Robotic device tracks plant growth at the cellular level

A new open-source device allows scientists to identify treatments and conditions that affect the mechanical properties of plant cells Determining how various treatments and conditions affect the mechanical properties of plant cells could allow scientists to understand plant growth at the cellular level and devise ways to enhance it. In a breakthrough report published in … Read more

Legislative Update: Congress Approves 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report

On December 10, Congress released the long-awaited 2018 farm bill conference report, H.R. 2 The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, a bipartisan compromise package that authorizes farm programs and agricultural research through fiscal year (FY) 2023.  The final farm bill package, totaling 807 pages, is budget neutral.  Title VII, the Research Title, largely reflects the … Read more

Members of the ASPB Community Elected to the 2018 Class of the AAAS Fellows

Twenty-three members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) community were elected to the 2018 class of AAAS Fellows. Each year, the AAAS Council elects fellows based on their contributions to science and technology in the areas of research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and … Read more

Nomination Update: Senate Agriculture Committee Hearing on USDA Under Secretary of REE, Chief Scientist Nomination

On November 28th, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Dr. Scott Hutchins as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics (REE), which also serves as USDA Chief Scientist. Hutchins, the former global leader of Corteva AgriScience, is an entomologist by training and … Read more

Funding Opportunity: NSF BIO Releases Two Solicitations for Rules of Life Big Idea

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – October 1, 2018 The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released two new solicitations for one of its 10 Big Ideas, Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL): Epigenetics; and Building a Synthetic Cell – An Ideas Lab Activity. Led by the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), URoL goals are to better understand … Read more

Policy Update: Senate Hearing on Student Visas and National Security

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – June 6, 2018 On June 6, the Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing entitled, “Student Visa Integrity: Protecting Educational Opportunity and National Security.”  The hearing focused on the potential threats international students and academics, particularly those from China, pose to national … Read more

Policy Update: House Agriculture Committee Approves Farm Bill

On April 18, 2018, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).  As expected, the markup was extremely partisan in nature with Democratic Members strongly opposing the proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and noting the lack of transparency.  Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) … Read more

Government Shutdown Update: CR Advances

On Monday afternoon, the Senate voted to advance a Continuing Resolution (CR) to end the three-day federal government shutdown and extend funding for government programs at Fiscal Year 2017 levels through February 8.  The stalemate that led to the shutdown ended after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave Democrats assurances that the Senate will … Read more

Agency Update: NSF Seeks Members for STEM Education Advisory Panel

Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC – November 10, 2017 On November 8, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it is accepting recommendations for members of a new STEM[1] Education Advisory Panel.  This panel will provide input to the interagency Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM), which is made up of agency leads for … Read more

Action Alert – Contact Congress to Prevent Major Tax Increase on Graduate Students

Please read the urgent request below and contact your Member of Congress regarding a harmful provision in a piece of legislation under consideration by Congress. The situation: The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering tax reform legislation, H.R. 1, that would change the way graduate student income is considered and result in large tax … Read more

Appropriations Update: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill with Bipartisan Support

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill with a bipartisan vote of 30-1.  The Senate bill would provide $31.5 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE), an increase of $718 million, or 2.3 percent, above the FY 2017 enacted level.  This level of funding … Read more

ASPB Statement on Trump’s FY 2018 Budget Proposal

On May 23, 2017, the White House released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request whereby it proposed to slash funding for federal agencies that support plant science research and education.  If enacted, President Trump’s FY 2018 budget would have a catastrophic impact on plant science and the broader U.S. enterprise of scientific innovation.  The … Read more

Plant Scientists Elected To This Year’s Class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

One of the nation’s most prominent honorary societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AA) recognizes accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. The membership of AA includes over 4600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Member and spans all disciplinary areas and professions. The following were elected to this … Read more

Plant Scientists Elected To This Year’s Class of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Several plant scientists have been elected as members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. These plant biologists are among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates just elected.  There are now 2,290 active NAS members and 475 foreign associates. The following … Read more

Tell Congress To Support Plant Science Funding By Passing FY 2017 Omnibus

This week, House and Senate congressional leaders reached an agreement on a fiscal year (FY) 2017 omnibus appropriations bill.  This bill will fund the entire federal government through the remainder of FY 2017. Despite White House FY 2018 proposals to cut funding for many science agencies, Congress has decided instead to protect and, in some … Read more

March for Science – the next steps

Over the weekend thousands of scientists and supporters of science across the world took part in March for Science events from Washington, DC to Sydney, Australia. (Please see community statement, which ASPB joined, applauding the March for Science.)  Plant scientists and ASPB staff marched in support of the countless contributions science has made and will … Read more

Hearing Update: House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Holds Hearing to Discuss Agricultural Research

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – March 24, 2017 On March 16, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a hearing to discuss agricultural research programs and priorities: one of a series of hearings to examine all titles of the next farm bill.  Witnesses included Dr. Jay Akridge, Dean of the College of Agriculture … Read more

Funding Opportunity: ARPA-E Solicits Proposals for Macroalgal Biomass Cultivation Technologies

 Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – December 19, 2016 The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a $25 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for its new MacroAlgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program. MARINER seeks to support the large-scale cultivation of macroalgae as a renewable feedstock for energy … Read more

Policy Update: Congress Passes American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – December 16, 2016 On December 16, Congress passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA, S. 3084) which sets policy for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and other cross-agency research programs. The legislation represents the culmination of … Read more

ASPB and Other Leading Scientific Organizations Reach Out to Trump

Recently, ASPB and AAAS and 27 other leading U.S. scientific organizations and professional societies sent a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump.  The letter urges Trump to “quickly appoint a science advisor with the title of Assistant to the President for Science and Technology who is a national respected leader with the appropriate engineering, scientific, management … Read more