Policy and Advocacy News

Trump Cuts to NSF Mostly Rejected by House Panel, But it Nixes New Ships

June 28, 2017 | Nature

The House Commerce, Science, and Justice Committee will vote on a FY18 spending bill that includes a NSF budget proposal of $7.3 billion, $685 million above the administrations FY18 request. The budget proposal for NSF would also eliminate funding for three mid-size research vessels and apply those extra funds to NSF’s research programs.

 

Scientists in Limbo as US Supreme Court Allows Modified Travel Ban

June 26, 2017 | Nature

The US Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate a limited version of the administrations travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries is causing uncertainty for students and scientists who hope to study or work in the US. The Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the ban in October but researchers worry that uncertainty over immigration may have already driven away international talent from the US.

 

Canada's Basic Science at Risk of Fading Away, Report Argues

June 28, 2017 | Science

According a recently released report, Canada’s scientific enterprise is at risk of decline as a result of funding cuts and misguided government and grant policies. The authors of the study also note that the steady shift away from basic science has left fewer researchers in the scientific community focused on fundamental research.

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Putin Tightens Controls Over Russian Academy of Sciences

June 27, 2017 | Science

One of Russia’s parliamentary chambers passed the first draft of a new law that would tighten the government’s control over the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The bill introduced three major changes: all RAS presidential candidates must be approved by the government, a candidate can be elected by winning more than 50% of the vote instead of the current 2/3 threshold, and the newly elected president must be approved by the Russian President.

Opinion

Let Science Be a Springboard for Politics

June 27, 2017 | Nature

James Martin, chemistry professor at North Carolina State University and Wake County Board of Education member, discusses his experience as a scientist and an elected official, the relationship between science and politics, and provides advice for scientists interested in becoming more politically active. Martin also states his belief that an increase in politically active scientists would benefit science and society.

 

Trump's Tight Science Budget Will Hurt Tech Business Start-Ups

June 28, 2017 | Scientific American

Rohit Shukla, CEO of the Larta Institute, argues that the administration’s proposed cuts to science agencies would negatively affect promising small business and startups. Shukla highlights the relationship between private industry and federal research, and calls for continued investment in scientific innovations.

 

The NIH is Squandering an Opportunity to Fund More Researchers

June 26, 2017 | STAT

G. William Rebeck, neuroscience professor at Georgetown University, discusses the NIH’s decision to scrap the Grant Support Index (GSI) plan and instead create the Next Generation Researchers Initiative. Rebeck argues that the Initiative will not address the current funding disadvantage early career scientists face and that the originally proposed GSI would have done more to help train the next generation of researchers.

Articles of Interest

The Rogue Protein Behind Parkinson's Disease May Also Protect Your Gut

June 27, 2017 | Science

Researchers have found that an intestinal protein connected to Parkinson’s, a-synuclein, may actually defend the intestines when in its normal form. In patients with Parkinson’s disease, the protein is known to accumulate in toxic clumps in the brain and nerves of the gut wall, but until now, researchers were unaware of the protein’s purpose in healthy individuals.

The Neuroscience of Motivation

June 27, 2017 | Mashable

This article looks at research focused on the neuroscience of motivation, specifically what causes individuals to be successful. The piece also discusses keys to motivation and how to use science to increase employee motivation.