NSF ADVISORY COUNCIL TO THE BIO DIRECTORATE DISCUSSES BROAD RANGE OF SCIENCE POLICY ISSUES Created by on 09/10/2012
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Advisory Council to the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO AC) held their fall meeting
this month. On the first day, the BIO AC Subcommittee on Data presented their preliminary report, which highlighted the importance of developing data systems and standards specific to each research community by involving the communities in the process. This recommendation is consistent with the position
of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Later, the BIO AC subcommittee on “Broadening Participation” described the challenges of increasing diversity in the biomedical workforce pipeline, focusing on reducing attrition from the sciences during college. Finally, a discussion on training grants was held, and members requested that further data on training outcomes be gathered.
On the second day, the BIO Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) and Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) new pre-proposal system for grant applications, which began this year, was discussed. BIO AC members were worried that this new system might disproportionally impact new investigators, reduce cross-disciplinary collaborations, and slow the funding of grants. Concerns were also expressed that the widely diverging grant review cycles within the BIO Directorate (including the new eight month review cycle for grants from the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences) is leading to confusion. A report on the outcomes of the first cycle of the pre-proposal system is expected by early next year.