This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
February 17, 2017 | Science
An amicus brief filed by the Association of American Universities (AAU) contained data showing that 60 top U.S. research universities have approximately 10,000 students and researchers on campus from the seven countries covered in the travel ban executive order. According to the brief, the U.S. higher education system is dominant because of its ability to attract international talent and impeding the free flow of people and ideas could threaten the U.S.’s status as a global leader in research and education.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
February 22, 2017 | Bloomberg
The USDA announced that animal welfare records for research institutions and federal facilities regulated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service would be reposted on its website. However, animal rights groups and members of Congress have called for all animal welfare records to be reposted on the USDA website, stating that putting some documents back online is not enough.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
February 22, 2017 | Nature
Academic institutes are hoping to entice British universities to establish research campuses in France by using the possibility of access to EU research funds after Brexit as bait. Several UK institutions have expressed interested in the idea, but the lack of clarity regarding what institutions will lose as a result of Brexit and gain by moving research campuses to other parts of Europe makes it unlikely that these campuses would be established in the near future.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
February 21, 2017 | Nature
This article proposes that scientists should not be questioning how to respond to the Trump administration, but instead focusing on how to frame science as beneficial to those who voted for Trump. As an example, the author suggests framing projects as a tax payer necessity and using science to examine social problems and finding ways for science to help with those issues.
- Learn how to communicate your science at Neuronline
February 22, 2017 | The Hill
Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS, Maria T. Zuber, chair of the National Science Board, and E.A. Griswold, geophysics professor and Vice President for research at MIT, argue for the necessity of continued federally funded basic research. The authors highlight that private industry does not fund basic science research, and without funding for this research the U.S. could lose its position as a scientific global leader while life-changing innovations could go undiscovered.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
February 22, 2017 | USA Today
In this op-ed, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, highlights the NSF’s importance, but argues it needs to adapt in order for the U.S. to remain a world leader in science and innovation. Smith suggests that the NSF should focus on research topics likely to help national priorities, such as the economy and national security, and be a leader in advocating for improvements in the reproducibility and replication of scientific research.
- Find science funding resources at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
February 17, 2017 | The New York Times
The new book, “The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal”, contains Nobel Prize winner Ramón y Cajal’s illustrations of the brain and nervous system. Ramón y Cajal’s neuron doctrine theorized that neurons were individuals brain cells, leading to an understanding how brain cells send and receive information, which became the basis of modern neuroscience.
- Learn more about neurons and Ramón y Cajal at BrainFacts.org
February 21, 2017 | Scientific American
After analyzing fMRI scans, researchers identified biomarkers for four subtypes of depression and found that those diagnosed with depression could be distinguished from healthy individuals based on brain connections in the limbic and frontostriatal areas. If additional studies are able to confirm these findings, it could enable clearer diagnoses, personalized therapies, and new targets for drug development.
- Watch the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus briefing about depression treatments about at BrainFacts.org
February 19, 2017 | Science
Computer scientists taking part in the DREAM Olfaction Prediction Challenge created a set of algorithms capable of predicting the odor of molecules based on their chemical structure. For example, molecules with sulfur groups tend to produce a smell often described as “garlicky”. While the current study shows computers are able to predict which of 19 smell descriptors people will identify, some are skeptical that artificial intelligence programs will be able to maintain the same predictive model if the number of descriptors is increased.
- Read about how brains perceive smell at BrainFacts.org