News and Events: NIH grant success rate lower than projected, New EPA regulations, and US Science Laureate bill hits roadblock

Posted: September 24, 2013 in advocacy, Events, Funding, Jobs, Life as a post-doc, Policy, Science

“The automatic spending cuts and other reductions to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) budget this year have caused slightly less damage than expected, NIH Director Francis Collins said yesterday. Preliminary data show that about 50 more grants were funded than projected, he said at a forum sponsored by Research!America. But success rates may have plunged even further than the agency predicted.”

“Following through on President Barack Obama’s climate strategy, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed greenhouse gas regulations that would effectively ban coal-fired power plants unless they are equipped to capture and sequester a portion of their carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Climate science skeptics have derailed a congressional proposal to create the honorary position of U.S. science laureate. But proponents haven’t abandoned the idea of giving someone a national platform to foster public understanding of science and serve as a role model……And climate skeptic Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute says slowing the pace won’t change his organization’s stance on the bill. “There’s no way to make it work,” Ebell says. “It would still give scientists an opportunity to pontificate, and we’re opposed to it.”

“On its second day in office, Australia’s new conservative government has fulfilled an election promise by shuttering the independent Climate Commission. It also began drafting legislation to abolish a second government body, the Climate Change Authority.”

“Billions of dollars have been spent on clinical trials of Alzheimer’s drugs that target amyloid plaques—the hallmark protein tangles that clog brain cells in people with the memory-robbing disease. So far, all have failed, leading some frustrated researchers to say it’s time to move on to other drug targets. Others say the drugs have not yet been fairly tested because they were administered too late, after brain damage is irreversible. Yesterday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it is giving $33 million to a study that researchers hope will either revive the amyloid hypothesis, or put it to bed.”

“In a comprehensive report on antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t shy away from terms like “nightmare”, but its analysis is not completely pessimistic. The takeaway? It’s not too late to combat the emergence of new microbial threats.”

“The pressure is on for Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). On 21 September, the Portland university received a surprise pledge of US$500 million for its cancer institute – potentially the biggest donation in OHSU history. But there is one condition: OHSU will only receive the cash if it raises another $500 million in two years.”


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