Senate Appropriators Complete Work on FY 2024 Spending Legislation
Last week, Senate appropriators wrapped up their work on fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations before heading into the month-long August recess.
Led by Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), Senate appropriators reported all twelve appropriations bills out of committee for the first time in five years. These include the bills that fund Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; and Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies.
The Senate Interior-Environment appropriations bill includes $42.7 billion in total funding, approximately $10 billion below FY 2023 enacted levels. It sets aside $15.6 billion for the Department of the Interior, which is about $400 million above FY 2023. The House Appropriations Committee had advanced its version of the bill earlier this month. Science highlights from the two bills include:
- The Senate bill would provide $1.5 billion, a roughly 1 percent increase, for the U.S. Geological Survey in FY 2024. The House has proposed a $1.35 billion budget for the agency, which is 10 percent below FY 2023, while President Biden had requested a 19 percent boost for the agency.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be funded at $1.8 billion in the Senate bill, a 1.75 percent increase compared to FY 2023. The House bill would cut its funding by 13 percent.
- The National Park Service would receive $3 billion (-12.5 percent) under the House proposal and $3.5 billion (-0.5 percent) under the Senate proposal.
- The Bureau of Land Management would get $1.2 billion (-17 percent) in the House bill and $1.5 billion (+0.3 percent) in the Senate measure.
Budget for the Environmental Protection Agency would be slashed by nearly 40 percent in the House bill, with its Science and Technology account shrinking by 30 percent. The Senate proposes a smaller 2 percent cut for the regulatory agency, with its science account being reduced by 1 percent.
The Smithsonian Institution, which received $1.14 billion in FY 2023, would see its budget cut in both in the House (-16 percent) and Senate (-4 percent) spending bills. The salaries account for the National Museum of Natural History would receive flat funding in the Senate bill. Details of program-level funding for the House bill were not available.
The Senate's Energy and Water Development spending bill includes $17.3 billion for the Department of Energy's (DOE) non-defense programs. It would provide $8.43 billion--$330 million (or 4 percent) over FY 2023--for the DOE Office of Science. The House, on the other hand, has proposed level funding for the science office. Biological and Environmental research in the Office of Science would receive $941 million (+3.5 percent) in the Senate bill and $817 million (-10 percent) in the House bill. However, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) would receive $450 million (-4 percent) in the Senate bill, which is lower than the House's allocation of $470 million (flat) for the agency.
Finally, the Senate's Labor-HHS spending bill would fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $47.7 billion, a half percent increase over FY 2023. The House version--which has been approved by its respective appropriations subcommittee and now awaits consideration by the full committee--would shrink NIH's budget by 6 percent. The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, which received $1.5 billion in FY 2023, would receive level funding under the Senate bill, but only $500 million under the House proposal. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) would receive level funding of $295 million in the House bill, while the Senate proposes a 1.7 percent cut for the agency.
The House Appropriations Committee still needs to pass two of its remaining spending bills, namely the Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which funds the National Science Foundation, and the Labor-HHS spending bill. Appropriations work is set to resume after lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in September. It remains to be seen if lawmakers can negotiate and pass all appropriations bills by the September 30 deadline. If not, Congress would need to pass a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
NSF Announces New Research Security Program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced this month that it will launch a new program to support academic research on the field of research security.
"The Research on Research Security Program will help us understand the full nature, scope, challenges and potential of this important field and its critical areas including cybersecurity, foreign travel security, research security training and export control training," noted NSF. The program will explore the nature, scope, challenges, and potential of the field of research security, including the areas of cybersecurity, foreign travel security, research security training, and export control training.
The program will fund research to assess methods for identifying research security risks and strategies for preventing and mitigating them. Through this program, NSF hopes to inform best practices for research communities and offer guidance to researchers on how to protect their work, enhance transparency and collaboration, and responsibly disclose research findings.
To support this effort, NSF plans to fund a workshop to raise awareness and bring together national and international experts in research security to identify themes and topics that should be studied by the new program. Learn more.
AIBS Signs Multisociety Statement Reaffirming Commitment to DEI
Forty-seven scientific societies and organizations, including AIBS, have joined together in the following statement reaffirming our individual societies' commitment to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in STEM:
"As organizations representing a wide range of scientific, engineering, and mathematical disciplines, we will not be deterred by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on race considerations in college and university admissions.
America's inherent strength and economic competitiveness among nations is its domestic and international talent across every race, ethnicity, gender, and geography. To meet current and emerging job demands and retain our research and development leadership globally, we must broaden who participates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. Doing so will improve lives, advance our nation's living standards, and drive economic growth.
This court ruling will limit the ways our nation might expand talent in STEMM from historically excluded communities. Despite this outcome, we are committed to seeking legally attentive strategies to ensure a full range of talent is recruited, retained, and advanced across STEMM fields. We will continue to advance initiatives that will enable all students to cultivate their talent to the highest potential and tackle societal challenges while serving their communities."
View the list of signatories.
Call for Nominations: NSF's Alan T. Waterman Award
The Alan T. Waterman Award recognizes an outstanding early career researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The annual award is the nation's highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five-year period for scientific research or advanced study in the science and engineering disciplines supported by NSF at an institution of their choice.
NSF is seeking nominations for exceptional candidates that represent the diversity of the United States. Nominations will be accepted from July 17 - September 15, 2023. An informational webinar about the award will be held August 10, 2023 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Register here.
NSF BIO Hosting Virtual Office Hours on GRFP
The Biological Sciences Directorate's (BIO) Divisions of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) and Biological Infrastructure (DBI) at the National Science Foundation will be hosting a virtual office hour, where Program Directors from the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) will share details and answer questions about the program.
The MCB event is scheduled for Wednesday, August 9, 2023 at 2:00-3:00 PM ET. Register here.
The DBI event is scheduled for Tuesday, August 15, 2023, 3:00-4:00 PM ET. Register here.
Additionally, the GRFP recently released a solicitation update (NSF 23-605), in which portions of the eligibility criteria have been rewritten for clarity. Learn more about the update.
Enter the 13th Annual Faces of Biology Photo Contest
Enter the Faces of Biology Photo Contest for a chance to win $250 and to have your photo appear on the cover of the journal BioScience.
The competition recognizes scientists who use imagery to communicate aspects of biological research to the public and policymakers. Once again, this year's competition is sponsored by the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in addition to the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).
"Photography is one of many excellent tools scientists have to showcase their work to new audiences, including policymakers and the public," said Scott Glisson, CEO of AIBS. "AIBS remains committed to strengthening scientists' ability to communicate with broad audiences. An important part of that effort has been supporting this artful approach to sharing their research."
The theme of the contest is "Faces of Biology." Photographs entered into the competition must depict a person, such as a scientist, technician, or student, engaging in biological research. The depicted research may occur outside, in a lab, with a natural history collection, on a computer, in a classroom, or elsewhere.
The winning photos from the 2022 contest were featured in the April 2023 issue of BioScience.
Submissions must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2023. For more information or to enter the contest, visit our website.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting public comments on its draft scientific integrity policy. Drafted in response to the 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-based Policymaking, the HHS policy aims "to ensure the integrity of all aspects of HHS scientific activities, including proposing, conducting, reviewing, managing, and communicating about science and scientific activities, and using the results of science to inform policy and program decision making." Comments on the draft policy are due September 1, 2023.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) is seeking nominations for experts to be considered for the membership rotation or other engagement with the Polar Research Board (PRB). The PRB provides scientific advice on issues related to the Arctic, Antarctic, and cold regions in general and strives to make research in the polar regions more productive and responsive to the needs of the United States, maintain U.S. awareness of and representation in international science programs, and enhance understanding of issues in polar regions. The deadline to submit nominations is August 11, 2023.
- NASEM seeks nominations for experts to assess the potential value of a knowledge-sharing mechanism among researchers, technical practitioners, and other stakeholders on topics related to oil spill recovery and the resilience of coupled human-environmental systems in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Alaska. Submit your nominations by August 18, 2023.
The committee on the 2025-2035 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences for the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been tasked to advise the NSF's Division on Ocean Sciences on forward-looking approaches to guide investments in research, infrastructure, and workforce development and develop a strategy to advance understanding of the ocean's role in the sustainable blue economy. A virtual public meeting, scheduled for August 2-3, 2023, will feature information from scientific ocean drilling experts on high-priority research questions and the infrastructure required to answer those questions. Learn more and register.
From the Federal Register
The following items appeared in the Federal Register from July 17 to 28, 2023.
Environmental Protection Agency
Health and Human Services
Institute of Museum and Library Services