Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
March 4, 2016 | Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Democratic colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced the National Biomedical Research Act today. This act, which is part of the Senate’s companion bill to the House’s passed 21st Century Cures Act, creates the Biomedical Innovation Fund – and provides $5 billion per year in new support for research programs such as the BRAIN, National Cancer Moonshot and Precision Medicine Initiatives, and grants for young emerging scientists. This, and related budget bills, could be reviewed by the subcommittee as early as March 9. Read more about the bill here.
- View science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org.
February 26, 2016 | BBC
Several prominent U.K. researchers have stated that the domestic scientific enterprise would suffer if the country were to leave the E.U, claiming that a British exit would make it harder to get funding for science. But other scientists are arguing that U.K. research would not be adversely affected by a British exit, saying that British institutions would receive similar amounts of European funding as they do now. A national referendum on the U.K.'s participation in the European Union is set for June.
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
February 29, 2016 | Science Magazine
Fed up with their country's politicians, Italian scientists have launched a national debate about the dire state of their country’s research system, aiming to to reverse years of budget cuts and prevent increasing numbers of researchers moving overseas for work. The protests started with a letter published in Nature a few weeks ago and this week, several hundred researchers and students gathered at a heated meeting at the Sapienza University of Rome to discuss their plight.
- Learn about global neuroscience advocacy at SfN.org.
March 2, 2016 | Nature
In January, Parliament passed a law to modernize the ailing National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Yet an austerity budget imposed around the same time makes this impossible to achieve — at least this year. The resulting cuts to science funding threaten the jobs of young researchers in particular, who are best poised to revitalize the country’s failing economy.
- Read about worldwide neuroscience initiatives at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
February 24, 2016 | Science Magazine
This week NSF announced its intention to hand out small grants later this year to dozens of institutions to test novel ways of broadening participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Winners of the 2-year, $300,000 pilot grants will be eligible to compete next year for up to five, $12.5 million awards over 5 years. NSF Director France Cordova has spoken repeatedly about her intention of moving the needle on the issue of underrepresented groups in science and this initiative, totaling roughly $75 million, could well be the signature program of her 6-year term.
- Read about programs to promote diversity in neuroscience at SfN.org.
March 1, 2016 | The Guardian
This week, it was announced that Professors Tim Bliss, Graham Collingridge and Richard Morris will share the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize, the largest prize in the field. The trio have won the award for their seminal work on understanding what happens in the brain when we make, and lose, memories. While British researchers have shared the prize in previous years, this is the first time an all British line-up has won the award.
- Learn more about memory at BrainFacts.org.
March 3, 2016 | MIT News
In a study of worms, MIT neuroscientists have discovered a gene that plays a critical role in controlling the switch between alternative behavioral states, which for humans include hunger and fullness, or sleep and wakefulness. This gene, which the researchers dubbed vps-50, helps to regulate signaling between neurons. Deletions of the human counterpart of the vps-50 gene have been found in some people with autism.
- Find out more about worm models used in neuroscience at SfN.org.
February 29, 2016 | The Guardian
There is currently a private member’s bill before the Australian parliament proposing to ban the importation of non-human primates like marmosets for research purposes. Scientists assume that the general public will see through the untruths and dismiss the propaganda put out by animal activists, but the fact that this bill is even being considered is evidence that Australia’s scientific community has been cowed into burying its collective head in the laboratory for too long on this important issue.
- See resources for supporting scientists and institutions engaged in animal research at SfN.org.
February 29, 2016 | CQ RollCall
In the just over a month since President Barack Obama announced the cancer “moonshot” effort during his final State of the Union address, Vice President Biden has been its public face. In the research committee, it’s widely believed that his involvement does give the program a shot at achieving what previous tries at a government-led quest to cure cancer did not. Yet even this program, though supported by Democrats and Republicans, could become the latest victim of partisan warfare.
- Watch a webinar about how federal funding affects your science at SfN.org