News and Events – Push back on BRAIN Initiative, restructuring of STEM education, and House hearing on NSF

Posted: April 22, 2013 in Ethics, Events, Funding, Policy, Uncategorized

Urge your elected officials to sign onto the Casey Burr letter to support NIH funding for FY2014.

“Fresh from attending President Barack Obama’s announcement of the BRAIN Initiative at the White House on 2 April, Society for Neuroscience (SFN)president Larry Swanson, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles,composed this letter to SFN’s nearly 42,000 members….But the SFN letter makes it clear that Swanson wants a lid put on public criticism of the nascent project, which is expected to last more than a decade and ultimately cost several billion dollars. “It is important that our community be perceived as positive about the incredible opportunity represented in the President’s announcement,” Swanson wrote. “If we are perceived as unreasonably negative or critical about initial details, we risk smothering the initiative before it gets started.”

“The President’s request for FY 2014 significantly restructures federal spending in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.  Funding for STEM education has previously come from multiple science mission agencies but under the President’s FY 2014 proposal, it will be consolidated and restructured and will be based out of three agencies:  the Department of Education (ED), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Smithsonian Institution.”

“Yesterday, over the course of two contentious hearings, the new chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology floated the idea of having every NSF grant application include a statement of how the research, if funded, “would directly benefit the American people.” Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that he was not trying to “micromanage” the $7 billion agency but that NSF needs to do a better job of deciding what to fund given the low success rates for grant applicants and a shrinking federal budget.”

Cadence Biomedical, based in Seattle, is helping people walk again.

“The Spanish government has delayed the award of prestigious scientific grant programmes and unexpectedly reduced travel grants even as young scientists were leaving for short stays at laboratories abroad. The move has raised fears among junior and senior scientists that this could be another cut to the already battered science budget, which has gone through four years of continued reductions.”


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