Policy and Advocacy News

The GOP Tax Plan Would Blow a Hole in American Science

December 11, 2017 | Vox

US graduate students are currently exempt from paying taxes due to tuition waivers, but the House tax plan proposes a provision repealing this exemption. Graduate students and professional societies, including SfN, are expressing concerns and contacting Congress about the tax plan’s threat to higher education affordability.

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

Would You Advise Trump on Science? Survey Examines Attitudes of U.S. Researchers

December 13, 2017 | Science

A Science survey examined scientists’ reactions to the Trump administration and their attitudes toward engaging with government. The survey found that current anti-science rhetoric has made some scientists hesitant to become involved with the administration and motivated others to voice their dissent.

This Nobel Laureate is Worried U.S. Politics Could Endanger Scientific Research

December 11, 2017 | Time

Nobel laureate Michael Rosbash utilized his Nobel acceptance speech to voice concerns about the future of US science. Rosbash stated that current political developments threaten US pluralism and public support of science, ultimately endangering American science.

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

Brexit Agreement Would Allow EU Scientists to Stay in UK

December 8, 2017 | Science

Months into Brexit negotiations, an agreement was announced that EU citizens can remain in the UK after Brexit in 2019. The agreement also allows UK scientists to apply for grants through Horizon 2020, a major EU research funding program.

Opinion

Tax "Reform" Could Harm Graduate Students, Delay Scientific Advancement

December 13, 2017 | Scientific American

In this op-ed, SfN member and former ECPA Ryan Makinson, argues that the House tax bill’s repeal of tuition waiver exemptions and student loan credits reduces graduate students livable income and threatens the future of the scientific workforce. The tax bill is also predicted to harm the competitiveness of US higher education as endowments will be taxed for some US institutions.

Federal budgeteers should ramp up funding for scientific research

December 14, 2017

This op-ed asserts that the US needs to spend three percent of its GDP on research to remain a global leader in science. Although private investment has mostly offset decreased federal R&D spending in recent decades, basic research has not been supported and continues to fall behind.

Great Mentoring is Key for the Next Generation of Scientists

December 6, 2017 | Nature

This piece states that funders and institutions need to do more to encourage the mentorship of young scientists. It also highlights an award Nature’s provides to outstanding mentors who foster a culture of mentorship. 

  • Find advice about mentorship at Neuronline.SfN.org

Opinion: One Year Later- Why 21st Century Cures Still Matters

December 12, 2017 | Roll Call

Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), discussed the 21st Century Cures Act and its importance in this op-ed. Passed in the final days of 2016, Upton and DeGette note that 21st Century Cures is remembered and celebrated for its bipartisanship in boosting health initiatives. They also highlight that the impacts of 21st Century Cutes were praised in the Congressional testimonies of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and NIH Director Francis Collins.

Articles of Interest

Scientists ‘Inject’ Information into Monkeys’ Brains

December 7, 2017 | The New York Times

Researchers found that monkeys could execute a learned movement without necessary sensory input when low amplitude microstimulation was applied to their premotor cortex. The bypassing of sensory processing achieved suggests that the brain can plan a movement by receiving information directly.

This Neuroscientist Wants Researchers to Study More Female Brains

December 8, 2017 | Vice

SfN member Aarthi Gobinath voices concerns over the poor representation of female subjects in neuroscience studies. Gobinath states that gender inequity in animal models results in outcomes that disproportionately benefit males more than females.

Excitement as trial shows Huntington’s drug could slow progress of disease

December 11, 2017 | The Guardian

Exciting phase 1 clinical trial findings indicate that Roche’s new drug Ionis-HTTRx slows the progression of Huntington’s disease by preventing production of the defective protein huntingtin. The drug is particularly promising because it could be used to target proteins responsible for other neurodegenerative diseases.