New & Noteworthy

Archive for July, 2011

25 Jul 2011

NSC Alliance Sponsors Webinar to Help Scientists Engage in Public Policy

A new online presentation sponsored by the NSC Alliance aims to inform biologists about proposed federal funding for science and how individual scientists can help secure increased funding for competitive, peer-reviewed grant programs.  The webinar, presented as part of the 3rd Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event, features information on the federal budget process, pending Congressional appropriations bills that would fund biological research in fiscal year 2012, and tips for effective communication with lawmakers.

The webinar was presented by policy staff from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) to participants of the 3rd Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event.  NSC Alliance is a sponsor of the event, which will take place throughout the month of August 2011.  This nationwide event encourages scientists to meet with their members of Congress in their home state in order to showcase the people, equipment, and facilities that are required to support and conduct scientific research.

As a sponsor of this event, NSC Alliance is able to offer our members access to a recording of this webinar program until September 2, 2011.  The webinar can be viewed for free at

22 Jul 2011

Action Alert: Cutting Science Funding Will Not Solve the Deficit Problem

There appears to be bipartisan agreement that the nation must take corrective steps to reduce the size of the federal deficit.  For months now, however, lawmakers have been battling a policy solution.  Some politicians have proposed deep cuts or the elimination of some scientific research programs.  Using the budget deficit to target scientific research that one finds politically unpopular is not going to solve our complex economic problems.  Significantly cutting federal investment in scientific research and education programs will make our current fiscal problems worse.

Remind your members of Congress today that investments in science will help the nation develop the new knowledge that will drive economic development and thus contribute to reducing the federal deficit.  Send a letter to your members of Congress today by going to

19 Jul 2011

House Plan Would Cut Funding for Biology Research at USGS

Ecosystem and biological research programs at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) could be cut by $10.7 million, a disproportionately large budget cut, if the House of Representative’s Interior and Environment Appropriations bill is enacted in its current form. When the proposed spending cuts are considered with the reductions enacted in the 2011 Continuing Resolution, the budget for USGS Ecosystems activities (which consists largely of the programs previously housed within the Biological Resources Discipline), would decline by 9.3 percent over two years. This is a disproportionate reduction when compared with other USGS programs and with the agency as a whole.

The research and monitoring programs that comprise the Ecosystems account within USGS are vital to the nation. These scientific activities help decision makers within other Interior bureaus, states, local governments, and the private sector to understand the status of our living resources. Much of this information is only collected by the USGS. Without it, our efforts to combat invasive species, manage endangered and threatened species, address wildlife diseases, or restore degraded landscapes would be severely hampered.

The proposed cuts to USGS research include:

  • $4.8 million from wildlife and terrestrial endangered species research
  • $1.0 million from aquatic and endangered resources research
  • $0.2 million from research on invasive species
  • $1.4 million from monitoring of species and habitat status and trends
  • $4.7 million from the Cooperative Research Units (partnerships between universities, states, and USGS to conduct biological research in 38 states)

Terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystem studies would receive an additional $1.5 million relative to FY 2011.

The House of Representatives could consider the fiscal year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill in the next few weeks. Please take a few minutes to contact your Representative to share your concerns about these proposed cuts and to encourage them to oppose spending cuts to biological and ecosystems research at the USGS.

Send a letter to your Representative today to express your concern.  Simply go to

11 Jul 2011

For Membership Review: Proposed NSCA Board Slate

Additional Nominations Accepted Until August 15 2011

Annual NSCA Board elections are getting underway, as per the NSCA Bylaws (, which state:

“The Nominating Committee shall furnish the names of nominees to the Secretary, who shall circulate them either in written or electronic form (e.g., web site) to the members at least thirty (30) days in advance of the election in order to provide for additional names to be nominated by the membership. Nomination to the ballot from the membership requires written support from 10 members from any category of membership.”

Please click here (PDF) to view the proposed slate.  Additional nominations (with written support from 10 members) may be sent to the Nominating Committee Chair, William Brown, at

Nominations will close on August 15 2011 and the election will get underway.

07 Jul 2011

NSC Alliance Writes to New York Governor, Education Officials about State Museum

On 7 July 2011, the NSC Alliance wrote to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state education officials about the recent announcement of staff reductions at the New York State Museum.  “The loss of five professional-level Museum Scientist positions, including the State Archaeologist and four Curators (one of which serves as State Paleontologist), will devastate research and collections care in archaeology, geology, and paleontology, making it impossible for the Museum to carry out its core legislated mandates: collections stewardship, research, and education related to the natural and cultural history of the state,” states the letter.

Click here to read the letter to Governor Cuomo

Click here to read the letter to New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch

Click here to read the letter to New York State’s Acting Commissioner of Education John King, Jr.

07 Jul 2011

Help Shape the Future of IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is developing a strategic plan to guide its work and priorities over the next five years.  On July 15, the agency will post highlights of the draft plan for public feedback at

The new plan will help IMLS to rigorously examine all of its grant programs, research, and leadership initiatives and to focus on results.  Public input is sought to shape IMLS programs and services to most effectively meet public needs.

01 Jul 2011

Ask Congress to Promote, not Politicize, Science

The United States House of Representatives may soon consider the fiscal year (FY) 2012 appropriations bill that will fund the National Science Foundation. Some in Congress have recently sought to attack programs within NSF, including mocking specific grants based on titles and inadequate information.

The National Science Foundation is the only federal agency that invests in all fields of fundamental research. It is important that the scientific community stand together to oppose efforts to weaken NSF, the scientific merit review process, or scientific disciplines that may be viewed as politically unpopular.

Please take a few minutes to send a letter to your Representative to urge that s/he promote, not politicize, NSF. Take action on the AIBS Legislative Action Center at