This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
December 16, 2016 | STAT News
Newt Gingrich, an advisor to President-elect Trump, says that the new administration will be committed to science and technology, particularly when it is “usable”. He also speaks highly of current NIH Director Francis Collins and that the possibility of asking him to stay for another four years is “under active consideration”.
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December 19, 2016 | Science
Many scientists are anxious to see Trump select his scientific advisors early to show his commitment to science, but the president-elect isn’t necessarily running late with these appointments. While President Obama announced his scientific advisors in late December 2008, past presidents have waited months before choosing a science advisor, and even Obama waited until July to name Francis Collins as NIH Director.
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December 20, 2016 | Scientific American
Canadian scientists, many of whom who struggled to find funding or speak out while Stephen Harper was Prime Minister, offer advice on how to prepare for a presidential administration in which support for science is unsure. In particular, they urge scientists to communicate the value of their science to the public, as it is the public who have the greatest power to sway governments.
- Read about the advocacy activities of SfN members on Neuronline.
December 20, 2016 | BBC
The UK’s House of Lords Science and Technology Committee issued a report warning that the uncertainty regarding the country’s relationship with the European Union is having a damaging effect on science. The report also made several recommendations to protect the reputation of the UK’s scientific community, including distinguishing between students and other immigrants, and keeping an eye out for changes in the attractiveness of the UK as a place for researchers.
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December 20, 2016 | Motherboard
Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS and former Congressman, writes to young scientists urging them not to despair for the future of science under the incoming presidential administration. He warns that scientists must not turn inward defensively, but find allies who can help amplify the message that science is key to almost all aspects of modern life and that scientific evidence is immensely valuable to decision making.
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December 21, 2016 | Nature
Nancy Baron, a communications coach, gives advice on how scientists can learn to speak out about their research to both lawmakers and the general public. She emphasizes that scientists should be professionally rewarded for making outreach and advocacy part of their career, especially as young scientists are more eager to speak up for and about science.
- Get resources for engaging the media at SfN.org
December 19, 2016 | STAT News
Richard Wilder of the Gates Foundation and Melissa Levine of the University of Michigan argue that making scientific data and publications open for anyone to access would speed up scientific progress and encourage collaboration. They encourage the use of publishing licenses that allow other researchers to freely use the underlying data so long as the original authors are credited, and encourage institutions and grant funding agencies to follow the Gates Foundation’s example in making all research funded by its grants available on full open access terms.
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Articles of Interest
December 15, 2016 | Nature
Recent research in marmosets has shown that they are the only animal besides human that can distinguish between different pitches, and that their brain processes natural sounds differently than it does the electrical stimulation provided by a device like a cochlear implant. These findings will allow researchers to investigate how to target the circuits involved in natural hearing to test and develop better cochlear implants and other assisted hearing devices.
- Find out how animals help with research at BrainFacts.org
December 17, 2016 | The Guardian
The Dementia Research Institute is a newly established network that will set up a series of dementia research centers across the UK with £250m of funding over the next decade. Each center will focus on different aspects of dementia depending on the research expertise at that institute, with coordination of the Institute based at University College London.
- Learn more about dementia at BrainFacts.org
December 19, 2016 | Nature
More than 10,000 scientists have signed up to use Instrumentl, a software start-up that matches research projects with funding opportunities, since its August launch. While the service currently only covers non-human biology and geoscience disciplines, the company plans to expand to include human biology fields in 2017 and eventually encompass all natural sciences. Unlike its competitors, Instrumentl is intended for use by researchers rather than institutions and has free and paid account options.
- Read about research funded by the BRAIN Initiative at BrainFacts.org