News and Events – What Bipartisan Budget of 2013 means for science funding, FDA and antibiotics, and EU GMO potato annulled

Posted: December 15, 2013 in advocacy, Ethics, Events, Funding, Jobs, Life as a post-doc, Policy

On 12/12/13 the US House passed the Bipartisan Budget of 2013. The US Senate will likely take the bill this week, and if passed, Obama has said he will sign. The deal would do away with $63 billion of sequestration’s across the board cuts, split evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary spending.  The Health and Human Services appropriations bill will most likely include a modest budget increase for the NIH, but at most (probably) will restore funding levels to pre-sequestration levels, so while this will relieve some of the pressure, funding for science and basic biomedical research will still be grave. Appropriations bills are due by Jan. 15th. Go here for ScienceInsider’s write-up of the deal and its implications for research funding.

“Science played only a minor role in today’s key statement on government spending from George Osborne, the United Kingdom’s chancellor of the exchequer. But he did promise more funding for science courses at universities, as the government seeks to expand the number of students in higher education. To this end, 30,000 extra university places will be created next year, and the current cap on numbers will be abolished entirely the year after that.”

“The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a set of guidelines intended to curb the widespread use of antibiotics for livestock, which contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria (see Nature‘s feature story ‘MRSA: Farming up trouble’). But some worry that the voluntary nature of the rules — and their many loopholes — will do little to fix the problem.”

“Three lawsuits filed last week that attempted to achieve “legal personhood” for four chimpanzees living in New York have been struck down. The suits, brought by the animal rights group the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), targeted two chimps on private property and two in a research lab at Stony Brook University in New York. They were the first step in a nationwide campaign to grant legal rights to a variety of animals.”

“The General Court of the European Union has annulled the authorization to grow and sell a genetically modified (GM) potato called Amflora in the European Union.”

“This week, we’re celebrating Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week), which highlights the importance of computer science in our education system.  To recognize CS Ed Week this year, we encourage everyone to participate in the Hour of Code. It’s an easy way for anyone to learn computer science and see that it’s fun, creative, and challenging.”

“The internet’s wealth of free chemistry data just got significantly larger. Today, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) has launched a website — — that allows anyone to search through 15 million chemical structures, extracted automatically by data-mining software from world patents.”


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