I am delighted to share in the graduation of DEBrief from its pilot phase into a full-blown blog from the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB). The pilot phase took advantage of social media, adding a new communication tool to the interactions of DEB with the research community. In the ten months it has been up, the blog has logged more than 34,000 unique views, and DEB has received numerous notes thanking NSF for taking this action to share information with the community and improve transparency.
The Foundation embraces fully the aspirational statement by President Obama to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009. His statement: “Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been before.” With accelerating environmental change has come a renewed focus on the relevance of fundamental research findings in ecology, evolutionary biology, and the biodiversity sciences. The blog opens a new portal by which NSF can gauge community interests and answer questions about support for these critical fields of inquiry.
The Foundation emphasizes possibilities as well as experiences with success. When you read some of the Meet DEB blog posts, you will gain insights on our hardworking staff. Take a look at the posts on various myths about funding and the debunking of them; many of the misunderstandings the blog cites are not unique to DEB. With this blog, the division has a robust means of transparent, accessible and most importantly, two-way communication with the community. It is particularly exciting for me to be here at NSF as the promise of social media unfolds in accord with the mission of NSF. I hope that other units in the Foundation can learn from the DEBrief experience, as the NSF looks forward to engaging our community in new and improved ways.
We value strongly the relationships we have built with you in the community. I am proud of the efforts that our entire NSF team undertakes to support the NSF mission, and I congratulate DEB on this highly creative step.
Dr. Cora Marrett
National Science Foundation
Editor’s Note: We began this blog in February 2013 as a 6-month pilot activity. We hit that mark in August and have optimistically continued to provide new material while awaiting more concrete news of our future. So we are very pleased to share this news with you from NSF’s Acting Director, Cora Marrett.