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Some notes on effective comments to NSF.

First, keep in mind that NSF's Federally mandated job is to support 
leading edge science. Comments like the one on the DBI Blog site that 
starts out about cultural patrimony will only contribute to the idea we 
are antiquated and no longer relevant to modern science.  Patrimony and 
history, and wonderful specimens kept safe are not what is important 
here.  Keep comments limited to the impact of the collections served by 
the CSBR program on innovative SCIENCE.  Second, NSF supports 
non-Federal research. All comments are valuable, but community comments 
should be led by the scientists who are NSF targets. Third, do not lead 
with the self-serving.  This program is about Infrastructure impact,not 
about how the program allows the collection itself to be better. Get 
people not associated with the collection to write and tell stories of 
how they use the collections. How the collection is critical to training 
STEM scientists, how the data (specimens) housed there contributed to 
innovative research findings and provided impactful benefit.  Tell 
stories about how a collection improvement grant led to the discovery of 
something, anything. How many extra loans to projects supported by NSF 
were made, how many new species were discovered because of bringing 
backlogs into the available pool of infrastructure.

Every supporting letter from people outside the collection community is 
worth two from inside.  That does not mean we don't write, and our 
groups don't lobby, but it does mean we need to reach out.  We need to 
swamp this issue with positive examples of impact on NSF supported 
science areas. The project impacted does not need to be actually NSF 
funded, but within an area that NSF funds.  Citing the NSF program areas 
that are impacted by this infrastructure is critical.

Writing letters is only half the battle, writing smart letters is what wins.

Mike

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__________________________________________________

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

US Post Office Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
USA

UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59718
USA


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