This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
March 6, 2017 | Nature
President Trump’s revised travel policy exempts citizens of Iraq and current visa holders from the travel ban, but still bars citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The new order allows immigration officials to grant entry waivers on a case by case basis, but the lack of clarity regarding what exemptions would be made leaves a large amount of uncertainty for the global scientific community.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
March 8, 2017 | Science
In response to a petition filed by PETA, a rule exempting captive members of 11 threatened primate species from protection under the Endangered Species Act is under consideration for repeal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). This rule change would directly impact biomedical researchers working with hundreds of Japanese macaque monkeys, roughly 300 of which reside at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. However, it could be years before a final decision is made, with FWS stating they don’t expect to focus on this specific petition before October 2018.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
March 8, 2017 | Nature
The Netherlands have traditionally relied on science for evidence-based policy and Dutch citizens expect a lot from science in terms of policy guidance and wealth creation. However, there is growing concern that the populist movement, highlighted in the parliamentary campaign of Geert Wilders, will lead to an increase in anti-science sentiment. It is not anticipated that the anti-science rhetoric, a common characteristic of populist movements, will take root in the Netherlands, but the Dutch response to the electoral outcome is expected to set the stage for elections in France and Germany occurring later this year.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
March 8, 2017 | Scientific American
In this op-ed, the authors state that women are never just scientists, discussing the structural inequalities and discrimination women face in science and society, and how these inequalities impact the number of women who enter and remain in science. Additionally, the authors argue that a commitment to creating an environment to thrive in science needs to be made by facilitating women scientists to organize, lead, share knowledge, and move the science enterprise forward.
- Read more about women in neuroscience at SfN.org
March 8, 2017 | Nature
States have begun to introduce bills which would impact the way public school teachers teach science, specifically requiring teachers to include opposing views in lesson plans on topics such as global warming and evolution. The author argues that these bills are a way for the government to pursue political and religious agendas in school science and suggests scientists combat these potential changes by speaking out to protect education standards, visiting schools, and working with teachers
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
March 7, 2017 | The Conversation
Australian scientists have established the March for Science Australia, a nonpartisan group marching to demand universal literacy, open communications, informed policy, and stable research investment. Australia’s scientific funding has dropped to just 0.4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) and two key science-focused bodies were abolished in 2013 and 2014, providing evidence of a need to improve science in Australian society.
- Read SfN’s statement on the March for Science at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
March 3, 2017 | Scientific American
This article examines two studies that successfully detected an individual’s emotional state utilizing MRI scans and pattern recognition software, with researchers from one study finding they could predict a subject’s self-reported emotion from the scans 75% of the time. Other scientists warn against this method of studying emotions, stating that the results prove statistical summaries and do not accurately demonstrate patterns.
- Learn more about challenges in studying emotion and the brain at BrainFacts.org
March 2, 2017 | Science
Two partial skulls found in China may provide information on what Denisovans, extinct ice age humans discovered in 2010, looked like. The bone markers, age, and location of the uncovered skulls points to them being Denisovans, but since their discovery Denisovans have only been known by bits of DNA, and a DNA test has yet to be performed on the newly found skulls.
- Find more information about brain evolution in humans at BrainFacts.org
March 5, 2017 | The Guardian
In an interview with Jeremy Freeman, neuroscientist and manager of computational biology at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Freeman discusses a wide range of topics from the job of a computational neuroscientist to current CZI projects of interest. Freeman also emphasizes his desire for science to move faster and his belief that CZI will help speed up the process of basic science, opening the door for modern advances.
- Read more on computers and neuroscience at BrainFacts.org
March 9, 2017 | Scientific American
A new study comparing elite memory athletes and the general population found that learning memory techniques used by memory athletes can lead to improved memory skills and the creation of new brain connections. After utilizing memorization techniques, MRI scans showed test group participants had developed new brain connectivity patterns similar to those of memory athletes, establishing a correlation between the use of memorization techniques and memory improvement.
- Read more about different parts of memory in BrainFacts.org