News and events: Obama’s FY2014 budget and science funding, CLARITY, and sexual harassment in the research field

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Ethics, Events, Funding, Jobs, Policy, Science

FASEB Washington Update regarding President Obama’s recently released FY2014 budget and NIH funding. “President Obama requested $31.3 billion for NIH in FY 2014, an increase of $471 million (1.5 percent) above the FY 2012 funding level.” Specifics for Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, workforce diversity,  Big Data, and increased trainee stipends are also included. Important note: the President’s budget assumes (big assumption) that sequestration will be turned off, so the actual budget increase from FY2013 is about 6.8%. Additional information regarding other science research funding agencies can be found here and here.

Congressional Justification of the NIH fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request.

“Myriad Genetics, a Utah biotechnology company, discovered and isolated two genes — BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 — that are highly associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad patented its discovery, giving it a 20-year monopoly over use of the genes for research, diagnostics and treatment. A group of researchers, medical groups and patients sued, challenging the patent as invalid.” Oral arguments in the US Supreme Court begin today.

“Scientists at Stanford Universityreported on Wednesday that they have made a whole mouse brain, and part of a human brain, transparent so that networks of neurons that receive and send information can be highlighted in stunning color and viewed in all their three-dimensional complexity without slicing up the organ.”

“Five Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and two on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NIH’s budget wrote NIH Director Francis Collins about the matter on 12 April. Theirletter cites a recent editorial in Nature that discusses an investigation by a Washington, D.C.-based newsletter,The Cancer Letter, that found that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) spent $45 million on communications in 2012, almost twice the amount spent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The lawmakers note thatNature suggested that the money could have funded 100 research grants.”

“Anthropologist Kathryn Clancy, who authored the study, found a disturbingly high incidence of physical sexual harassment among respondents: More than 20% of female bioanthropologists who took part said that she had experienced “physical sexual harassment or unwanted sexual contact.” Most of these victims are female, and most of the perpetrators were colleagues of superior professional status, sometimes the victim’s own fieldwork mentor.”

“More hints of dark matter have emerged from the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), which hunts for the theorized particles from the depths of a mine in Minnesota.”



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