The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) remains active in supporting the advancement of scientific research and recently signed a letter to the leadership of the Committee on Appropriations urging inclusion of language regarding the Microbiome Interagency Working Group in the final Senate Fiscal Year 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill.
The Microbiome Interagency Working Group was established in 2018 and comprises a group of 23 U.S. government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), that established a five-year strategic plan for coordinated microbiome research. Three areas of focus noted in the strategic plan are:
- Supporting interdisciplinary, collaborative research to enable a predictive understanding of the function of microbiomes in diverse ecosystems in order to enhance public health, improve food and environmental security, and grow new bioeconomy product areas.
- Developing platform technologies to generate critical insights and improve access to and sharing of microbiome data collected across ecosystems.
- Expanding the microbiome workforce through educational opportunities, citizen science and public engagement.
“As the Strategic Plan’s term recently ended in Fiscal Year 2022, we urge the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to renew the charter of the Microbiome Interagency Working Group to assess the current state of microbiome research and to work on an updated Strategic Plan for Microbiome Research,” the letter states.