s-biodiversity-collections-to-address-national-challenges/.

17 Sep 2018

Special Request to NSC Alliance Members

The NSC Alliance has been contacted by a National Academies study committee that would like to receive additional information from taxonomists and collections curators. Please consider sharing your thoughts and recommendations to the request below. Send all information no later than Friday, September 28, 2018, to rgropp@aibs.org. NSC Alliance will compile all information and transmit it to the study committee in one package.

The committee is looking into the “taxonomic status of the red wolf and the Mexican gray wolf. The committee is interested in the views of taxonomists and museum curators on the concept of subspecies. Specifically, what criteria are most often deployed in recognizing subspecies. If the subspecies designation is no longer viewed as useful, what, if anything, has replaced it and to what extent are those designations being sustained or submerged in official taxonomic records.”

30 Aug 2018

Expand Your Broader Impact Skills: AIBS Communications Boot Camp for Scientists

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) will offer its Communications Training Boot Camp for Scientists this October 15-16, 2018. Students and staff affiliated with NSC Alliance member institutions are eligible to receive a significant discount off of the regular program registration rate.

The AIBS Communications Training Boot Camp for Scientists was designed to enhance the communication skills of scientists, particularly those interested in communicating with decision-makers and the news media. The program is an excellent way to develop new communication skills and identify effective methods for broadening the impact of research and education programs.

The Boot Camp is an intensive, two-day, hands-on training program.

Participants will learn:

- How to translate scientific findings for non-technical audiences
- How to tell a resonant story that informs decision-makers
- How to prepare for and participate in a news interview
- How to prepare for and engage in a meeting with a decision-maker
- How to protect your scientific reputation
- How to identify and define the audience you need to reach
- What decision-makers want to hear from a scientist
- What reporters are looking for in an interview
- How to leverage social media
- How the nation’s science policy is developed and implemented

Participants will also have the opportunity for formal and informal discussions with science policy and communications experts working in Washington, DC.

Learn more about the program and register now at https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/communications_boot_camp.html.

25 Jun 2018

Joint Stakeholder Statement on Promoting Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity Through Open Exchange of Digital Sequence Information

The Natural Science Collections Alliance has joined with more than 50 other leading scientific organizations from around the world to express a shared concern with emerging proposals on the regulation of use of digital sequence information.

The statement was issued in response to “activities pursuant to the decisions at the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) (Decision XIII/16) and the Nagoya Protocol (NP) (Decision NP-2/14) to “consider any potential implications of the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources for the first three objectives of the CBD and the objective of the NP”.”

The joint statement reads, in part, “As key stakeholders, the signatory organizations are vigilant about the potentially harmful effect of inappropriate or overly burdensome regulation of genetic resources. They are therefore greatly concerned about proposals to apply ABS obligations to DSI. Such obligations would place additional hurdles on biological research – with potentially negative consequences for the advancement of science and the huge societal value this generates, as well as for achieving the three objectives of the CBD.”

Update: On November 8, an updated version of the statement became available. The statement now has 80 signatories, including the countries of Ethiopia, South Africa, and Korea, and additional industrial sectors and scientific fields, such as flavours, ornithology, and health supplements.

Read the full statement here.

- Next »