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Volume 7, Issue 2
Call for Nominations
as Member of FASEB
and Opportunities of Interest
Membership in FASEB
By Barbara Bryant, Ph.D.
ISCB Secretary and representative on the FASEB Board of Directors
joined the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
) in 2003. The ISCB Board had been interested in a number of public
policy issues, including open source software (definitions, funding
requirements, and the freedom of academic researchers to contribute
open source code to the community), open access to scientific journals,
government funding for bioinformatics, and better functioning of
grant review bodies. We were interested in joining with groups that
would give our Society greater access to government to have
our voice heard more effectively, to learn more about how things
work, and to track current issues of relevance to ISCB members.
was our choice for gaining this access within the United States.
We remain interested in identifying similar organizations and forging
such relationships in other countries as well, and plan to dedicate
part of our ISCB open business meeting during ISMB to that question;
since well be in Scotland this summer, well focus particularly
on how to expand our public policy voice within Europe.
has been a longstanding advocate for increased federal funding for
biomedical research. The organization played a very active role
in achieving the doubling of the NIH budget in five years. FASEB
staffers keep tabs on the progress of budget negotiations, provide
supporting information to Congress, and advocate for target budgets
acts as a watchdog in science policy in Washington DC, responding
to events and issues as need be. Some of the issues that were addressed
members of congress proposed defunding specific NIH grants (mostly
related to behavioral research in populations like homosexuals
and prostitutes at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases).
- FASEB objected
to the politically motivated replacement of two members of President
Bushs Bioethics Commission with people more aligned with
the administrations views.
- New management
at the Veterans Administration defunded grants whose investigators
had been told were approved, and changed the grant evaluation
process in a way that diminished the importance of peer review.
- FASEB has
done a lot of advocacy and educational outreach around stem cell
research, which the current US administration will not fund.
- FASEB participated
in successful efforts to revise the Office of Financial Assets
Controls ban on editorial services to authors from nations
covered by its embargo (including Cuba, Libya and North Korea)
scientific publishers responded to calls for a wholesale move
to the open access (author pays; reader gets immediate free access).
FASEB has active
programs in educational outreach to the public and public policy
decision-makers. The Breakthroughs in Bioscience series is an example.
FASEB also works on training and career opportunities for scientists.
Of particular concern to FASEB are pay, benefits and quality of
work for postdocs. Recently, FASEB co-sponsored a meeting on this
interacts with FASEB
interaction with FASEB is via ISCB Board and Executive Committee
members Barb Bryant and David Rocke, and Executive Officer BJ Morrison
McKay. Bryant sits on the FASEB Board, Public Affairs Executive
Committee and Science Policy Committee. She chairs FASEBs
Corporate Relations Committee. Rocke sits on the Science Policy
Committee and the Corporate Relations Committee. In these roles,
they communicate ISCBs priorities and stands on issues. They
feed information back to ISCB Board and the relevant committees
for a given issue. ISCB members are encouraged to send their thoughts
directly to Bryant and Rocke, and to consult the Public Affairs
section of the ISCB website. FASEB activities and updates are available
on the ISCB website at http://www.iscb.org/faseb.shtml
. Those interested in regular email updates and/or daily summaries
of science policy issues in Washington DC should notify Barb Bryant.
As a fairly
young society, ISCB also has the opportunity to benefit operationally
from membership in FASEB. Our Executive Officer has access to management
practices and expertise of the FASEB member societies, and we will
participate in FASEBs five-year strategic planning session