Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
November 2, 2015 | USA Today
President Obama formally signed a two-year budget agreement Monday that heads off potential showdowns with Republicans over the debt ceiling and government shutdowns for the remainder of his presidency. Congress must now pass spending legislation, which includes setting funding levels for NIH and NSF.
- Send a letter to your legislators urging them to support funding for biomedical research in the new budget.
November 4, 2015 | Nature
One of the first acts by Canada's new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the creation of the post of Minister of Science. The appointment of Kirsty Duncan, a medical geographer, marks a change from the government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper who had placed oversight of science in the hands of a junior minister of state in the Industry Canada department.
- Learn about sources of funding for Canadian biomedical research at SfN.org.
November 3, 2015 | Scientific American
Europe’s troubled Human Brain Project has unlocked European Commission financing until at least 2018, but some scientists are still not sure that they want to take part in the mega-project, which has been fraught with controversy since its launch two years ago. The commission hopes that this agreement will restore lost confidence in the project, which aims to better understand the brain using information and computing technologies, primarily through simulation.
- Read more about the Human Brain Project at SfN.org.
October 29, 2015 | The Atlantic
The National Institutes of Health announced a renewed effort to find the roots of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) this week. Researchers from a number of the agency’s institutes will design a clinical study involving individuals who developed crippling fatigue and other symptoms after an acute infection. The agency may also increase the funding dedicated to the disorder from its current level of about $5 million annually, less than the amount devoted to hay fever.
- Learn about chronic pain and other chronic conditions at BrainFacts.org.
Articles of Interest
November 1, 2015 | Times Colonist of British Columbia
At this year’s annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, E. Paul Zehr was awarded the Science Educator Award in recognition for his efforts at increasing public understanding of neuroscience. An established scientist in the field of neural control of movement, Zehr has published several books aimed at lay audiences explaining neuroscience using superheroes.
- Read about this prestigious award, supported by the Dana Foundation, at SfN.org.
November 1, 2015 | The Guardian
New studies on female soccer players, who have the highest concussion rate in any sport after men’s football, has shown that constant heading of modern lightweight footballs can cause lasting brain damage. Researchers at Purdue University tracked the force of impact on the heads of subjects via sensors worn behind the ear and compared this information to MRI data taken at the beginning and end of the season.
- Learn more about the effects of concussion on the brain at BrainFacts.org.
October 28, 2015 | The Hill
In light of recent congressional activities, such as the House of Representatives passing the 21st Century Cures Act, it is clear there is robust and bipartisan support to provide vital funding for the nation's biomedical research enterprise. However, actual funding increases have yet to materialize.
- Read about the public funding of neuroscience in the U.S. at SfN.org.
November 1, 2015 | The Conversation
The Australian Research Council made several funding announcements last week, with statistics showing a preference towards funding older and more established researchers, especially men. Some advocates argue that if funding is too risk averse, then academics will play it safe and fail to innovate. Similarly, if funding goes mostly to senior researchers, then younger researchers will leave the field.
- Find out more about potential funding sources for Australian researchers at SfN.org.
October 29, 2015 | Nature
Research that cannot be reproduced has become one of the most debated issues in science. In April, a group of influential UK biomedical funding agencies held a meeting to discuss the problem and have just released their findings. Dorothy Bishop, a researcher in developmental neuropsychology at the University of Oxford who led the April meeting, discusses the reproducibility problem and how to solve it.
- Read about how SfN has tackled issues of scientific rigor at SfN.org.