New & Noteworthy

Archive for January, 2013

30 Jan 2013

Join Us for the 2013 BESC Congressional Visits Day

Scientists and graduate students who are interested in communicating the importance of federal investments in scientific research and education to lawmakers are encouraged to participate in an important upcoming event.

Each year, the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) hosts a Congressional Visits Day in Washington, DC.  This event is an opportunity for scientists to meet with their members of Congress about the importance of federal support for biological research and education.

Event participants advocate for federal investments in biological sciences research, such as that supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other federal agencies.

This year’s event will be held on 10-11 April 2013 in Washington, DC.  The first day of the event is a training program that will prepare participants for meetings with congressional offices.  The second day is spent on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and their staff.

There is no cost to participate in this event, but space is limited.  BESC and its member organizations are not able to pay/reimburse participants for their expenses.

Learn more about the event and register to participate at  Registration will close on 7 March 2013.

30 Jan 2013

International Biodiversity Platform Takes Another Step Forward

Delegates from dozens of countries met in late January to create the administrative structure for a new international initiative to provide the science necessary to inform policies on conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

During the first plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel was selected.  This group of renowned experts will provide oversight and scientific credibility to the initiative.

Although the specific projects that IPBES will weigh in on have yet to be determined, requests are already being fielded by other international entities. The Conventions of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has requested IPBES to contribute to the preparation of the next global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, to be launched in 2018, and to help countries to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.  Requests have also been made regarding migratory animals and wetlands.  IPBES’ work program is scheduled to be addressed at the second plenary meeting.

M. Zakri, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of the Malaysian Professors’ Council was “truly honoured and most humbled to be elected as the first Chair of the Platform.”  M. Zakri has extensive experience in biodiversity governance at the national and international levels.

17 Jan 2013

NSC Alliance Announces 2012 Accomplishments

In 2012, the NSC Alliance engaged in a number of notable activities to raise the profile of natural history collections with policymakers, researchers, and the general public.  A few highlights are presented below:

  • Conducted a Congressional briefing on digitization of natural science collections. The event was well attended by policymakers from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.
  • Coordinated a joint society letter to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to express concerns with a proposal to alter the Collections in Support of Biological Research program.
  • Provided testimony to House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of increased funding for the NSF and the Department of the Interior.
  • Developed two issue briefs that help to articulate the importance of scientific collections, which are available at
  • Initiated planning with iDigBio and AIBS for a jointly sponsored workshop to be held at the 2013 Society for Preservation of Natural History Collections annual meeting.

Read all of NSC Alliance’s accomplishments from 2012 at