Board of Directors March 13, 2020 Meeting Summary

FASEB’s in-person Board of Director’s meeting was scheduled to be held in Arlington, Virginia, March 13, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was cancelled and held virtually. 

The meeting kicked off with the much-anticipated announcement that the FASEB Campus sale was completed with the French International School on March 10. The sale provides the Federation with much needed capital that will be invested per the recommendations of the Finance Committee working in conjunction with FASEB’s investment advisors. FASEB Executive Director/CEO Frank Krause reported that the pandemic will likely disrupt key Federation operations that will impact the Federation’s 2020 budget.

Program/Operations Updates

  • Virtual Capitol Hill Day — The Board was briefed on efforts to conduct virtual activities designed to replace the cancelled in-person Capitol Hill Day.
  • 2019 Financial Results (unaudited) — FASEB staff presented the unaudited 2019 financials, reporting a projected a break-even profit of $24k which includes one-time restructuring costs and net costs related to maintaining the building and campus.
  • COVID-19 Impacts — There was extensive Board discussion on the potential impacts of COVID-19 on FASEB’s revenue-generating programs, with a focus on the 2020 Science Research Conferences.
  • Membership — Krause provided an update on the membership status of societies for 2020, reporting 26 full members, one associate member, and two societies that remain unconfirmed (one of which may request a hardship waiver). Louis I. Justement, FASEB’s President-elect and Chair of the Membership Committee, reported on efforts to refine communications to Associate members and the Federation’s efforts to begin proactively recruiting new members.

Board Actions

The Board approved the following: 

  • A comprehensive set of amendments to the Federation Bylaws
  • FASEB’s response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Request for Comments (RFC) on desirable characteristics of data repositories used to locate, manage, share, and utilize data resulting from federally funded research
  • Comments on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative Update presented to the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health during its December 2019 meeting.

2020 Board Work Plan

Much of the meeting focused on developing the Board’s 2020 work plan – a plan documenting the Board’s specific strategic objectives over the coming year, in addition to its ongoing functions developing and approving science policy statements, operating plans and budgets, and membership engagements.

After discussion, the Board approved a 2020 work plan involving these concepts:

  • Emerging issues and revenue opportunities
  • Data science
  • Shared research resources

To provide funding to drive these concepts forward, the Board approved adoption of a Strategic Initiative and Investment (SII) approach to provide funding for strategic initiatives and investments through a budget equal to FASEB’s targeted investment return policy.

FASEB staff summarized proposals for five initial SII projects with a total 2020 budget of $586,00:

  • A Geohealth partnership with the American Geophysical Union
  • Development and fund raising
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion staff
  • Technology upgrades
  • Data management initiatives

After extensive Board discussion, largely focused on potential impacts to FASEB posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Board approved an initial $50,000 investment for technology upgrades to enhance FASEB’s SRC program.