Washington Update – ASPB Member Appointed to Second Term on National Science Board

Dr. Roger Beachy, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, has been included on the President’s list of intended nominees to the National Science Board (NSB), which governs the work of the National Science Foundation.  Of the eight members of NSB whose six-year terms are ending in 2020, Dr. … Read more

NIFA Extends Deadlines for Proposal Submission to AFRI Programs

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced that is extending deadlines for its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program (https://nifa.usda.gov/program/agriculture-and-food-research-initiative-afri). AFRI issued additional guidance that while other deadlines have not been extended, proposers whose applications would be delayed due to “valid extenuating circumstances” should contact the … Read more

Policy Update – Department of Agriculture Releases Five-Year Science Blueprint

On February 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a new strategic document to steer future science activities for the Department through 2025.  The USDA Science Blueprint is intended to provide direction and focus as the agencies within USDA strive for a more coordinated scientific enterprise.  A primary goal of the document is the … Read more

Policy Update – NASA Releases Early Career Solicitation Towards Plant/Food Production Technologies

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Technology Mission Directorate released a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) titled “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion-2020 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2020).”  The purpose of an NRA is to address future technological challenges of the aerospace enterprise that encourage economic growth and space research objectives.  Included in this specific solicitation are several … Read more

Policy Update – FFAR Releases 2020 New Innovator Award, Eliminates Match Requirement

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) released its 2020 solicitation for the New Innovator Award.  This award offers support to new faculty members in the first three years of their careers to “promote career advancement of highly creative and promising new scientists who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in … Read more

Policy Update – Agencies Release Website for Biotechnology Regulation

Following the streamlining of biotechnology regulations in the fall of 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have launched the “Unified Website for Biotechnology Regulation.”  This website comes as part of the Trump Administration’s broader effort to streamline the regulation of biotechnology that was kicked … Read more

Policy Update – DOE Releases Sustainable Bioenergy Crops Solicitation

On January 10, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its fifth funding call under the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program, and the second for its Biological Sciences program.  The “Systems Biology Research to Advance Sustainable Bioenergy Crop Development” solicitation provides a total of $15 million in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and $75 million over … Read more

Policy Update – ASPB Nominee Named to BIO AC

Dr. C. Robertson “Rob” McClung, who served as ASPB President from 2007 to 2008, has been named as the newest member of the National Science Foundation’s Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) Advisory Committee (AC).  Dr. McClung, currently a Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College, was nominated by ASPB based on his expertise and leadership in … Read more

Policy Update – Administration Nominates National Science Foundation Director

The Administration has announced its nomination of Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Executive Vice President at Arizona State University, to be the next Director of NSF following the pending conclusion of Dr. France Córdova’s term this spring.  By training, Dr. Panchanathan is an electrical and computer engineer.  Among several possible changes, Dr. Panchanathan’s nomination brings with … Read more

Funding Opportunity – NSF Releases New Microbiome Solicitation Under Rules of Life Big Idea

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new solicitation as part of the Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL) Big Idea, entitled Understanding the Rules of Life: Microbiome Theory and Mechanisms (URoL:MTM).  In the this cross-directorate effort, NSF plans to invest between $12 million and $15 million to better understand the theoretical and mechanistic … Read more

Policy Update – House Agriculture Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Implementation of Farm Bill Research Programs

On October 17, the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a hearing to review the implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s 2018 Farm Bill research programs with testimony from Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Scott Hutchins.  This hearing comes after the Farm Bill was reauthorized in December … Read more

Policy Update – NSF Announces Next Phase of Reintegrating Biology Initiative

October 2019 Washington Update – Prepared by Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC for the American Society of Plant Biologists Following their Town Halls in September, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Reintegrating Biology Initiative has announced the next phase of the process.  Reintegrating Biology will convene four “Jumpstarts”, two and a half-day workshops to “develop new and innovative … Read more

Policy Update – NIFA Relocation

October 2019 Washington Update – Prepared by Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC for the American Society of Plant Biologists Employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Economic Research Service (ERS) have begun work in Kansas City, with the first report-to-work date occurring on September 30.  Although the agencies have begun to hire new … Read more