New & Noteworthy



Archive for April, 2019

22 Apr 2019

NSC Alliance Urges Senate Appropriators to Support of FY 2020 Funding for NSF

The Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance) provided testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committees, highlighting the importance and role of natural history collections.

“Natural science collections advance scientific research and education, and that informs actions to improve public health, agricultural productivity, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and American economic innovation. Current research involving natural science collections also contributes to the development of new cyberinfrastructure, data visualization tools, and improved data management practices.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a key federal supporter of scientific collections. NSF supports research that uses existing collections as well as studies that gather new natural history specimens. NSF’s Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Geosciences (GEO), and Social and Behavioral and Economic sciences support research and student training opportunities in natural history collections. NSF also supports national biological research infrastructure that houses natural history collections, such as living stock collections and field stations.

The testimony called for $9 billion for NSF in fiscal year (FY) 2020.

Read the testimony.

19 Apr 2019

Plan to Attend: 2019 Digital Data Conference

The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in collaboration with iDigBio of the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Natural Science Collections Alliance, and Ecological Society of America is pleased to announce the third annual Digital Data in Biodiversity Research conference, to be held 10-12 June 2019 at Yale University, New Haven, CT.

The 2019 conference will focus on methods, protocols, and analytical tools for the use of digital data in biodiversity research and encompass the uses of such data across all disciplines within the biological and ecological sciences. Special emphasis is placed on the use of digitized specimen data and big data analytics.

For more information and to register, please visit
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-digital-data-conference-methods-protocols-and-analytical-tools-for-specimen-based-tickets-54760252389

19 Apr 2019

Action Alert: Ask Your Members of Congress to Support NSF

Congress has begun work to set funding levels for federal programs for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Scientists interested in the National Science Foundation (NSF) should consider contacting their U.S. Representative and Senators to ask that they provide NSF with $9 billion in FY 2020.

NSF is the primary federal funding source for discovery-driven research at our nation’s universities and colleges. The President’s budget request for FY 2020 proposes a 12.5 percent cut to NSF, including a 13 percent reduction to its research activities. This budget hurts research and undermines the nation’s ability to address national challenges.

If funded at $9 billion, NSF can accelerate progress on its 10 Big Ideas, expand support for early career researchers, and create new interdisciplinary research programs. This funding level will also ensure that NSF can sustain investments in the programs that are of interest to NSC Alliance members. At the $9 billion funding level, NSF will be able to sustain investments in core research programs.

Individuals can send a letter to their members of Congress from the AIBS Legislative Action Center.

10 Apr 2019

NSC Alliance Urges Senate Appropriators to Support Federal Funding for Collections

The NSC Alliance provided testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committees regarding fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding for certain programs that curate natural history collections within the Department of the Interior and Smithsonian Institution.

“Scientific collections are critical infrastructure for our nation’s research enterprise and a national treasure. Research specimens connect us to the past, are used to solve current problems, and are helping to predict threats to human health, methods for ensuring food security, and the impact of future environmental changes. Sustained investments in scientific collections are in our national interest.”

The testimony called for new investments within the Department of the Interior and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Read NSCA’s FY 2020 Interior testimony to Senate.

04 Apr 2019

New Report from BCoN: Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) has released its new report, Extending U.S. Biodiversity Collections to Promote Research and Education. You are invited to download and share the summary brochure and to review the longer report that provides additional detail about this vision for the future..

An excerpt from the report: “There is an urgent need to build a network of extended specimen data that represents the depth and breadth of the more than one billion biodiversity specimens held in U.S. collections institutions. The Extended Specimen Network (ESN) would include the physical specimen and its associated physical and digital genetic, phenotypic, and environmental data. The network would rely on new data integration mechanisms necessary to link all of the dynamic components together. The ESN will help researchers understand the rules that govern how organisms grow, diversify, and interact with one another, and how environmental change and human activities may affect those rules. As a resource for formal and informal education (including citizen science), the ESN will provide scalable learning opportunities for K–12 and lifelong learning in data literacy as well as the life sciences and humanities.”

Read the report.