Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
National Institutes of Health Announces End to Chimpanzee Research
November 19, 2015 | The Guardian
NIH Director Francis Collins has announced that NIH will end its research program on chimpanzees sending the small remaining population of chimps to sanctuaries. NIH has steadily backed away from the use of chimps for medical research over the past few years, in the light of increased pressure from animal activists and a 2010 study by the Institute of Medicine that concluded little need for further research in chimpanzees.
- Learn more about animal research advocacy at SfN.org.
U.S. Representatives Sign Letter Calling for Increased NIH Funding
November 19, 2015 | Genome Web
Yesterday, a group of more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter urging the House Committee on Appropriations work with the U.S. Senate to boost fiscal 2016 funding for NIH to $32 billion. Over the last 12 years, the federal government has failed to raise NIH's budget to keep pace with inflation, cutting its purchasing power by over 20 percent since 2003.
- Join the advocacy network to stay informed and take action on issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org.
Chile’s Scientists Take to the Streets Over Funding
November 16, 2015 | Nature
Chile’s scientists marched in protest of the country’s relatively low rate of federal research funding. These protests, along with the resignation of the nation’s top science official and the publication of an open letter accusing the government of ignorance, have spurred Chile’s Congress to consider a budget increase of 150 million pesos (US $210,000) for the nation’s research funding agency.
- Read about global funding programs at SfN.org.
Stung by 'Foreign Agents' Law, Russian Scientists Regroup
November 16, 2015 | Science
The Russian government has recently labeled several dozen organizations (such as the MacArthur Foundation) “foreign agents,” imposing restrictions on their activities. Hoping to fill the void, Russian scientists have launched a new foundation, ‘Evolution’, which will focus on the popularization of science in the public eye.
- See more global sources of research funding at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Helping Hand: Robots, Video Games, and a Radical New Approach to Treating Stroke Patients
November 23, 2015 | The New Yorker
In a new approach to rehabilitation, patients become dolphins, immersed in a virtual ocean. Using a robotic sling, patients learn to sync the movements of their arms to the leaping, diving dolphin. That motoric empathy is intended to engage patients in relearning movement, by contracting their real muscles to move the virtual dolphin.
- Learn more about stroke and rehabilitation at BrainFacts.org.
At the Intersection of Neuroscience and Art
November 17, 2015 | National Science Foundation
New research from the University of Houston collects neural activity data from hundreds of individuals as they peruse art museums, play games, paint, draw and dance. This work could lead to a deeper understanding of neural activity and help design more effective, safer biomedical devices.
- Read about creativity and the brain at BrainFacts.org.
Bright Sparks - Do Our Governments Value Science?
November 17, 2015 | Holyrood
Scotland has a long and storied history of biomedical discoveries, from the penicillin to the cloning of Dolly the sheep. However, participation in science fields are falling in schools and the government has been criticized for a lack of scientific input regarding policies. In light of austerity and spending cuts, scientists are worried about trends concentrating the nation’s funding in the hands of just a few research institutions.
- Read about worldwide initiatives for neuroscience research at SfN.org.
Research For All
November 17, 2015 | Nature
Data released this week paint a long-term picture of the racial disparity in grants funded by NIH and show that for nearly 30 years, applicants from minorities have been less successful than white and mixed-race applicants in receiving funding. Researchers who have studied such disparities in science say that bias probably plays out in subtle and unsubtle ways in the grant-review process itself.
- Learn about programs to promote diversity in neuroscience at SfN.org.