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Public Policy Report for 6 November 2006

Applications for 2007 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leader Award Now Available

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is pleased to announce that applications for the 2007 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leader Award are now available. The EPPLA was established by AIBS in 2003 as a way to recognize and further the science policy interests of graduate students in the biological sciences and science education.

More information about prior EPPLA recipients is available online at http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/policy_training.html.

Application information is below and available online at Graduate Student Policy Training Opportunity.

AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leader Award

Applications Due by 5 p.m. Friday, 16 February 2007

As part of its focus on engaging scientists in the public policy process, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is pleased to offer the AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leader Award (EPPLA). The EPPLA is an opportunity for graduate students in the biological sciences to receive first-hand experience in the policy arena. AIBS pays travel costs and expenses for 1-2 EPPLA recipients to participate in a Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition Congressional Visits Day (CVD) in Washington, D.C. on April 17-18, 2007 (dates subject to change). This is an annual event that brings scientists and science educators to Washington, D.C. to raise visibility and support for the biological sciences. The EPPLA recipient(s) will attend briefings by key officials from the White House and Congress and a reception honoring members of Congress for their work on behalf of biology. Participants will also meet with members of Congress and their staff to explain the importance of federal support for scientific research.

AIBS is now accepting applications for the 2007 Emerging Public Policy Leader Award from graduate students (master's or doctoral) in the biological sciences with a demonstrated interest in and commitment to biological science and/or science education policy. Submit applications electronically to publ...@aibs.org NO LATER than 5 p.m. on Friday, 16 February 2006.

Applications should include the following materials:

  • Cover letter. Applicants should describe their interest in science policy issues and how participation in this CVD event would further their career goals. Applicants should also confirm their availability to attend the April 17-18 event.

  • Statement on the importance of biological research (max. 500 words). The objective of CVD is to communicate to decision makers the long-term importance of the biological sciences to the nation. How would you convince your congressional delegation of the importance of biological research? Prepare a statement that emphasizes the benefits of biological research, drawing on your own experience and/or research area, and referencing local issues that may be of interest to your congressional delegation as appropriate.

  • Resume (1 page). Your resume should emphasize leadership and communication experience - this may include graduate, undergraduate, or non-academic activities. Please include the following items: education (including relevant law or policy courses), work experience, honors and awards, and memberships. Please do not list conference presentations, abstracts or scientific manuscripts.

  • Letter of reference. Ask an individual who can attest to your leadership, interpersonal and communication skills to send a letter on your behalf to publ...@aibs.org by the stated deadline. This individual should also be familiar with your interest in or experience with science or education policy issues.

Note: Prior EPPLA recipients and AIBS science policy interns/fellows are not eligible.

Questions about the award should be addressed to AIBS Director of Public Policy, Dr. Robert Gropp at (202)-628-1500 x 250.

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Reminder: November 7 is Election Day

The 2006 mid-term elections are on Tuesday, 7 November 2006. Voting information may be obtained or confirmed by contacting your state or county elections board.

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NSB Seeks New Members

The National Science Foundation and the National Science Board (NSB) are seeking nominations for NSB membership. The National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, states that: "The persons nominated for appointment as members of the Board (1) shall be eminent in the fields of the basic, medical, or social sciences, engineering, agriculture, education, research management, or public affairs; (2) shall be selected solely on the basis of established records of distinguished service; and (3) shall be so selected as to provide representation of the views of scientific and engineering leaders in all areas of the Nation.'' Furthermore, the NSB, in reviewing candidates will look at the demographics, balance among professional fields, active researchers/teachers and administrators, and industrial representation. Additionally, the NSB seeks equitable representation of individuals from underrepresented groups, and provides explicit criteria and eligibility requirements for membership on the Board.

Letters of nomination accompanied by biographical information and a curriculum vita (without publications) may be forwarded to the Chairman, National Science Board, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 1220, Arlington, VA 22230.

For further information contact: Michael P. Crosby, Executive Officer and Board Office Director, (703) 292-7000, mcrosby@nsf.gov or Mrs. Susan E. Fannoney, Senior Associate for Operations and Honorary Awards, Board Office (703-292-8096), sfannone@nsf.gov.

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Hays Confirmed as Associate Director for Science at OSTP

The United States Senate confirmed Dr. Sharon Hays as the new associate director for science at the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy on 29 September 2006. Hays fills the post vacated by Dr. Kathie Olsen, who is now deputy director of the National Science Foundation. Hays previously served as chief of staff at the Office of Science and Technology Policy prior to her nomination by President Bush earlier this year. She has also served as staff director of the Subcommittee on Research on the Committee on Science in the United States House of Representatives. Hays received her bachelor's degree from the University of California and her PhD in biochemistry from Stanford University.

In 21 September 2006 testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Hays stated, "Science is an increasingly integral and important part of the Federal government, as evidenced in part by recent record-breaking budgets for Federally-funded research. The President's FY 2007 budget requested $137 billion for research and development—the highest level ever. The American Competitiveness Initiative, announced in the President's State of the Union address, includes a significant new Federal research agenda." Her priorities include maintaining balance in the federal research and development portfolio, mobilizing science in support of national challenges, and improving math and science education.

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Employment Opportunity: AIBS Education and Outreach Manager

See details at http://www.aibs.org/classifieds/aibs_positions_available.html#2621

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) seeks a full-time experienced Education and Outreach Manager to join its senior staff and direct all aspects of the AIBS Education Office program from its Washington DC headquarters office, as described at www.aibs.org/education. The successful candidate will have advanced training and professional experience in formal and informal science education and/or science communication. An advanced degree and at least five years of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities described herein are required; PhD preferred. AIBS employment benefits include healthcare and retirement plan. Send cover letter, resume, writing samples, and salary requirements to: AIBS Executive Director, Education and Outreach Search, AIBS, 1444 Eye St. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005, FAX; 202-628-1509, rogr...@aibs.org. Qualified women, minority, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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Predator Control Debate Still Alive in Alaska and British Columbia

Alaskans for Wildlife (AFW), a resident group of scientists, sportsmen, Native communities and recreation-enthusiasts have successfully gained enough signatures to place a measure on the 2008 ballot to stop the practice referred to as "same-day shooting" of wolves and bears. "We are confident that our efforts will pay off. This ballot initiative will allow Alaskans to once again stop private hunters from using aircraft to shoot wolves across large areas of the state in the absence of a biological emergency or sound scientific data," states Joel Bennett, president of AFW. The measure was also placed on the 1996 and 2000 ballots, both of which were voted for by the state and later turned over by the state legislature. Over 57,000 signatures have been collected, which is much higher than the 31, 451 required signatures.

Same-day airborne shooting, also called "land and shoot" is a technique currently used by Alaska-permitted residents to shoot wolves and grizzly bears in areas where the state feels there are too many predators. Using this method, a person can use an aircraft to spot a wolf or bear, then land and shoot the animal immediately. This method of predator control has long been seen as unethical by many groups, including sportsmen groups within the state of Alaska. The program was reinstated by Governor Frank Murkowski in 2003 even though the state voted to ban the practice in 1996.

Similar predator-control programs are being designed elsewhere. In British Columbia, Canada, government report released on 24 October 2006 suggested the use of predator control to increase the diminishing mountain caribou herds throughout the province. Although the decline has been linked to reduced food availability, some government officials want to instate a predator control program targeted at wolves, cougars and black bears, as well as prey species that "attract" the predators, such as elk and deer. "They're blaming the predators when the real culprits in this thing are the extractive resource users," reports a biologist with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, a regional environmental organization. The report will be available for public comment.

Scientists have historically criticized the practice and methods of predator control The American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) sent resolutions to the state of Alaska in both 2005 and 2006 denouncing the lack of rigorous scientific study in the use of aerial gunning for predators in Alaska. A June 2006 statement issued by ASM expressed scientists' concerns over Alaska's predator control programs. "We further recommend that assessment of predator control be conducted with approaches of sufficient scope, duration, and spatial scale to implement adaptive-management practices that will ensure the conservation of the Alaskan ecosystem and its unique mammalian fauna."

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New in BioScience: "National Academy of Sciences Issues Gender Equity Plan"

In the November 2006 Washington Watch article in BioScience, Robert Gropp reports on the National Academies latest report to increase the representation of women in university science and technology faculties.

Following is a brief excerpt from the article:

  • Over the past several decades, various agencies, committees, and individual scientists have called for greater gender equity within the ranks of the science and engineering faculty at colleges and universities in the United States. Despite these calls to action, most workforce policy watchers note that progress has, at best, been slow.

  • According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), "Forty years ago, women made up only 3 percent of America's scientific and technical workers, but by 2003 they accounted for nearly one-fifth." Moreover, women have accounted for more than half of the bachelor's degrees awarded in science and engineering since 2000. Nonetheless, the representation of women on university faculties of science does not reflect these trends. "Among science and engineering PhDs, four times more men than women hold full-time faculty positions. And minority women with doctorates are less likely than white women or men of any racial or ethnic groups to be in tenure positions," according to the September 2006 NAS report Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.

  • The full article may be read at: www.aibs.org/washington-watch/washington_watch_2006_11.html.

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