Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
Senate Passes Budget Bill Repealing Obamacare, Defunding Planned Parenthood
December 4, 2015 | CNN
On Thursday, the Senate approved a budget bill that would repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood, but will be vetoed by the President. By putting these two issues into this smaller budget bill, Republican leaders also steered them away from a separate funding bill Congress is dealing with now known as the omnibus, the passage of which is necessary to prevent a government shutdown.
- Learn more about government funding of neuroscience research at SfN.org.
New Funding for Ebola Hides an Ongoing Decline
December 3, 2015 | EurekaAlert
A new report gives the first ever picture of global investment in Ebola research and development (R&D), noting that this investment might have come at the expense of efforts to treat and prevent other neglected diseases. When Ebola is excluded, public funding for neglected disease R&D was actually at its lowest level in seven years, as public funding for non-Ebola R&D dropped by $62 million in 2014, with much of this decline being driven by the U.S. Government.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay up to date on issues of science funding.
Spanish Plan for a Funding Agency Gets Lukewarm Reception
December 1, 2015 | Science
The Spanish government has announced the launch of the State Research Agency, which could start disbursing grants as early as 2017. The agency doesn't come with its own funding, instead it will usurp existing research budgets, but it will guarantee more stability in the funding stream and improvement management. Although some are optimistic, others worry that the agency won’t be independent enough from the government and voice concern that few actual scientists were included on the governing council.
- Read about global advocacy programs at SfN.org.
UK Scientists Celebrate Slight Rise in Research Budget
November 25, 2015 | Nature
At the UK House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne announced that the country’s science budget will now rise with inflation. This would amount to an extra £500 million for science annually by the end of the decade, according to the Treasury. However, some experts noted that there is work to be done to reverse the damage caused by the past five years under a flat budget and that the science budget remains smaller in 2015 than it was in 2010.
- Find information about science funding in the UK at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? New Brain Study Says Not
November 30, 2015 | The Guardian
A new study conducted by researchers in Tel-Aviv, Israel showed evidence of no sharp division between male and female brains, according to researchers who found that we are all a mixture instead. Scientists analyzed brain scans of more than 1400 men and women and found that while some features are more common in one sex than the other, each person’s brain has a unique “mosaic” of these features, as well as others seen commonly in both.
- Learn more about sex differences and the brain at BrainFacts.org.
National Institutes of Health is Good for Physical, Economic Well-Being
November 18, 2015 | The Commercial Appeal
U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) states the case for increased NIH funding in this year’s budget from his position as co-chair of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. He argues that although signing the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 lifting the budget caps was a good step, Congress still must use this opportunity to give a much-needed boost to biomedical research funding.
- Read about congressional committees relevant to neuroscience funding at SfN.org.
Scientific Collaboration Needed to Solve Grand Challenges
November 24, 2015 | Brookings
The White House recently announced a new challenge that aims to create a new type of computer that can actively interpret data, solve unfamiliar problems using what it has learned, and function as effectively as the human brain. Solving this challenge will require the efforts of three federally funded initiatives: the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI), and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.
- Find out how to start up your own SfN Chapter at Neuronline.
GAO: NIH Needs to Do More to Ensure Research Evaluates Gender Differences
November 28, 2015 | The Washington Post
According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, NIH isn’t able to tell Congress whether researchers are examining outcomes by sex to see whether men and women are affected differently by what’s being tested. Scientists are required to analyze results by sex in most cases, but NIH has no central process for collecting the information or making it available. NIH has 60 days to formally respond to the GAO’s critique of the agency’s implementation of the 1993 mandate that women be included equally in research trials.
- Learn more about the push for diversity in neuroscience at Neuronline.
Interview: The NIH Director on His Future
November 27, 2015 | STAT
In a recent interview, NIH director Francis Collins discussed his own career as well as his role in educating lawmakers about the importance of NIH and the need to establish stable funding.
- Learn about NIH funding of neuroscience research at SfN.org.