Oct. 3, 2014 - This Week's Consolidation of Advocacy News
More Groups Join Project on the Brain
Sept. 30, 2014 | New York Times
The Obama administration has recruited new federal agencies and a number of universities, foundations, and businesses to help pursue the goals of the Brain Initiative. Big names like Google, General Electric, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity are all on board.
- Read the full release from the President.
Battle Between NSF and House Science Committee Escalates: How Did it Get this Bad?
Oct. 2, 2014 | Science Insider
The battle over NSF funding has gotten heated recently with Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Lamar Smith (R-TX) researching specific NSF grants in order to show government waste while ranking member of that committee Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and NSF are rebutting those allegations. The article discusses the timeline of Rep. Smith’s inquiries, what he plans next, and the politics behind upholding the peer-review process.
- Learn about NSF funding at SfN.org and make the case for this important agency.
Can the United States Avoid Another Government Shutdown?
Sept. 29, 2014 | Politics Cheat Sheet
With the October 1, 2013 shutdown still in recent memory, the article discusses the content and, more importantly, the politics behind the recently passed Continuing Resolution (CR) which funds the government through December 11.
The Federal Government Shut Down One Year Ago Today. Here’s How We Covered It — in 8 Front Pages.
Oct. 1, 2014 | Washington Post
A lighter look at how last year’s shutdown played out on the front page of several newspapers around the country.
Articles of Interest
Scientists Are Not Trusted By Americans - Here's Why
Sept. 23, 2014 | Science 2.0
A new study in PNAS suggests that people in the US view scientists as very competent, but not as “warm” (trustworthy). Although scientists were rated of average trustworthiness, the “apparent motive to gain research money is distrusted.” The authors suggest that scientists who communicate with the public focus on “conveying impartiality, not persuasive agendas.”
- Get examples of how to communicate science from the BrainFacts.org Blog.
Science Gone Social
Oct. 1, 2014 | TheScientist
The article features the results of a survey measuring scientists’ attitudes towards, and use of, social media. The survey suggests that Twitter is the tool of choice for scientists, especially those most interested in novel ways of communicating with the public.
- Follow SfN on Twitter: @SfNTweets
Protein in Brain Identified As Contributor to Alzheimer's Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia
Sept. 29, 2014 | Alzheimer’s News Today
A new study in Nature Medicine from the Gladstone Institutes shows a link between low levels of the protein progranulin, which is implicated in frontotemporal dementia, and the formation of amyloid-beta plaques—a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers, led by postdoc Sakura Minami, were able to prevent these effects by using gene therapy to elevate progranulin levels.
- Read more about frontotemporal dementia on BrainFacts.org.
Don’t Let Animal Rights Restrict Biomedical Research
Oct. 2, 2014 | The New York Times
President of the National Association of Biomedical Research (NABR), Frankie Trull, explains how changing the legal status of animals would have severe consequences for science and medicine. This is long-time goal of animal rights groups— calling for fundamental changes to the legal status of animals, including giving them standing in court.
- Follow the “personhood” issue by monitoring the Animals in Research News on SfN.org.
Young, Brilliant, and Underfunded
Oct. 2, 2014 | The New York Times
United States Congressman, Andy Harris (R-MD), explores the continuing problem of lack of funds for young researchers. He offers ideas to lower the median age of first research awards to new investigators to under 38 within 10 years, and ways prioritize research in order to maximize the benefit to the country.
- Ask your candidates where they stand on biomedical research funding. Check out SfN coalition partner Research!America’s initiative to find out how.
Cognitive Scientist Steven Pinker Writes on Why Academic Writing is so Opaque
Sept. 26, 2014 | The Chronicle of Higher Education
Scientist Steven Pinker writes, “The most conspicuous trait of the American professoriate may be the prose style called academese.” One might ask why, but there is some common truth to this stereotype. Pinker says to those outside of academia, poor writing is a deliberate choice. However, he offers up several other theories why there is an abundance of such poor writing and explains the different styles found in academic writing.
- Observe different scholarly writing styles by checking out journal articles in The Journal of Neuroscience.
3,000 French Scientists Are Marching to Demand More Research Funding
Oct. 1, 2014 | Slate
On September 26, some 3,000 university researchers and staff left their lab benches and set off from Montpellier, in the south of France. Participants are protesting a government tax scheme that they think takes away from public science funding, and what they perceive as decline in? publically supported science in France. Blogger says, “Debt-laden, stagnant Southern Europe will have a harder time producing healthy economies in the long run without innovation.”
- Watch SfN’s webinar From Congress to Your Lab: How Federal Funding Affects Your Science to learn how congressional action directly affects science in the U.S.