Aug. 1, 2014 - This Week's Consolidation of Advocacy News
NIH Director’s Statement on Dr. Landis’s Retirement
July 31, 2014 | NIH
Story Landis, director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), announced her retirement this week. Following her departure and while the search for a new director is underway, Walter Koroshetz will serve as acting director. Koroshetz joined NINDS as deputy director in 2007 and has worked closely with Landis in guiding the Institute’s scientific and administrative functions.
- Learn more about NIH and the Neuroscience Blueprint, which Landis helped found.
International Brain Bee World Championship Spotlights Young Neuroscience Scholars
July 28, 2014 | American Psychological Association
The 2014 World Championship of the International Brain Bee will be held in Washington, DC, August 7-10. The event will feature national Brain Bee caption students from 22 countries competing in several categories to gain the title of world champion.
- Learn about hosting a Brain Bee in your community.
NIH Advocates Gear Up for Budget Fight
July 28, 2014 | Nature News Blog
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), who leads the Senate panel that oversees NIH, introduced legislation setting the minimum level of NIH funding at its current level of $29.9 billion and raising the agency’s budget each year over the next decade. Some health advocates fear the minimum funding approach could cause controversy by pitting NIH against other agencies that also fund biomedical research.
- Watch SfN’s webinar From Congress to Your Lab: How Federal Funding Affects Your Science to learn how Congress’ actions impact the research world, and how you can get involved in the process.
Transparency Promised for Vilified Impact Factor
July 29, 2014 | Nature
The most misused metric in science — the impact factor — is getting a makeover. Information firm Thomson Reuters says that it will become more transparent over how it calculates impact factors, which was invented to help libraries decide which journals to purchase. Instead, critics say it has become yardstick by which to judge the quality of researchers and their papers.
- Check out eNeuro, SfN’s newest journal.
Articles of Interest
Watch 80,000 Neurons Fire in the Brain of a Fish
July 28, 2014 | Wired
Video of the brain of a baby zebrafish from Jeremy Freeman and colleagues at Janelia Farm Research Campus shows 80 percent of neurons responding to a visual stimulus—a great way to debunk the “10 percent” myth!
- Get more examples of how animal research is advancing our understanding of the brain with Animal Research Success Stories on BrainFacts.org.
New Tools Help Neuroscientists Analyze 'Big Data'
July 27, 2014 | Science Codex
In a companion paper to the one described above, Freeman and colleagues describe a new library of cloud computing tools capable of analyzing the data produced by new techniques that capture all or most of the activity in the brain at once.
- Read more about brain technologies on BrainFacts.org.
NIH Scientists Find Six New Genetic Risk Factors for Parkinson’s
July 27, 2014 | NIH News and Events
Data from 18,000 patients have contributed to new findings of six genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s disease. Multiple public and private organizations collaborated on this research, including 23andMe, the “personal genomics” company, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It was published in Nature Genetics.
- Watch a video about Unlocking the Genetic Code for more about how “big data” on genetic information is transforming our understanding of the human brain.
Hype Over Census Bureau STEM Report is Overblown
July 27, 2014 | Washington Post
The United States’ shortage of scientific workers used to be undisputed. A recent Census Bureau study found that only a quarter of bachelor’s degree graduates in STEM fields end up working in those fields. The author here says, “not so fast” and points out the flaws in the survey, emphasizing that whatever number of STEM professions is generated, it does not take away the need for STEM education.
- Resources for educators to teach about the brain are available on BrainFacts.org.
Let’s Spend More Wisely on Research in Australia
July 21, 2014 | The Conversation
With the Australian Government threatening to reduce the amount of money allocated to research, it is time for researchers to take a more serious look at how to improve the research funding system. One recommendation is to model what the U.S. has done and evaluate the effectiveness of policy interventions.
- Visit SfN’s Advocacy Network page to see how you can get involved in science advocacy.
Americans Deserve Effective Science Funding
July 31, 2014 | The Daily Caller
Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the U.S. House Science Space, and Technology Committee, opines that the U.S. should be investing more in “biology, computer science, mathematics and engineering” research, instead of in social and political science.
- Learn more about the committees involved in U.S. science funding and oversight.
The Starving of Canadian Science
July 31, 2014 | Ottawa Citizen
Subash Sad, a professor in the department of biochemistry, microbiology and immunology at the University of Ottawa, talks about how funding for fundamental research in Canadian universities is in crisis, with 10-15 percent of grant applications being funded.
- Learn how you can write an OpEd.