ASM Urges Support for Microbiome Research in FY 2022 Budget

May 19, 2021

The American Society for Microbiology led the efforts of microbiome stakeholders in calling on Congress to consider additional support and coordination of microbiome research in the FY2022 appropriations process. Specifically, stakeholders requested that Congress request an update from the Office of Science and Technology Policy on the implementation of the Interagency Strategic Plan for Microbiome Research (2018-2022).

Dear Chairman Leahy, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations committed to advancing scientific research on the microbiome, we would like to thank the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for their ongoing support for scientific research. As scientists continue to explore the connection between microbiomes and a broad spectrum of important issues, such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance, we are requesting increased coordination and support for microbiome research across Federal science agencies.

Research on the microbiome aims to advance understanding of microbial communities (microbiomes) and how they interact with the world around us. This research has broad, practical implications for human nutrition, health care, food production and environmental restoration to benefit individuals, communities and the environment. Understanding of the microbiome has evolved significantly since the concept of the human microbiome emerged roughly 2 decades ago. Today it is understood that microbial communities exist on, in, and around people, plants, animals, soil, oceans and the atmosphere, making the microbiome relevant to all living things. The rapid pace of discovery has led to greater technology needs and data sharing infrastructure.

The Interagency Strategic Plan for Microbiome Research FY2018-2022, developed by the Microbiome Interagency Working Group (MIWG), provides recommendations for improving coordination of microbiome research among Federal agencies and between agencies and non-Federal domestic and international microbiome research efforts. The 5-year Strategic Plan provides recommendations for improving coordination of microbiome research activities in 8 Target Areas across 21 government agencies, including the Department of Energy Office of Science, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The Strategic Plan also proposes interagency objectives, structure and operating principles, and recommends 3 areas to transform microbiome discoveries to solutions:
  1. Supporting interdisciplinary and collaborative research to enable a predictive understanding the function of microbiomes in diverse ecosystems to enhance public health, food, and environmental security and grow new bioeconomy product areas.
  2. Developing platform technologies to generate critical insights and to improve access to and sharing of microbiome data across ecosystems.
  3. Expanding the microbiome workforce through educational opportunities, citizen science and public engagement.
As the Strategic Plan’s term ends in FY 2022, you can ensure that this important initiative can reach its
full potential by requesting that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) evaluate the
progress made and develop a proposal for continuation of the work in the next iteration of the
Strategic Plan. We request that you also consider whether the Federal investment has been adequate
to fully realize the promise of microbiome research.

With the requisite federal support, we can further scientific understanding of the microbiome and its
functions and lead to the diverse application of discovery in biomedical, agricultural, built environment, atmospheric sciences and national defense.
 
Sincerely,

American Society for Microbiology
Agricultural Microbiomes Research Coordination Network
American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
American Geophysical Union
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Phytopathological Society
American Society for Nutrition
American Society of Agronomy
Biophysical Society
Crop Science Society of America
Endocrine Society
Geological Society of America
International Agricultural Microbiome Research Coordination Network
Microbiome Centers Consortium
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Rochester Institute of Technology
Soil Health Institute
Soil Science Society of America
Tufts University
Union of Concerned Scientists
University of California San Diego
University of California System
Wisconsin Energy Institute

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.