Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
December 10, 2015 | The Federal Times
The Senate voted to put off a government shutdown until Dec. 16, passing a stop-gap bill while negotiations continue on a two-year appropriations deal. Congress is trying to pass a two-year funding deal to avoid another entrenched budget battle on Capitol Hill, but in trying to align 12 appropriations bills into an omnibus package, a litany of policy riders threaten to derail the process.
- Learn more about government funding of neuroscience research at SfN.org.
December 7, 2015 | Financial Review
Australia's peak scientific programs and bodies, including the once-endangered National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme, have been guaranteed funding for at least the next decade, in a move the scientific community has hailed as unprecedented. The Turnbull government's innovation statement allocates about $3 billion to new and existing bodies over the next 10 years.
- See more global sources of neuroscience funding at SfN.org.
December 9, 2015 | The Press & Journal
Advocates for biomedical research in Scotland are signing a petition calling for more funding for brain tumor research in a drive to reach 100,000 signatures. An inquiry by the House of Commons petitions committee was triggered once 14,000 had added their names, and if the 100,000 mark is hit, the petition will be considered for debate at the UK parliament. Although brain tumors kill more people under 40 than any other cancer, yet it receives less than 1 percent of national cancer research funding.
- Find information about science funding in the UK at SfN.org.
December 8, 2015 | Science Magazine
The Irish government has released an ambitious 5-year vision for stimulating innovation, calling for an increase in total investment in R&D by about a third, meaning a rise in total research spending from last year’s €2.9 billion to about €5 billion per year in 2020. The document lists many specific goals, including an increase in private investment in research, an increase in personnel and in graduate researchers, and a competitive fund for ‘frontier research’.
- Read about worldwide neuroscience initiatives for neuroscience research at SfN.org.
December 9, 2015 | ZDNet
A new round of government spending cuts in Brazil, announced last week, will include a $128.6 million reduction in the budget for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).
This will result in an overall reduction in spending of 35.9 percent in the MCTI budget.
- Read about global advocacy programs at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
December 8, 2015 | The Atlantic
As Congress continues negotiations on an omnibus spending package, advocates are hopeful that biomedical research funding is becoming a congressional priority again. In recent years, researchers have been rattled not only because NIH has been forced to fund grants, but also because the constant budget battles in Congress generate uncertainty.
- Find more information about neuroscience funding through NIH at SfN.org.
December 8, 2015 | Forbes
A new study from the University of Pisa has found that an area of the brain involved in vision, originally thought to be fairly resistant to change, also responds strongly to short bouts of exercise. Participants wore eye patches, and either exercised or sit still and watch a movie. For those subjects who rode a stationary bike, their covered eye became significantly stronger compared with the people who were sedentary.
- Learn more about how exercise can impact the brain at BrainFacts.org.
December 6, 2015 | The Baltimore Sun
A team of Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists has found evidence supporting the physical connection between a stimulus and a reward. Mouse neurons were stimulated using an electrical impulse, simulating how the neurons would process some external stimulus and place the ‘tag’ that neuroscientists had long theorized existed. After neurotransmitters were applied to the cells, scientists were able to measure a stronger connection between the ‘tagged’ neurons. In other neurons that didn't receive the rush of neurotransmitters, as if no reward followed the initial stimulus, the link was unchanged.
- Watch a video on how synaptic changes relate to learning and memory at BrainFacts.org.
November 28, 2015 | Bangor Daily News
Since NIH’s budget doubled more than a decade ago, funding has been stagnant while the cost of conducting research has grown and the amount of research activity in need of funding has increased. In order to keep healthcare spending in check, more money should be invested in biomedical research looking to cure, treat, or understand diseases and medical conditions.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay up to date on issues of science funding.
December 3, 2015 | The Parliament Magazine
The President of the European Brain Council argues for a new focus on neurological health in European research and calls for a dialogue on developing national brain plans to be brought under the umbrella of an EU-wide plan addressing brain health in a comprehensive and collaborative fashion.
- See an overview of the prevalence of brain diseases in Europe at BrainFacts.org.
December 8, 2015 | Oxford University Press Blog
In an interview with the OUP Blog, sociologist Gordon Gauchat discusses the results of his study on the public perceptions of science literacy and its limitations. The existing model, Gouchat explains, claims that promoting science literacy and the dissemination of scientifically accurate information will convince the public about the seriousness of climate change, but this is not entirely accurate. This new study suggests a more profound challenge for climate scientists and policymakers, because public apprehensions about science’s authority are associated with deeply held cultural dispositions and identities.
- Learn more about effective science communication at Neuronline.