Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
Fight Over NIH Funding Puts Senate Medical Innovation Bills in Jeopardy
March 9, 2016 | Stat News
A Senate package of biomedical innovation bills got bogged down in a partisan fight Wednesday over funding for NIH. Although the committee eventually approved the seven innovation bills, Democrats warned that they won’t support a final package when it reaches the Senate floor unless they get an agreement with Republicans that guarantees a big funding increase for biomedical research. The argument happened when Republicans dismissed an effort to approve $5 billion a year in “mandatory” medical research funding, meaning a guaranteed source of funds that wouldn’t have to be approved by Congress every year.
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
Overnight Healthcare: HHS Rejects Dems' Push on High Drug Prices
March 7, 2016 | The Hill
More than 50 House Democrats wrote to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in January calling for a policy change that would allow certain companies to break drug patents. Burwell declined, indicating that she isn't willing to be as aggressive in using this tactic against high-drug prices as some House Democrats want.
- Watch a webinar about how federal funding affects your science at SfN.org
Science is a Major Plank in China’s New Spending Plan
March 7, 2016 | Science Magazine
China will invest heavily in science and technology over the next 5 years and cut red tape hampering science spending with the hope that innovation will help the country weather its economic slowdown.
- Read about worldwide neuroscience initiatives at SfN.org.
Government of Canada Supports Research in Women's Brain Health
March 8, 2016 | Newswire Canada
The Canadian Minister of Health announced the launch of a new research initiative this week focusing on women's brain health. The initiative—created through a partnership between the Posluns Family Foundation, the Alzheimer's Society of Canada, the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—will provide financial support over the next ten years to enhance the understanding of gender and sex differences in brain health. The funding will support a Program Chair, who will be a researcher of exceptional merit, recruited across Canada or abroad, or a top researcher already established in an Ontario institution who is a leader in her/his field.
- Read about programs to promote diversity in neuroscience at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
The U.S. Government Launches a $100-Million "Apollo Project of the Brain"
March 8, 2016 | Scientific American
Three decades ago, the U.S. government launched the Human Genome Project, a 13-year endeavor to sequence and map all the genes of the human species. Now IARPA has dedicated $100 million to a similarly ambitious project. The Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks program, or MICrONS, aims to reverse-engineer one cubic millimeter of the brain, study the way it makes computations, and use those findings to better inform algorithms in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Learn more about machine learning and artificial intelligence at BrainFacts.org.
NIH Scientists Show How Neurons in the Eye May Use Math to Differentiate Moving Objects
March 8, 2016 | News Medical
In a study of mice, NIH scientists showed how one type of neuron may work to assembles the visual information the eye receives in order to distinguish moving objects. The study suggests that the NMDA receptor, a protein normally associated with learning and memory, may regulate whether cells in the retina send direction-sensitive information about moving objects to the brain.
- Learn more about the retina and vision at BrainFacts.org.
Nobel Laureate Art McDonald on the State of Science in Canada
March 8, 2016 | Macleans
On Tuesday, Art McDonald—the Nova Scotia-born astrophysicist—visited Canada’s Parliament Hill to be recognized for his Nobel Prize win for his discoveries about neutrinos. When a reporter asked McDonald about funding science and research, the scientists spoke about the importance of support for both basic and applied sciences.
- See resources for supporting scientists and institutions engaged in animal research at SfN.org.
Why Funding Stability is Crucial for University Research Performance
March 9, 2016 | Australian Financial Review
Scientists at Gingin's Australian International Gravitational Research Centre replicated and explained the "whistling sound" in gravitational wave detectors. This was instrumental in stabilizing the American detectors that recently confirmed the existence of gravitational waves, helping prove Einstein’s theories. The Gingin Centre's world-leading capability is no accident, nor are its feats an isolated occurrence. It exhibits features common to countless examples of successful Australian innovation, including collaboration and stabilize sources of funding.
- Learn about global neuroscience advocacy at SfN.org.
Biomedical Innovation Would Be the Most Important Bill Signed Into Law This Year
March 9, 2016 | The Chattanoogan
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Wednesday that if the committee succeeds on its bipartisan biomedical innovation agenda, “it will be the most important bill signed into law this year.” The committee has worked on a bipartisan basis for more than a year to develop pieces of legislation that will together form legislation authorizing the president’s Precision Medicine and cancer moonshot initiatives and serve as a companion to the House-passed 21st Century Cures legislation.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay up to date on neuroscience policy news.