The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance), and Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) — the founding members of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) — have sent a letter in support of collections to congressional leadership and members of the conference committee working to reconcile the United States Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) and the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521).
“We are writing today to respectfully urge you to ensure that the final conferenced bill includes robust sustainable growth in authorized funding for both existing programs as well as the new technology directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF),” wrote the societies. The groups also requested the inclusion of collections-related provisions in Division B, Title III of the America COMPETES Act—first introduced as the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225)—in the final conferenced legislation.
The letter applauded the emphasis placed on the importance of sustained support for biological research collections in H.R. 2225. Key collections-related provisions in the bill include language reinforcing the need to sustain support for collection and digitization efforts, the need for specimen management plans, and the need to establish an Action Center for Biological Collections to facilitate coordination and data sharing among communities of practice for research, education, workforce training, evaluation, and business model development. These provisions are supported by the 2020 report on biological collections from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine as well as the Extended Specimen Report from BCoN.