New & Noteworthy

Archive for November, 2016

21 Nov 2016

Apply for the 2017 Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award

Graduate students looking to make a difference in science policy and funding are encouraged to apply for the 2017 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.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 April 25-26, 2017. Domestic travel and hotel expenses will be paid for the winners.
  • Policy and communications training, including information on the legislative process and trends in federal science funding.
  • Meetings with congressional policymakers to discuss the importance of federal investments in the biological sciences.
  • A one-year AIBS membership, including a subscription to the journal BioScience and a copy of “Communicating Science: A Primer for Working with the Media.”

The 2017 award is open to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents 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, honorable mentions, and AIBS science policy interns/fellows are not eligible.

Applications are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on 9 January 2017. The application can be downloaded at

03 Nov 2016

NSC Alliance Supports IMLS Reauthorization Bill

The Natural Science Collections Alliance signed a letter in support of S. 3391, “The Museum and Library Services Act of 2016.” The thank you letter was sent to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and primary cosponsors, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The legislation would reauthorize funding levels for IMLS for six years. IMLS is the primary federal agency that supports museum education programs, collections curation, and professional development.

The America Alliance of Museums organized the letter, which was signed by 22 national organizations and 40 state and regional organizations.

Read the letter.

03 Nov 2016

NSC Alliance Members Meet with Federal, State Lawmakers

Science took center stage in recent interactions between researchers and policymakers. Across the nation, dozens of researchers and educators met with their lawmakers as part of the Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event, an initiative organized by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and sponsored by the Natural Science Collections Alliance.

This nationwide event facilitates meetings between scientists and their elected officials in their local area rather than in Washington, DC or a state capital, and allows lawmakers to learn first-hand about the science and research facilities in their district.

Scientists participating in the event discussed the importance of life sciences research with the individuals responsible for casting the votes that shape the nation’s science policy. Participants ranged from graduate students to senior researchers.

“The Natural History Museum of Utah hosted Congressman Chris Stewart’s District Director and other members of his Utah staff in August. This was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the Congressman’s great staff, to spend time together in the Museum’s collections areas, as well as in the exhibits and other public areas of the Museum–and to talk about how to connect with the Congressman and his staff in the future,” said Ann Hanniball, Associate Director for Community Relations at the Natural History Museum of Utah, which is a member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, and AIBS.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke visited the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Biodiversity Collections and posted on Facebook: “Impressed by UTEP’s Biodiversity Collections. These repositories of natural history show the unique and special treasures of El Paso and Castner Range. Over the next few days I’ll be posting highlights from these collections so you can share with your friends the special and historical significance of El Paso and Castner Range.”

Representative Tom Cole and his staff visited the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The University of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology hosted U.S. Senator Tom Udall’s staff. Several other NSC Alliance member organizations participated.

The 8th annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits were made possible by AIBS, with support from event sponsors Botanical Society of America, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Paleontological Society, Society for Freshwater Science, and Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections.

Participants in the event were prepared for their meetings during an interactive training webinar. The program provided information about how best to communicate science to non-technical audiences and tips for conducting a successful meeting with an elected official.

More information about the Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event is available at Resources are also available for scientists who are interested in meeting with policymakers at