New & Noteworthy

Archive for April, 2010

28 Apr 2010

NSC Alliance Writes to Chairman Gordon About Collections in COMPETES Act

On April 28, 2010, Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance) President William Brown wrote to House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) about the preservation and use of science collections.  The letter calls for the consideration of non-federal scientific collections in government efforts regarding the management of collections.

Representative Gordon is the sponsor of a bill (HR 5116) that would reauthorize the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act.  That legislation would direct the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in consultation with relevant federal agencies, to develop policies for management and use of federal scientific collections to “improve the quality, organization, access, including online access, and long-term preservation of such collections for the benefit of the scientific enterprise.”

Click here to read the letter

27 Apr 2010

NSF BIO Director Presents 2011 Budget to Scientists

On April 21, 2010, NSF Acting Assistant Director for Biological Sciences (BIO) Dr. Joann Roskoski gave a presentation to participants of the annual Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) Congressional Visits Day.  Her talk included a presentation of FY 2011 BIO priorities, including some initiatives related to natural science collections.

Click here to view the presentation

07 Apr 2010

NPS Finalizes Policy to Require Benefits-Sharing Agreement for Research

The National Park Service (NPS) has finalized a policy that requires researchers using specimens collected from national parks to enter into a benefits-sharing agreement with NPS if their research produces discoveries or inventions with a commercial application.  Under the new rule, researchers with commercially successful discoveries would provide monetary or non-monetary compensation, such as scientific equipment or lab work, to the national park on an annual basis, subject to the terms of their benefit-sharing agreement.

The decision was published in the Federal Register ( on April 7, 2010.  The decision is an outgrowth of several commercial applications of scientific discoveries made in national parks, the most notable being the invention of PCR from the study of a microorganism discovered in Yellowstone National Park.

The new policy will not affect current requirements or the application process for obtaining a permit to conduct research in a national park, as the benefits-sharing agreement would be initiated after permitted research was conducted.

More information is available at (select “Washington Office” from the park menu and then follow the link for benefits-sharing).

07 Apr 2010

FWS Seeks Comments on Permits for Migratory Birds

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requests public comments regarding the agency’s application and reporting requirements for the take of migratory birds.

Several permits issued by the FWS that regulate the disturbance and taking of migratory birds are scheduled for government review this year.  Of potential interest to scientists are forms 3-200-6 (import/export of migratory birds), 3-200-7 (scientific collection of migratory birds), 3-200-10d (special exhibition for education), and 3-200-15, 3-200-16, 3-200-71, 3-200-72 (disturbance and taking of eagles and nests).  Additionally, a new permit (3-200-82) is proposed to regulate the import and export of eagle specimens for temporary scientific or exhibition purposes, such as a museum display.

The FWS seeks comments about the necessity of the collection of information, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents.

Comments must be submitted by June 7, 2010.  For more information, please visit

05 Apr 2010

NSC Alliance Offers Testimony in Support of FY 2011 Funding for NSF

NSC Alliance President William Brown recently provided written outside witness testimony to the House and Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations.  The testimony requested that Congress provide President Obama’s requested funding for NSF in FY 2011.  Moreover, the testimony expressed support for NSF initiatives that support natural science collections, digitization of collections, and informal science education programs.

The NSC Alliance testimony follows:

Continue Reading »