Last Revised 2003
Under review in 2010 as part of AIBS's Long-Range Planning Activities
Updates will be Posted Here; Contact the AIBS Executive Director for More Information
The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. AIBS seeks to facilitate communication and interactions among biologists, professional biological societies, and biological and other scientific disciplines, as well as to serve and advance the interests of biology in the broader scientific community and in other components of society.
AIBS serves as a national umbrella organization for the biological sciences, particularly for organismal and integrative biology, presenting objective scientific findings relevant to research, education, and public policy on a wide range of issues affecting people and nature. Issues of particular concern include biodiversity, bioethics, biology education, environmental degradation, evolution, human-modified and natural ecosystems, human populations, and sustainable natural resources. AIBS promotes an understanding of the natural world to guide society in making decisions and solving problems.
Each biological professional society has its own history, culture, approach, and mission, and this pluralism is a valuable characteristic of innovative research. However, because of this organizational diversity, biologists rarely speak with one voice even when there is agreement among the various disciplines and societies. AIBS, while respecting the objectives of each society, will enhance the interactions among them and help provide a unified voice for the biological community.
As the organization that represents the broadest array of biologists, AIBS has a special responsibility to keep its membership informed on major issues in a timely manner, thereby allowing individual members and affiliate societies to contribute to the policy-making process. AIBS will act as a single source from which scientists can obtain professional and organizational information. AIBS will create and maintain a national directory, develop and maintain an electronic bulletin board for all biologists, and enhance contact with each member society.
AIBS will encourage participation in scientific meetings by an increasingly diverse array of professional biological societies. AIBS will increase its interactions with each society in planning these meetings to ensure that the specific objectives of each are achieved.
AIBS will work in partnership with affiliate societies to identify the need for unified efforts on issues and will convene meetings to develop protocols and mechanisms to represent their common interests most effectively. For example, AIBS-organized coalitions could focus on ecosystem management, sustainable agriculture, and collections and systematics. AIBS will develop a model format to achieve consensus building or coordinated action plans.
AIBS's most important role is to represent the organismal and integrative community of biologists. AIBS should therefore convey biological knowledge and expertise into all appropriate phases of public activity. In addition to improving the science base for decision-making, this role promotes recognition of and support for the many subdisciplines of biology. Biologists operate in a wide variety of scientific disciplines; in fact, each discipline has its own terminology, research approach, and professional organizations. Yet these diverse biological disciplines have common issues and concerns. Their effectiveness will be maximized if the responsibility to address these common interests rests with a single organization that works in partnership with and has the support of its member societies.
The effectiveness of AIBS will be limited by the societies participating in the Institute. Therefore, promotion of membership in AIBS of societies with appropriate interests is critical.
In conjunction with its member societies, AIBS will systematically develop and address an agenda of biological issues and concerns. This agenda will reflect the highest national and international biological priorities. Actions taken to address the agenda will be designed to heighten public understanding. The agenda will be modified as new priorities arise.
AIBS will promote good science by continuing to provide federal agencies with quality peer review of research grants in order to ensure that state-of-the-art research is conducted. AIBS will also coordinate and facilitate policy studies for various agencies on a contract basis.
This network will be developed and will be used to provide scientific information to congressional staff members, assist congressional committees in selecting appropriate biological science experts as key witnesses for hearings, and promote special events that inform federal officials about issues on the AIBS agenda.
AIBS will develop programs that expand career, professional development, and service opportunities for women, minorities, and disabled persons in the biological sciences. In order to establish greater equity and access to the biological profession, AIBS will work to remove the barriers that have limited the abilities of people from underrepresented groups to achieve the full potential of their scientific talent. AIBS will continue to offer programs at its meetings and will coordinate with other national organizations in strengthening human resource programs.
Recognition by peers for outstanding work and achievements in research, education, and public service is essential to any profession. As the most comprehensive umbrella organization for biologists, AIBS will develop a comprehensive annual awards program.
Safeguarding the biosphere and promoting sustainable global development increasingly depends upon understanding the earth's biological interactions. Maintaining the integrity of the biosphere therefore depends upon a strong research, education, and outreach program with resources adequate to support the increasing demand for biological scientists and students, as well as a scientifically-literate public.
AIBS will disseminate reports, documents, and other scientific information in print and electronic form through vehicles such as its journal, BioScience, as well as newsletters, white papers, and Internet postings.
AIBS will continue to assist federal agencies that sponsor biological research and education programs. This assistance will take many forms, including
A large proportion of the nation's biological education and research is conducted in colleges and universities, but colleges and universities are addressing a growing number of demands with insufficient financial resources. To bolster biology at colleges and universities, AIBS will promote the importance of the discipline through expert panels, effective speakers, and written, video, and digital materials. In addition, AIBS will assist state and federal agencies in developing policies, programs, and funding priorities to meet the future demands for professional biologists. AIBS will also encourage support for special facilities such as field stations, botanical gardens, museums, and preserves.
The AIBS Scientific Peer Advisory and Review Services division (SPARS) will continue to assemble peer-review panels to conduct reviews of research proposals for various federal agencies. AIBS will also review university biology departments and other research facilities at the request of institutions and organizations. In addition, AIBS will work closely with the National Science Foundation and others to coordinate efforts in K-12 and undergraduate biology education.