Public Affairs

Public Affairs

NIH Announces Funding Plans Under the Continuing Resolution

To keep the government operating without an approved FY 2013 budget appropriation, Congress passed and President Barack Obama approved a continuing resolution (CR) that keeps the government operating through March 27, 2013. The continuing resolution provides for government agencies to operate at approximately the same level they did in FY 2012. Since the ultimate funding level for 2013 is not known, and may be lower than 2012, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is being conservative with it’s funds. While operating under the CR, NIH will be issuing non-competing research grant awards at 90 percent of the previous committed level indicated on the most recent Notice of Award for a grant. This is consistent with what NIH has done under other recent CRs. Once a final budget is approved for 2013, the Institutes and Centers will review their portfolios and consider upward adjustments.

Also under the CR, all legislative mandates that were in effect for FY 2012 remain in effect. This means the amount of direct salary that can be charged to grants is still limited to Executive Level II of the Federal Executive Pay scale. If sequestration, the automatic cuts to all federal programs that are to take effect January 2, 2013, is not prevented, the cuts will be based on the funding levels in the CR and will lower the amount of funding available to NIH and other agencies immediately.

Report Issued on Oversight of Dual Use Life Sciences Research

A report released in October provides both the university and federal law enforcement perspectives on best practices in oversight of “dual use” life sciences research. Issued by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the report outlines challenges to oversight of dual use research and offers policy recommendations to help academic institutions and the government better ensure that materials or findings from biological research are not otherwise misused for terrorism or similarly harmful purposes. Most of the recommendations focus on improving education, communication, and community outreach.

The report, “Bridging Science and Security for Biological Research: A Discussion about Dual Use Research Review and Oversight at Research Institutions,” summarizes the second of what will be three meetings of these organizations on the topic of biosecurity. The report can be found at http://cstsp.aaas.org/files/AAAS-APLU-AAU-FBI%20report%20Final.pdf.

Sequestration:To Be or Not To Be?

Congress returned to work on November 13, 2012 to complete unfinished business, including an effort to prevent sequestration, the automatic budget cuts scheduled to take place on January 2, 2013 if Congress fails to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan prior that date. Visit the Biophysical Society’s sequestration webpage for updated information on the status of the impending sequestration, its impact on science research and education, and how you can get involved. The website can be found at http://www.biophysics.org/Policy/Federal-Budget/Sequestration/tabid/4060/Default.aspx.

December 2012 Table of Contents