The Natural Science Collections Alliance has endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced by House Science Committee leadership to expand the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) mission and budget. The National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225) proposes doubling NSF’s budget to $18.5 billion over five years and creating a new Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions (SES) that will enable NSF to accelerate the translation of science and technology into solutions to society’s major challenges.
The NSC Alliance supports the creation of a Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions (SES) to fund translational research that complements the basic research supported by NSF’s existing directorates,” reads the letter. “The proposed investments in technological research will enable the biodiversity collections community to build the cyberinfrastructure and databases necessary to mobilize biodiversity data in ways that bolster 21st century science and drive innovation.
NSC Alliance applauded a number of provisions in the bill, including the emphasis on sustained support for biological research collections. “Recent reports from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and the Biodiversity Collections Network have highlighted the value of mobilizing biodiversity collections and data in spurring new scientific discoveries that grow our economy, improve our public health and well being, and increase our national security. Both reports articulate a common vision of the future of biological collections and define a need to broaden and deepen the collections and associated data to realize the potential for biodiversity collections to inform 21st century science. This endeavor requires robust investments in our nation’s scientific collections, whether they are owned by a federal or state agency or are part of an educational institution or freestanding natural history museum or another research center. The investments proposed in H.R. 2225 would be critical in the efforts to mobilize biodiversity specimens and data in spurring new scientific discoveries.”