Policy and Advocacy News

Graduate Students to Protest Proposal to Tax Tuition Waivers

December 4, 2017 | WTOP

Graduate students across the U.S. are protesting and contacting Congress about the proposed repeal of the of the tuition waiver exemption in the House tax bill. Higher education representatives and graduate students argue that increasing the tax burden on graduate students makes graduate education unaffordable and threatens the future of the scientific workforce.

  • Contact Congress and tell them to protect institutional endowments and keep tuition waivers tax free for graduate students at SfN.org

Trump Science Job Nominees Missing Advanced Science Degrees

December 5, 2017 | AP

An analysis of the Trump administration’s nominees for science-related positions found that nearly 60 percent of nominees did not hold advanced science degrees. Some have expressed concern over the lack of scientific representation given the role these officials play in informing and advising government officials on scientific decisions.

  • Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org

Fears Grow Over EU University Funding as Grants Decline Even Before Brexit

December 2, 2017 | The Guardian

British researchers are experiencing a decrease in European Union funding prior to Brexit. Poor communication of Brexit negotiations is thought to underlie the decline of UK scientists participating in the Horizon 2020 project, an EU £70 billion science fund aimed at cutting-edge research.

Opinion

Animal Lovers Should Support Animal Research, Not Condemn It. Here's Why

December 2, 2017 | Fox News

Matt Bailey, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, provides examples of treatment methods for animals that were developed as a result of animal research. Bailey encourages animal lovers to see the value in animal research, the ways in which it can benefit all animals, and challenges them to support animal researchers as they work to help pets live longer, healthier lives.  

Tax Reform Bill Hurts Science, Research

December 5, 2017 | Centre Daily Times

In this op-ed, members of Penn State’s We are for Science express their concerns over the potential tax burden graduate students could face if the provision in the House tax bill, which counts tuition waivers as taxable income, is included in the final tax bill. The authors note that STEM fields are particularly threatened by this provision since approximately 60 percent of graduate students in STEM fields receive tuition waivers.

Science Has Made America Great

December 6, 2017 | Scientific American

This piece discusses ways in which science has already made America great, specifically highlighting eight recent Nobel laureates whose scientific discoveries have contributed to America’s success. The author states that while scientific innovation is deeply rooted in U.S. history, the current administration’s anti-science agenda threatens its legacy and inadvertently encourages scientists to turn elsewhere to pursue research.   

Wanted: Academics Wise to the Needs of Government

November 30, 2017 | Nature

The editorial argues that evidence-based policymaking requires increased participation from academics and encouragement of research funders. A UK government report found that research findings are poorly conveyed to the legislature, leading to the use of information derived from government and non-profit organizations.

Articles of Interest

Brain Organoids Get Cancer, Too, Opening a New Frontier in Personalized Medicine

December 1, 2017 | STAT

Brain organoids, miniature human brains derived from stem cells, grew glioblastomas from human patient cells, offering a promising, new way to mimic tumor growth. In the future, personalized treatments may be developed by first screening their effectiveness in brain organoid glioblastomas grown from individual patient’s cells.

Human Brains Are Able to Predict the Future before the Eye Can Tell it What Happened

December 5, 2017 | Newsweek

A recent study using fMRI and optical illusions allowed researchers to see what happens during brain feedback. The study explains smooth vision by demonstrating that visual cortical feedback predicts where an object will be located and adjusts each time eyes moved.

Researchers Launch Atlas of Developing Human Brain

December 7, 2017 | EurekAlert!

Researchers at UCSF have taken steps towards creating a comprehensive atlas of genetically-defined cell types in the human brain. They analyzed single cell gene expression at time points throughout development in all brain regions and with BRAIN Initiative funding, the team plans to make their data publically available to the field by using an interactive data browser.