Weekly Advocacy News Roundup December 18, 2015
Congress Ready to Give NIH its Biggest Increase in 12 Years
December 16, 2015 | Stat News
NIH will get a $2 billion funding increase (including a bump to the BRAIN Initiative) in the federal spending bill that passed the House and the Senate on Friday. This is the largest increase to the NIH budget since 2003. The extra money is included in a massive omnibus spending bill that will keep the federal agencies running through the rest of the fiscal year, and also includes a 1.6 percent increase to NSF.
- Join the advocacy network to stay informed and take action on issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org.
NIH Releases First Agency-Wide Strategic Plan in 2 Decades
December 16, 2015 | Science Magazine
This week, NIH released its first agency-wide strategic plan in more than 20 years. The 46-page plan describes four objectives: “advance opportunities in biomedical research” by funding fundamental science, treatments, and disease prevention; set priorities; enhance stewardship; and “managing for results. Much of the plan is dedicated to describing current projects, from the BRAIN neuroscience initiative championed by the Obama administration to efforts to train young scientists for careers outside of academic research.
- Learn more about how neuroscience research is funded by NIH at SfN.org.
UK Government Launches Review to Improve University Research Funding
December 16, 2015 | Gov.UK
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson launched a UK-wide review of university research funding this week aiming to cut red tape so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading research for which the UK is renowned. Following the decision to protect the £4.7 billion annual science and research budget during this Parliament, the Research Excellence Framework review will help ensure the government gets the most return from its investment.
- Read about global funding programs at SfN.org.
Government-Funded Trials Decrease, Industry-Funded Trials Increase
December 16, 2015 | Science 2.0
An analysis of trials registered in ClinicalTrials.gov shows that, from 2006-2014, the private sector has been doing significantly more to advance pharmaceutical science than the government. The authors speculate that the decrease in NIH-funded trials as compared to the number of privately funded trials may have resulted from a decline in discretionary spending by the U.S. federal government.
- Find out about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
How a Crash Course in Public Health Could Lead to a Big Boost in NIH Funding
December 11, 2015 | Stat News
As the head of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) is one of the most important Republican advocates of medical research. The work he has done to educate himself about biomedical research has been invaluable in helping draft the national budget that was introduced by the Appropriations Committee this week.
- Read about congressional committees relevant to neuroscience funding at SfN.org.
Congresswomen Demand Action After Study On Science Funding Bias
December 14, 2015 | Science 2.0
With the release of a study that found gender bias in federal agencies that fund science research, Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are demanding immediate action to ensure gender equality in publicly funded research. The year-long study, which the congresswomen requested in 2013 from the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO), led to the calls to immediately address the shortcomings found by the study, including improving data collection and performing compliance reviews that are legally required under Title IX—the federal law that bans discrimination in publicly funded research and education.
- Learn about programs to promote diversity in neuroscience at SfN.org.
Scientists Manipulate Consciousness in Rats
December 18, 2015 | NIH.gov
Scientists showed that they could alter brain activity of rats and either wake them up or put them in an unconscious state by changing the firing rates of neurons in the central thalamus, a region known to regulate arousal. By showing how the circuits of the brain can regulate arousal states, researchers hope to use this knowledge to develop better treatments for brain injuries and other neurological disorders.
- Find more about animal research advocacy at SfN.org.
Reinvest in the Promise of Medical Research
December 15, 2015 | The Des Moines Register
After years of flat budgets and sequestration, medical research in this country is in crisis, argue former Senator Tom Harkin and former Representative John Porter, both advocates for biomedical research. Since 2003, NIH funding has plummeted 22 percent when adjusted for inflation. There are signs that Congress is getting the message, namely, the large funding increases for NIH found in the budget deal that was introduced this week, and the 21st Century Cures Act recently passed by the House that would provide additional funding. The budget deal, which raises caps for defense and non-defense spending over two years, is a move in the right direction but predictable funding increases for NIH should be the goal.
- Learn more about government funding of neuroscience research at SfN.org.
Vote Leave Claims ‘EU Exit Could Make Science Bigger Priority in UK’
December 11, 2015 | Times Higher Education
Leaving the European Union would mean the UK could spend more on research, still take part in the EU’s research programs and attract more academics from beyond Europe, according to Vote Leave, one of the two anti-EU campaigns in the UK. Other groups, such as Universities UK, are calling for the nation to remain in the EU, claiming that the value of EU membership trumps the issue of the large contributions that the UK makes to the European Union.
- Find information about science funding in the UK at SfN.org.