Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
NIH To Review Its Policies on All Non-Human Primate Research
February 22, 2016 | Science Magazine
NIH is about to take a closer look at the use of nonhuman primates in all federally funded U.S. research labs. In response to a congressional mandate, the agency will convene a workshop this summer to review the ethical policies and procedures surrounding work on monkeys, baboons, and related animals. The move follows NIH’s decision to end controversial monkey experiments at one of its labs and the termination of its support for invasive research on chimpanzees.
- See resources for supporting scientists and institutions engaged in animal research at SfN.org.
Confusion Reigns as U.K. Scientists Face Government ‘Gagging’ Clause
February 26, 2016 | Nature
Earlier this month, the U.K. government announced that groups receiving public money will be banned from using those funds (including scientists and universities) to attempt to influence either the government or Parliament. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which is responsible for most of the funding channeled to British researchers and universities, could not confirm whether the lobbying ban (which will apply to government grants from May) will affect science funding. Major British research funders say that they do not yet know whether they will have to implement the rule, and scientists are raising the alarm about this possibility.
- Learn about global neuroscience advocacy at SfN.org.
Obama Administration Moving Ahead with Major Project To Match Treatments to Genes
February 25, 2016 | U.S. News & World Report
As part of the Precision Medicine Initiative, NIH plans to be gathering data from at least 1 million volunteers by 2019, work that will go beyond standard medical exams to include even day-to-day wellness information gathered from smartphones or wearable sensors. At a White House summit Thursday, the NIH announced first steps to set up that massive database so it can begin recruiting soon, including in a pilot program at Vanderbilt University.
- View science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org.
Proposal To Ban Imported Monkeys Catches Scientists Off Guard
February 22, 2016 | Nature
Days before the window for public comment closed, Australian medical researchers realized they had almost missed a piece of legislature that would have totally altered their careers: a proposed ban on the importation of non-human primates for medical research. Now, scientists are raising the alarm and fighting back.
- Learn more about critical issues in animal research at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Ebola May Leave Survivors with Lasting Problems in Brain
February 25, 2016 | Scientific American
Although experts recently declared the world's largest Ebola outbreak over, many people who were infected with the virus are still experiencing neurologic problems, according to a new study. Researchers found that, among a group of 82 Ebola survivors in Liberia, nearly all had some neurologic problems at six months or longer after they were infected.
- Learn about infectious diseases that can impact the nervous system at BrainFacts.org.
Can Crowdfunding Fill the Science Funding Gap?
February 25, 2016 | Vitae - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Science funding is an increasingly competitive game. With funding rates falling into single-digit percentages for some of the largest grant agencies, it’s more and more difficult for early career scientists to win significant grants. Meanwhile, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, Experiment, and a plethora of others have been surging, with many projects attracting more than $1 million. That has led scientists to ask the obvious question: Can I use crowdfunding to finance my research?
- Watch a webinar about how federal funding affects your science at SfN.org
How Big Science Gets Its Funding
February 22, 2016 | Marketplace
Deciding to put more than a billion dollars behind a science experiment like the LIGO project (the one that detected gravitational waves for the first time) is not a straightforward task. There is no lone individual at NSF who assesses a given mega-project, it’s a large diffuse process. Not only is some science valuable in non-economic ways, but when research does have an economic impact you can’t always know it ahead of time.
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
Why Life-Sciences Innovation is Politically ‘Purple’
February 22, 2016 | The Galen Institute
America’s effective and competitive system for developing new drugs has long been due to both robust federal funding for scientific research and to innovation in the private sector provided by strong intellectual property protections and a drug reimbursement system that give companies a return on their high-risk research and development. Today, investment in both public and private drug discovery is fraying as populists on the left and libertarians on the right question both the policy means and the end result, imperiling the longstanding bipartisan policy framework.
- See more science funding resources at SfN.org.