News and Events: Controversial First Act, animal rights extremists, and a new National Science Foundation director

Posted: March 16, 2014 in advocacy, Ethics, Events, Funding, Jobs, Life as a post-doc, Policy

http://news.sciencemag.org/funding/2014/03/first-step-first-bill-exposes-party-differences

“Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives today laid out their arguments for keeping the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a short leash. It was the latest salvo in a yearlong battle with Democrats over the nature of federal support for basic research.

The setting was a markup of controversial legislation, H.R. 4186, by the research panel of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The bill, called the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act, would reauthorize research and education programs at NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and provide greater oversight of federal efforts in science education. ”

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-11/news/chi-durbin-calls-for-150b-spending-on-biomedical-research-20140311_1_durbin-biomedical-research-nih-research

“Sen. Dick Durbin today called for $150 billion more in federal spending on biomedical research over 10 years, saying America’s place as the world’s innovation leader is at risk because it no longer invests enough in basic science.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/03/animal-rights-extremists-increasingly-targeting-individuals

“Animal rights activists have dramatically shifted their tactics over the last decade, targeting individual researchers and the businesses that support them, instead of going after their universities. That’s the biggest revelation to come out of a report released today by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/ancient-hominin-little-foot-older-than-thought.html

“Little Foot, the world’s most complete hominin fossil, dates back much further than the widely thought 2.2 million years, and should help scientists narrow down the identity of the first human ancestor, according to new research published today in the Journal of Human Evolution*. The findings were announced at simultaneous press conferences in Paris and Johannesburg.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/03/evidence-mounts-against-reprogrammed-stem-cell-papers

“Amid mounting allegations of problematic images and plagiarism, the lead author and two co-authors are considering retracting two controversial papers describing a simple method for creating stem cells known as STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency). Their written statement was released during a press conference here today at which an investigating committee confirmed finding problems in the papers but stopped short of rendering a judgment on research misconduct.”

 

http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/03/12/collecting-data-on-postdoc-benefits/

“NIH’s biomedical research workforce initiatives, which implement Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) recommendations, include improving graduate student and postdoctoral research training through a number of measures, including increasing postdoctoral stipends to reflect years of training, and considering policies on benefits. In February we announced increases to NRSA stipend levels in the NIH Guide. Today, I’d like to talk about how we are proceeding with evaluating postdoc benefits.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/switzerland-to-provide-grants-while-european-funding-is-on-hold.html

“The Swiss government is stepping in to support individual researchers currently excluded from receiving grants from the European Union.

Hundreds of Switzerland-based scientists who had applied, or intended to apply, for European Research Council (ERC) grants have been badly hit by the fallout of a referendum last month which obliges the Swiss government to restrict immigration into the country. In response, the European Union suspended talks with Switzerland over its association with the EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 research programme, of which the ERC is a part.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/us-senate-votes-to-confirm-france-cordova-as-nsf-director.html

“The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has a new leader. The US Senate voted today to confirm astrophysicist France Córdova to lead the agency, roughly a year after former director Subra Suresh resigned mid-term.”

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