This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
NIH Director Francis Collins Says He Would Remain in Post Under Trump
December 9, 2016 | STAT News
Francis Collins has said that he would be willing to stay on as the director of NIH if asked to stay by the president-elect. While no one has yet be named as a leading candidate and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) has expressed interest in the position, top Republicans have released a letter asking the incoming administration to keep Collins in his current post.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
Is Donald Trump Pushing More Scientists Towards Political Activism?
December 13, 2016 | Nature
Scientists from across fields are showing increased interest and participation in public advocacy and activism following the presidential election, from writing letters to the Trump administration to holding rallies outside of scientific meetings. Science advocates have said that this increase reflects not only uneasiness surrounding the incoming administration, but the fact that young scientists are more comfortable in speaking publicly about advocacy and policy.
- Read about the advocacy activities of SfN members on Neuronline.
New Program Allows Scientists to Get Involved in Federal Policy-Making
December 13, 2016 | The Globe and Mail
The Canadian Science Policy Fellowship is finishing up its inaugural year placing scientists and other academics in federal departments to provide scientific insight to policymakers. The program, which has more than doubled in size for its second year, was designed by Canadian scientists who wanted to bridge a divide between science and science policy decision-making.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
Science: Fertile Ground for Politics
December 8, 2016 | The Daily Iowan
SfN member and Early Career Policy Ambassador Banu Gumusoglu writes about how to make a bipartisan argument for funding science. She urges readers to lobby for stable funding for NIH and other scientific agencies, and to ask their congressional representatives to pressure the president-elect to select officials and science advisers who will make evidence-based recommendations.
- Apply to be an Early Career Policy Ambassador at SfN.org
Gendered Toys Could Deter Girls From Career in Engineering, Report Says
December 7, 2016 | The Guardian
The Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET), a group that encourages girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, has found that a third of STEM toys are listed as “for boys” and 89% of the toys listed for girls were pink. While there has been a noted decrease in the use of gender categories to market toys in the last five years, IET says that toy marketers should consider the long-term implications of categorizing STEM toys by gender
- Find resources for women in neuroscience at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Monkeys Could Talk, but They Don't Have the Brains for It
December 9, 2016 | The New York Times
A recent study suggests that nonhuman primates have a vocal tract capable of forming speech, but may lack the brain connections needed to support it. The group used a portable X-ray scanner to capture rhesus macaques eating fruit and making cooing and grunting noises and created 3-D models of the animals’ vocal tracts based on the X-rays.
- Read about the brains of different animals at BrainFacts,org
Talking Music and Science with Yo-Yo Ma
December 8, 2016 | NIH Director’s Blog
NIH Director Francis Collins writes about Yo-Yo Ma’s recent J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture in which Ma spoke about the link between music and the brain. In addition to a short “jam session” with Director Collins, Ma demonstrated how different notes can be interpreted by musicians and how music is processed and interpreted by the brain.
- Learn more about music and the brain at BrainFacts.org
Why Sleep Disorders May Precede Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
December 15, 2016 | Scientific American
Many people with neurological disorders experience sleep problems, but studies have begun to suggest that many sleep disorders may precede the development of neurological issues. This article reviews these possible links and how both sleep and neurological health may be linked by disruptions to the body’s circadian rhythms.
- Find out what scientist know about sleep and the brain at BrainFacts.org