New & Noteworthy

Archive for August, 2010

31 Aug 2010

NSF Searching for New Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources

Dr. Cora Marrett, Acting Director of the National Science Foundation, recently distributed a Dear Colleague letter announcing that NSF has initiated the process for selecting a new Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources.  The text of her letter follows:

We are initiating a national search for the National Science Foundation’s Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and seek your assistance in the identification of candidates.

The Assistant Director, EHR, leads a directorate comprised of four divisions: Graduate Education; Undergraduate Education; Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings; and Human Resource Development.  Attached is an information sheet that summarizes the directorate’s activities and the responsibilities of the position, together with the criteria that will be used in the search.  This letter, along with the attachment, are also available on the NSF Office of the Director Web page at

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Dan Atkins, Kellogg Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan, will head the search committee. We seek your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research and education; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. We are especially interested in identifying women, members of minority groups, and persons with disabilities for consideration. Recommendations of individuals from any sector - academic, industry, or government - are welcome.

Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/EHR Search Committee via e-mail ( or at the following address: National Science Foundation, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. We would appreciate receiving your recommendations by Friday, October 8, 2010.

Your assistance in this very important task is appreciated.

Cora B. Marrett
Acting Director

24 Aug 2010

NSF Announces New Grant Support for Digitization of Biological Collections

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new grant program, “Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections,” for scientific collections.  According to NSF documents, the program seeks to “create a national resource of digital data documenting existing biological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States.”

NSF has stated a goal of making 7-12 competitive awards totaling $10 million in fiscal year 2011, assuming adequate appropriations of funds.  Of these planned awards, 6-11 are anticipated to be “Thematic Collections Networks,” and 1 award is planned to be a “Home Uniting Biocollections (HUB).”

For more information, including links to the Request for Proposal (RFP), please visit

24 Aug 2010

NSC Alliance Survey Looks at Impact of Economy on Natural Science Collections – Complete the Survey Online Today

Two years ago as the economy was entering recession, the Natural Science Collections Alliance launched a survey to gather data on the effects of the economic downturn on natural science collections.  To further increase our understanding of how natural science collections are being impacted by and responding to current economic conditions, the NSC Alliance is repeating the 2008 survey.  All natural science collections, including natural history museums, herbaria, living collections, tissue and genetic collections, etc, are encouraged to complete this short, online survey.  The survey should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete.  Individual institutional responses will remain confidential.

Please COMPLETE THE SURVEY NOW.  The survey will close on 20 September 2010.

Additional information about the 2008 NSC Alliance survey, including a link to a publication containing the results, is available at

If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Dr. Robert Gropp at

23 Aug 2010

NIH Updates Its Best Practices for Cancer Biospecimens

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has updated its Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources.  Major revisions include the addition of new sections on biospecimen resource management and operations and conflict of interest, expansion of recommendations related to custodianship and informed consent, and harmonization with current federal guidance documents and recommendations from international biospecimen organizations.  Public comments on the revised best practices are being accepted until September 22, 2010.  For more information, visit

03 Aug 2010

NSC Alliance Calls for Collections to be Included in NOAA Strategic Plan

On August 2, 2010, NSC Alliance submitted comments on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) draft Next Generation Strategic Plan.  The comments identify the importance of NOAA’s scientific collections to the agency’s mission and call for the strategic plan to “address the curation of, and access to, the 40 scientific collections held by the agency.”

As currently drafted, the strategic plan does not address scientific collections.  For more information on NOAA’s draft strategic plan, visit

Click here to read NSC Alliance’s full comments