About the Natural Science Collections Alliance

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit association that supports natural science collections, their human resources, the institutions that house them, and their research activities for the benefit of science and society.

Our members are part of an international community of museums, botanical gardens, herbariums, universities and other institutions that house natural science collections and utilize them in research, exhibitions, academic and informal science education, and outreach activities.

Membership in the NSC Alliance links you to a network of institutions, scientists and other professionals in North America through which you can share news, information and common concerns - and help shape the future of our community.


NSC Alliance in the News

Published on 14 Nov 2019

SPNHC and ICOM NATHIST Announce Joint 2020 Meeting

The joint meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) and the International Council of Museums Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History (ICOM NATHIST) will take place from the June 7-13, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. The theme for the meeting is ‘The Role of Natural History Collections in Global Challenges.’

For more information and to register your interest in attending the meeting, go to: http://www.spnhc-icomnathist2020.com/

Published on 14 Nov 2019

IMLS and ACM to Hold Webinar on Museums for All

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) are hosting an informational webinar on Museums for All, an initiative dedicated to expanding community access. NSC Alliance members are invited to join the webinar to learn more about how and why more than 450 museums participate in the program.

The webinar will take place on December 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM Eastern time. Information on attending the webinar is available at https://www.imls.gov/webinars/museums-all-webinar-prospective-participants.

Published on 14 Nov 2019

Call for Community Input: NSF RFI on Data-Focused Cyberinfrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on Data-Focused Cyberinfrastructure Needed to Support Future Data-Intensive Science and Engineering Research.

According to the notice, the challenges of growing volumes of scientific data – their availability, transmission, accessibility, management, and utilization – have become urgent and ubiquitous across NSF-supported science, engineering, and education disciplines. NSF is particularly interested in understanding how broader cross-disciplinary and domain-agnostic solutions can be devised and implemented, along with the structural, functional and performance characteristics such cross-disciplinary solutions must possess. To inform the formulation of a strategic NSF response to these imperatives, the RFI asks the research community to update NSF on their data-intensive scientific questions and challenges and associated needs specifically related to data-focused cyberinfrastructure.

AIBS encourages the life sciences community to respond to this request by following the guidelines outlined here: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf20015

Submissions must be received on or before 5:00 PM Eastern time on December 16, 2019. NSF will share the responses publicly in spring/summer 2020. Questions concerning this RFI should be directed to nsfdatacirfi@nsf.gov.

Published on 14 Nov 2019

National Museum and Library Services Board Meeting Announced

The 40th meeting of the National Museum and Library Services Board will be held on December 5, 2019. The Board advises the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on duties, powers, and authority of IMLS relating to museum, library, and information services, as well as coordination of activities for the improvement of these services.

The plenary session of the meeting starting at 9:00 AM Eastern time is open to the public. This will be followed by a closed Executive session. The location for the meeting is 955 L’Enfant Plaza North SW, Suite 4000, Washington, DC 20024. Please contact Katherine Maas at kmaas@imls.gov if you would like to attend the public session of the meeting.

Published on 14 Nov 2019

NIH Seeks Input on Proposed Data Management and Sharing Policy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking public comment on a proposed NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing and supplemental guidance. According to NIH, the purpose of this draft policy and guidance is “to promote effective and efficient data management and sharing to further NIH’s commitment to making the results and accomplishments of the research it funds and conducts available to the public.”

Deadline to submit comments is January 10, 2020. For more information, go to: https://osp.od.nih.gov/scientific-sharing/nih-data-management-and-sharing-activities-related-to-public-access-and-open-science/

Published on 18 Sep 2019

NSC Alliance Nominates Members to NAGPRA Review Committee

The Natural Science Collections Alliance has nominated Dr. Heather Joy Hecht Edgar and Ms. Linda Lee K. (Cissy) Farm, Esq. to serve on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee.

The NAGPRA was enacted in 1990 to address the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to Native American cultural items, including human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. The law requires museums to compile certain information regarding Native American cultural items in their possession or control and provide that information to lineal descendants and the National NAGPRA Program to support repatriation. The NAGPRA Review Committee is an advisory body appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, which reviews the implementation of the inventory and identification process and repatriation activities.

Dr. Edgar is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and is active in research and administration. Ms. Farm is a Native Hawaiian attorney who has served as Interim President of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Ms. Farm, previously nominated by NSC Alliance, has served as a member and chair of the NAGPRA Review Committee.

Published on 18 Sep 2019

Collections and Bioeconomy Are Priorities, Says White House OSTP

In an August 30, 2019 memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), federal agencies have been directed to prioritize national security, industrial leadership, energy and environmental leadership, health and bioeconomic innovation, and space exploration and commercialization in their fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request for research and development (R&D).

The Administration’s memo on R&D budget priorities for FY 2021 provides guidance on a national strategy “to advance bold, transformational leaps in [science and technology], build a diverse workforce of the future, solve previously intractable grand challenges, and ensure America remains the global S&T leader for generations to come.”

The Administration stresses prioritizing the bioeconomy, defined as “the infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from biologically-related processes and science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit.” To enable bioeconomic opportunities, agencies have been directed to focus on areas such as biotechnology, scientific collections, biosecurity, omics, and data analytics, and prioritize “evidence-based standards and research to rapidly establish microorganism, plant, and animal safety and efficacy for products developed using gene editing.” In regards to public health, the memo directs agencies to prioritize research on the opioid crisis, infectious diseases, anti-microbial resistance, gene therapy, neuroscience, and HIV/ AIDS, among others.

The Administration’s energy and environmental priorities include early-stage research on nuclear, renewable, and fossil energy; efforts to map, explore, and characterize the natural resources of the exclusive economic zone; research to understand and respond to changes in the ocean system; and efforts to quantify “predictability” of Earth systems across time and space. “Knowing the extent to which components of the Earth system are practicably predictable - from individual thunderstorms to long-term global change- is vitally important for physical understanding of the Earth system, assessing the value of prediction results, guiding Federal investments, developing effective policy, and improving predictive skill,” the memo explains.

The memo also details five cross-cutting actions that spread across the R&D budgetary priorities and require departments and agencies to collaborate with each other and with the other stakeholders. These include building a diverse and highly skilled STEM workforce; creating and supporting research environments that reflect the “American values of free inquiry, competition, openness, and fairness”; supporting transformative high risk-high reward research; leveraging the “power of data” by improving data accessibility and security and building a data-skilled workforce; and expanding partnerships between agencies, academic institutions, businesses, nonprofit institutions, and other S&T sectors to build the nation’s innovation capacity.

Published on 18 Sep 2019

OSTP Seeks Public Input on U.S. Bioeconomy

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is requesting public input on the U.S. Bioeconomy, defined as the infrastructure, innovation, products, technology, and data derived from biologically-related processes and science that drive economic growth, promote health, and increase public benefit.

According to the notice, public input will inform “notable gaps, vulnerabilities, and areas to promote and protect in the U.S. Bioeconomy that may benefit from Federal government attention.”

Comments will be accepted until October 22, 2019. More information about the Request for Information is available here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-09-10/html/2019-19470.htm

Published on 18 Sep 2019

NAGPRA Review Committee to Meet in October

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee have scheduled a public teleconference on October 30, 2019. The agenda will include discussion of the Review Committee’s annual report to Congress, requests for disposition of Native American human remains, and public comment.

Register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdaZg6_R7_F3WNA2×7W1rd2uU3qLK9EnJfAXWeXB-fnVvNByw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&fbzx=-800241247966857323

Published on 27 Aug 2019

NSC Alliance Members Invited to Submit Nominations for NAGRPA Review Committee

The National Park Service is soliciting nominations for two members of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation (NAGPRA) Review Committee. The Secretary of the Interior will appoint two members from nominations submitted by national museum organizations or national scientific organizations. The committee was established by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, and is regulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Nominations for the NAGPRA Review Committee are due September 9, 2019.

Information about how to submit nominations is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/11/2019-12173/native-american-graves-protection-and-repatriation-review-committee-notice-of-nomination

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