New & Noteworthy

Archive for November, 2013

26 Nov 2013

Resources for Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation

The National Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Program has announced their fiscal year 2014 grant guidelines.  Grants will be available to museums for documenting Native American human remains and cultural items in their care.  Monies will also be available for consultation with tribes regarding the control and treatment of NAGPRA-related human remains and objects.  More information is available at

Other resources from the National NAGPRA Program include online databases of inventoried items and tribal contacts, and videos that explain the consultation process.

19 Nov 2013

NSC Alliance Releases New Resource on Importance of Fossils to Research

The Natural Science Collections Alliance has prepared a short report on how fossils are used in scientific research.  “Celebrating the Knowledge and the Mystery of Fossils” shows how researchers use fossils to understand evolution of species and reconstruct Earth’s ancient climate.

“Fossil collections are extremely important for those of us who study evolutionary biology because 99 percent of species lived in the past, by some estimates,” explains Dr. Judith E. Skog, professor emeritus at George Mason University.  “If we did not understand these organisms and their environments, we would have a skewed view of evolutionary processes.”

Download a free copy of the issue brief at  Access other reports in NSC Alliance’s series “On the Importance of Scientific Collections” at

19 Nov 2013

Graduate Student Leaders Sought to Shape Science Policy

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award.  This award recognizes graduate students in the biological sciences who have demonstrated initiative and leadership in science policy.  Recipients receive first-hand experience at the interface of science and public policy.

Winners receive:

  • A trip to Washington, DC, to participate in the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition Congressional Visits Day, an annual event that brings scientists to the nation’s capital to advocate for federal investment in the biological sciences, with a primary focus on the National Science Foundation.  The event will be held on 9-10 April 2014. Domestic travel and hotel expenses will be paid for the winners.
  • Policy and communications training, and information on trends in federal science funding and the legislative process.
  • Meetings with Congressional policymakers to discuss the importance of federal investments in the biological sciences.
  • A 1-year AIBS membership, including a subscription to the journal BioScience and a copy of “Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media.”
  • An award certificate and membership in the EPPLA alumni network.

The 2014 award is open to U.S. citizens enrolled in a graduate degree program in the biological sciences, science education, or a closely allied field.  Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to science policy and/or science education policy.  Prior EPPLA winners and AIBS science policy interns/fellows are not eligible.

Applications are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Monday, 13 January 2014.  The application can be downloaded at

14 Nov 2013

Job Announcement: Program Officer for Advances in Digitization of Biological Collections

The Directorate for Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation is advertising for a program officer position to manage the program Advances in Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC).  For information about the scope of the program, visit the program web site at

The ADBC program began in 2010 as a result of the community strategic plan for a National Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA). The program supports some of the NIBA goals, specifically increasing access to the wealth of information contained in vouchered biological specimens and associated metadata through digitization and providing a central resource for access to the data (iDigBio).  For information about the NIBA strategic plan and implementation plan, see where the links to community efforts are provided. For information about the goals and activities of iDigBio, see

The position for Program Officer for the ADBC program is being advertised as both a permanent position and as a temporary position.

If you wish to apply to the permanent position, the application and information can be found at USAJobs:

If you wish to apply for the temporary position, the application can be found at USAJobs:

If you are interested in both positions then you must apply to both job solicitations.

07 Nov 2013

Draft Rule Addresses Unclaimed Native American Remains and Objects

The Department of the Interior has proposed new procedures for the disposition of unclaimed human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony discovered on federal lands after 16 November 1990.  The rule would only apply to remains and objects whose disposition of ownership or control has not occurred because no claimant has exercised its right to claim ownership or control of the cultural items, or no potential claimant can reasonably be identified.

Federal agencies would be required to inventory their unclaimed cultural items and submit the list to the National Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Program within two years of the rule being finalized or within two years of excavating the items.  The rule also sets out specific standards for care of unclaimed cultural items.

Public comments will be accepted through 30 December 2013.  Read the draft rule at