This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
March 28, 2017 | STAT
President Trump proposed $18 billion in non-defense spending cuts for FY2017, including a $1.2 billion cut to NIH’s budget. A reduction in NIH budget would wipe $50 million from funding for IDeA grants and broadly reduce research grant funding.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
March 29, 2017 | Science
In a hearing before the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the HHS budget, HHS Secretary Tom Price defended the proposed FY2018 NIH budget cut of $5.8 billion, claiming NIH could still fund at least as much research through eliminating overhead payments to universities and research institutions. In 2016, NIH paid $6.4 billion in overhead costs which research institutions and universities said did not come close to covering the facilities and personnel costs associated with conducting research and managing grants.
- Read SfN’s statement on the President’s budget at SfN.org
March 24, 2017 | Science
Testimony by a senior NSF official to the House Committee stated a significant increase in substantive allegations of research misconduct, raising alarm for legislators of both parties. NSF Inspector General Allison Lerner submitted a memo to committee Democrats clarifying that the size of the problem had been exaggerated and there has been no trend of increase in research misconduct allegations, but the mixed messaging could harm the NSF.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
March 29, 2017 | Science
An animal welfare researcher reported that the Animal and Plant Heath Inspecting Service (APHIS) has not been posting new inspection reports, typically made available 28 days after an inspection is finalized. A USDA/APHIS spokesperson clarified that inspections are still occurring, records are still available 28 days after they are finalized, and the agency continues to review records and determine which information is appropriate for posting.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
March 23, 2017 | Nature
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed budget follows through on promises to emphasize innovation and encourage links between industry and academia, but froze main funding streams for basic research. Few announcements for basic research or the annual budgets for Canada’s three major research councils have been made, likely meaning there will be no budget increase.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
March 22, 2017 | The New York Times
Nobel Prize winner and former NIH and NCI director Harold Varmus argues the importance of President Trump’s budget proposal and highlights how any decrease in NIH’s budget would be detrimental. Varmus warns that while the proposal may not make it past Congress, it could lead to negotiations among appropriators causing a sharp reduction for NIH.
March 30, 2017 | The Conversation
Bruce Weinberg, economics professor at the Ohio State University, provides information on who would be most impacted by a cut in scientific research funding by utilizing a project called the UMETRICS initiative. Weinberg notes that NSF and NIH support close to 70 percent of federally funded academic R&D, a majority of employees working on research projects are at various levels of training, and researchers themselves support the local economy through purchasing equipment and supplies.
- Locate science funding resources at SfN.org
March 27, 2017 | The New York Times
The New York Times editorial board states that President Trump’s proposed budget cuts contradict his statements made last month to Congress about the possibility of future technical and medical triumphs. While the proposed cuts will most likely not move past Congress, the piece notes that the proposal of such cuts illustrates Trump’s lack of understanding in the role of science in our nation.
- Learn more about the federal budget process and its impact on your lab at Neuronline
Articles of Interest
March 24, 2017 | Science
NIH announced that starting May 25th, researchers will be able to include preprints or draft manuscripts that have yet to go through peer review as part of their funding application. Proponents of biology preprints claim this will speed the distribution of research and allow young scientists to get credit, but others have concerns that reviewers would feel the need to review preprints, increasing the workload.
- Read more about publishing and peer review at Neuronline
March 27, 2017 | NPR
A study analyzing the brain size and diets of over 140 primates found that those who ate fruit had 25 percent more brain tissue than those who ate leaves, challenging the hypothesis that the size of primate social groups is the largest determining factor of brain size. Some are not entirely convinced by these findings, but when the study compared body size, diet, and social lives, it was diet that appeared to be the consistent predictor of brain size in species.
- Find information on animal brains at BrainFacts.org
March 28, 2017 | The Guardian
For the first time, experimental technology has allowed a man with complete paralysis to control arm movement through the use of thought. Electrical implants were placed in the motor cortex and sensors were put in his forearm which allow his arm and hand muscles to be stimulated in response to his brain signals which are decoded by computer.
- Learn more about the brain and movement at BrainFacts.org