FASEB Update

Prepared by Barbara Bryant, ISCB liaison to the FASEB Board of Directors and Public Affairs Executive Committee

ISCB became a member of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 2003. Updates and notices are published via the ISCB newsletter and website to keep members informed of the issues FASEB is working on. Further background on ISCB’s interaction can be found at http://www.iscb.org/newsletter7-2/faseb.html and FASEB announcements are frequently posted at http://www.iscb.org/faseb.shtml .

The FASEB offers a legislative action center at http://capwiz.com/faseb/home/ and sends alerts, such as NIH funding and stalled genetic nondiscrimination legislation, to interested members. To receive electronic legislative action alerts sign up at http://capwiz.com/faseb/mlm/?ignore_cookie=1

Recent FASEB activities in public policy:

• NIH funding levels for 2005 are looking relatively grim, with a decrease in funding after accounting for inflation. FASEB is lobbying for a larger NIH budget by trying to increase the overall allocation to discretionary funding (which includes the NIH budget), as opposed to fighting for a larger fraction of the existing dollars. This approach allows partnering with other organizations that would otherwise be competitors.

• There is concern that negative publicity surrounding congressional hearings addressing the issue of NIH employees receiving consulting fees from companies will erode public and political support for NIH.

• FASEB has participated with the National Academy of Sciences in meetings and research to develop new ideas for supporting post docs and new investigators. Some of the discussion focuses on supporting new investigators in the grant process, with mentoring, review practice changes, and rules changes.

• FASEB has been active in support of stem cell research; the topic is gaining publicity and momentum; Nancy Reagan’s advocacy is one example of this.

• FASEB has been working with the Office of Research Integrity to revise proposed regulation on research misconduct.

• In response to increasing animal rights activism, FASEB is creating presentation materials useful in the education of the public as well as specialized groups. The materials describe rules on protections and animal care, how to report suspected abuse, the extent to which computer and cell line models can replace animals, and medical progress which could only have happened by means of animal research.

• Foreign students and scientists have experienced increasing difficulties in traveling to and from the United States as a result of “homeland security.” FASEB is working with other organizations to advocate streamlined visa processing to address this problem.