Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
January 19, 2016 | The Verge
Many Asian countries, especially China, have been increasing their investment in scientific research and development at a much faster rate than the United States, according to a new report by the National Science Board. Asia's advancements are threatening America's leadership in the field, the NSB report argues, as the United States' commitment to science and engineering is wavering.
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
January 11, 2016 | Science Magazine
Singapore’s scientists expect smooth sailing over the next 5 years. Last week, the government announced that it will spend 19 billion Singapore dollars ($13.2 billion) on R&D from 2016 to 2020. The Research Innovation Enterprise 2020 Plan, or RIE2020, is an 18% increase over the previous 5-year cycle.
- Find out more about global advocacy programs for neuroscience at SfN.org
January 21, 2016 | Athletic Business
Despite recent claims to the contrary, new evidence has surfaced supporting the allegations that the NFL backed out of a $16 million study on brain disease because it reportedly did not approve of the study’s researcher - one with a history of criticizing the sports organization. NIH decided to use taxpayer money to fund the study, NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz said, because the research is so important and there was no indication that the NFL, which had trumpeted the project in its own health and safety report, was still willing to pay for it.
- Read more about neuroscience funding from NIH at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
January 16, 2016 | ESPN.com
The family of former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips will donate his brain to chronic traumatic encephalopathy researchers at Boston University. Phillips, 40, was found unresponsive and died at a hospital early Wednesday, while awaiting a trial that could have brought him the death penalty. Phillips’ family hopes a study of his brain will provide answers regarding his recent criminal behavior.
- Learn more about concussions and CTE at BrainFacts.org.
January 20, 2016 | Nature
Starting next week, scientists who submit grant applications to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be asked to take a little more care. As part of an increasing drive to boost the reliability of research, the NIH will require applicants to explain the scientific premise behind their proposals and defend the quality of their experimental designs. They must also account for biological variables (for example, by including both male and female mice in planned studies) and describe how they will authenticate experimental materials such as cell lines and antibodies.
- See steps taken by SfN to tackle scientific rigor concerns at SfN.org.
January 22, 2016 | Science Alert
The U.S. military and DARPA has announced it will be developing an implantable neural interface that can bridge the divide between the human mind and computers. The new program, which aims to achieve dramatically enhanced data-transfer connections between the brain and the digital world, falls under the wing of President Obama's BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).
- Learn more about DARPA-supported programs under the BRAIN Initiative at BrainFacts.org.
January 16, 2016 | The Guardian
By some measure, scientific research in the U.K. is doing well, with many big discoveries and Nobel prizes in recent years. However, the bulk of important science is done very slowly over the course of decades and requires stable and reliable public funding. Research budgets across all government departments have been hit hard, with total current government spending on science, engineering and technology at levels almost as low as in 1986.
- View science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org.
January 18, 2016 | Stat News
In 2015 State of the Union address, Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative, which is intended to usher in what he called “a new era of medicine — one that delivers the right treatment at the right time.” This came a few years after the launch of the BRAIN Initiative and in his most recent address, the president has called for an initiative aimed at finding a cure for cancer. However, simply launching a scientific initiative doesn’t make it a success and the details on exactly how these initiatives will unfold are still vague.
- Learn about technical innovations resulting from the BRAIN Initiative at BrainFacts.org.
January 20, 2016 | Health Affairs Blog
Although 2016 has just begun, experts are beginning to plan for the major health care related issues that are likely to be a focus of policymakers. For biomedical research advocates, the key issue is the 21st Century Cures Act and the impact this legislation might have on NIH funding, drug discovery, and clinical trials.
- Join the advocacy network to stay informed and take action on issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org.