New & Noteworthy



Archive for April, 2013

30 Apr 2013

Report Details Proposed Changes to Federal Science Funding

President Obama released a $3.8 trillion budget plan for fiscal year (FY) 2014 on 10 April 2013.  According to the White House, the budget proposal would reduce the federal deficit by increasing revenues and cutting spending.  The proposal would replace sequestration, the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act.

Science is once again a priority in the President’s budget request, according to a new analysis by the American Institute of Biological Sciences.  The Administration proposed $142.8 billion for federal research and development (R&D), an increase of 1.3 percent over the 2012 level.  Although defense R&D would be cut by 5.2 percent, non-defense R&D would increase by 9.2 percent to $69.6 billion.

Nearly all science agencies and biological research programs would see increased funding in FY 2014.  Notably, the National Science Foundation would receive an 8.4 percent increase.  Other science programs slated for a budget increase include the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy Office of Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture, and several Department of the Interior bureaus.  Funding for Environmental Protection Agency science would be reduced.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs would be consolidated across the federal government.  More than 100 programs at 11 agencies are targeted for elimination or reorganization.  Some programs would be moved to the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, or Smithsonian Institution.

Download a free copy of the report on science funding in the President’s budget request at www.aibs.org/public-policy/budget_report.html.

30 Apr 2013

NSF Budget Proposal Would Boost Research, Education Funding

President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2014 requests $7.6 billion for the National Science Foundation.  This is a proposed increase of $592.7 million, or 8.4 percent over the FY 2012 appropriation.

Increases are proposed for all mission areas within NSF.  The Research and Related Activities account, which includes funding for the various disciplinary directorates, would receive an increase of 9.2 percent.  This would fund an additional 4,600 competitive awards during the fiscal year, although the agency’s funding rate is expected to remain at 24 percent.  Education and Human Resources, which funds education research and various fellowships, would grow by 6.2 percent.  Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction would increase by 6.6 percent.  The budget for administrative efforts would receive a modest increase of 1.6 percent.

The budget request includes increases for several Presidential priorities, including big data, interdisciplinary research, sustainability, and innovation commercialization.  Toward these goals, the President proposed an increase of $77.5 million for cyberinfrastructure for the Big Data initiative, $42.7 million in new funding for interdisciplinary research, an increase of $65.8 million for sustainability research, and an additional $17.4 million for NSF Innovation Corps.

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30 Apr 2013

Deadlines Approaching for SPNHC Meeting

The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections is meeting in Rapid City, South Dakota on 17-22 June 2013.  Paper, poster, and Demo Camp submissions are due by 15 May.  Early bird registration also closes on 15 May.  Learn more at http://cfrspnhc2013.com/index.html.

30 Apr 2013

NSF Seeks New Program Director for Advancing the Digitization of Biodiversity Collections

The National Science Foundation is advertising a position vacancy for Program Director for the Advancing the Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program.  It is being advertised as both a permanent position and as a rotating position.

Permanent Program Director: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/342543200

Rotating Program Director: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/342544100

26 Apr 2013

NEON Seeks Participants for Collections Technical Working Group

Field activities related to the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) will result in the collection of a variety of biodiversity samples that will be archived in museums around the United States. NEON is currently seeking members of the scientific community to serve on the Collections Technical Working Group. This group will provide guidance on NEON activities related to scientific research collections.

The Collections Technical Working Group will respond to NEON inquiries for input and comment on scientific, technical, and implementation issues related to the collections program approximately four times per year.  NEON seeks a diverse group with expertise and experience in collections and archiving to help ensure that NEON collection activities have a strong scientific base and will produce a resource that is most useful to the community.  Both self-nominations and/or suggestions of names of colleagues who might be interested are welcome.

Nominations are due by 15 May 2013. For more information please visit http://neoninc.org/content/membersCTWG.

25 Apr 2013

NSC Alliance Asks House to Support Proposed Funding for Interior Collections

Today, the NSC Alliance submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The testimony supported $2.0 million in new funding for the Department of the Interior’s Cultural and Scientific Collections program.

The FY 2014 budget request would implement a multi-year action plan to address recommendations made by the Department’s Inspector General regarding Interior’s accountability for its cultural and scientific specimens. Interior is an important caretaker of museum collections; the Department has an estimated 146 million items, which is second in size only to the Smithsonian Institution.

Click here to read NSC Alliance’s testimony.

19 Apr 2013

President Obama’s Budget Would Boost NSF Funding

Scientific research and education programs would see an increase if President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2014 were enacted.  The President’s budget would provide an 8.4 percent increase for the National Science Foundation (NSF), relative to FY 2012.  The overall budget for the agency would be $7.6 billion, an increase of $593 million.

Increases are proposed for all mission areas within NSF.  The Research and Related Activities account, which includes funding for the various disciplinary directorates, would receive an increase of 9.2 percent.  This would fund an additional 4,600 competitive awards during the fiscal year, although the agency’s funding rate is expected to remain at 24 percent.  Education and Human Resources, which funds education research and various fellowships, would grow by 6.2 percent.  Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction would increase by 6.6 percent.  The budget for administrative efforts would receive a modest increase of 1.6 percent.

The budget for the Biological Sciences Directorate would increase by 6.8 percent to $760.6 million.  The number of research grants awarded and average award size would increase, as compared to the FY 2012 level.  The funding rate across the directorate would jump from 15 percent in FY 2011 to 26 percent next year, largely due to the implementation of a new proposal submission process.

Digitization of scientific information associated with biological specimens held in U.S. research collections would continue to be supported.  According to NSF, FY 2014 investments would be guided by the strategic and implementation plans developed by the community.

A new program would be created with the Division of Environmental Biology to link long-term planetary biodiversity data with specimen and collections data.  The Strategic Integration for Biological Sciences would be supported with $2.0 million.

19 Apr 2013

NSC Alliance Asks Senators to Sustain Funding for NSF

The NSC Alliance submitted testimony to the Senate in favor of sustained funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal year 2014.  The testimony supports the President’s budget request of $7.626 billion for FY 2014, an increase of $593 million above FY 2012.

“The progress of basic scientific research requires a steady federal investment,” stated the testimony authored by NSC Alliance President Larry Page.  “Unpredictable swings in federal funding can disrupt research programs, create uncertainty in the research community, and impede the development of solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems.”

The testimony also highlighted the value of NSF’s support for digitization of scientific collections, biodiversity research, and informal science education.

The request was sent to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over funding for NSF and other federal agencies.  Testimony was sent in March to the House panel with jurisdiction over NSF funding.

Click here for the Senate testimony.

Click here for the House testimony.

18 Apr 2013

USGS Launches Digital Biodiversity Records

A new initiative by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) offers 100 million mapped records of nearly every living species in the U.S.  Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) provides specific locations for the vast majority of records, not just county or state records.

“The USGS is proud to announce this monumental resource,” said Kevin Gallagher, Associate Director of USGS Core Science Systems, “and this is a testament to the power of combining the efforts of  hundreds of thousands of professional and citizen scientists into a resource that uses Big Data and Open Data principles to deliver biodiversity information for sustaining the Nation’s environmental capital.”

Anticipated users of BISON include researchers, land managers, water resource managers, educators, citizen scientists, and others.

USGS is collaborating with other federal agencies to increase the data set.  In addition, hundreds of thousands of researchers and citizen scientists have contributed data.

Access BISON at http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov/.

16 Apr 2013

New Solicitation for Collections in Support of Biological Research

The National Science Foundation has issued a new solicitation for proposals for the Collections in Support of Biological Research program.  The full proposal deadline is 16 July 2013.

The Collections in Support of Biological Research program provides funds: 1) for improvements to secure, improve, and organize collections that are significant to the NSF BIO-funded research community; 2) to secure collections-related data for sustained, accurate, and efficient accessibility of the collection to the biological research community; and 3) to transfer collection ownership responsibilities.

Read the solicitation at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503651.