New & Noteworthy

Archive for March, 2020

12 Mar 2020

NSC Alliance Provides Testimony in Support of FY 2021 Funding for NSF

The Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance) has submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Committee, requesting Congress to provide the National Science Foundation with at least $9 billion in FY 2021 and 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 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget specifically recognized the importance of scientific collections to our nation’s bioeconomy in this year’s S&T funding priorities memorandum to federal agencies.”

NSF plays a unique role in protecting and expanding access to our nation’s 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 (SBE) support research and student training opportunities in natural history collections. The NSF is also an important supporter of national biological research infrastructure that houses natural history collections, such as living stock collections and field stations.

Read the testimony.

12 Mar 2020

NSCA Letter to Congress on Economic Recovery and COVID-19

On March 12, 2020, the NSC Alliance sent letters to key House and Senate leaders requesting that any economic measures crafted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic address the financial harm being felt by natural history museums, botanical gardens, and other scientific societies and research organizations, which are an integral part of the nation’s bioeconomy.

“These scientific research and education organizations are suffering economic losses as a result of the need to cancel scientific meetings, workshops, and to reduce, postpone or cancel public programs, including educational programs associated with schools and other civic organizations,” reads the letter. “Most natural history organizations are non-profits that operate on tight budgets with limited capacity to absorb abrupt and significant losses of revenue, such as that generated from public visitation and engagement in programs.”

Read the letter to House Leadership.
Read the letter to Senate Leadership.
Read the letter to House Science Committee.

06 Mar 2020

NSC Alliance Submits Testimony in Support of Federal Funding for Collections

The NSC Alliance provided testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees regarding fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding for certain programs that curate natural history collections within the Department of the Interior and Smithsonian Institution.

“Scientific collections, and the collections professionals and scientists who make, care for, and study these resources, are a vital component of our nation’s research infrastructure. These collections contribute to the expansion of our bioeconomy. Whether held at a museum, government managed laboratory or archive, or in a university science department, these scientific resources form a coordinated network of data (for example, genetic, tissue, organism, and environmental) that are a unique and irreplaceable foundation from which scientists are studying and explaining past and present life on earth. Research results improve human and environmental health, enhance food security, and provide monitoring for responses to environmental change and species conservation.”

The testimony called for new investments within the Department of the Interior and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. NSC Alliance requested Congress to provide the U.S. Geological Survey with at least $1.35 billion and the National Museum of Natural History with at least $55 million in FY 2021.

Read NSCA’s FY 2021 Interior testimony.