This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
April 18, 2017 | Nature
Republican scientists discuss how the scientific community’s political divide is causing a negative impact, especially under the Trump administration. These scientists state they remain supportive of their profession and note that Republicans have not always been anti-science, highlighting Nixon’s creation of the EPA and former House leader Newt Gingrich’s spearheading of an effort to double NIH funding.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
April 20, 2017 | Science
March for Science organizers have avoided reaching out to elected officials in an attempt to keep the event apolitical, resulting in few members of Congress participating in the March for Science, and those choosing to participate being Democrats. Some representatives think Republican officials see the March as anti-Trump rather pro-science event, leaving them to believe participation could cause political harm.
- Read about SfN and the March for Science at SfN.org
April 14, 2017 | Nature
Social scientists recently took to the Hill to remind their representatives of the importance of funding social science research. The push for increased activism in social science research comes in response to proposed NIH cuts and the plan outlined by House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith to shift 70 percent of the NSF budget into four research areas, reducing support for social and geoscience divisions.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
April 18, 2017 | Nature
In response to the rise of Maine Le Pen’s far-right Front National Party, French researchers are coming together in an attempt to counteract the closed society vision proposed by Le Pen. The French scientific community fears the possibility of a French retreat from the EU and hopes that future research policy priorities will include increased funding for basic and long-term research, more science on topics relevant to citizens, and a simplification of the grant-application process.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
April 17, 2017 | The Hill
Rep. Jerry McNerney discusses the war on science, highlighting that the current crusade against science by the Trump administration is not a new revelation, rather it has taken the dismissal of science for ideological purposes to a new level. McNerney points out the significant role science has played in our economy and calls for a commitment to science and technological advancement.
- Read SfN’s statement on the President’s budget at SfN.org
April 19, 2017 | The Star-Telegram
In an op-ed by SfN member Robert Greene, he states that the March for Science will send a powerful message of the importance of scientific research. Greene shares his research successes, the importance of scientific funding, and calls on other scientists to share their own success stories and how it impacts human health.
- Read SfN’s statement on the March for Science at SfN.org
April 12, 2017 | Morning Consult
Rep. Fred Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette, members of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, wrote an op-ed on the importance of NIH and reinforcing their support for increased funding. Upton and DeGette also highlighted the impact of NIH research and their recent action of sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget urging the administration to reconsider the proposed NIH cuts.
- Contact your representatives and tell them to support NIH and NSF Funding at SfN.org
April 13, 2017 | Time
Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Prize winner and President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, reframes the argument for NIH funding as opposed to defense spending, by noting the enemies to human health which need to be defeated. Blackburn states that a decrease in NIH funding will kill research capable of saving millions of lives and argues for spending money to save people, rather than to kill.
- Learn more about the federal budget process and its impact on your lab at Neuronline
Articles of Interest
April 19, 2017 | The Guardian
Infusions of a protein found in human umbilical blood successfully reversed mental decline in aged mice. The protein therapy rejuvenated the hippocampus regions of the old mice causing them to act like younger animals when performing a series of behavioral tests. Researchers hope these results could signal a treatment capable of staling mental decline in old age, but stress that further studies need to be done before adapting the treatment for clinical use.
- Find more information about aging and the brain at BrainFacts.org
April 20, 2017 | Nature
A study looking at scientist’s behavior on Twitter found that women are better represented on Twitter than in scientific papers. Results from this study also showed an overrepresentation of social and informational scientists and uncovered that scientists mainly interact with others from their field, similar to what occurs in academia.
- Learn how to communicate your science at Neuronline
April 17, 2017 | Science
An improved visualization method called iterative expansion microscopy has allowed researchers to expand brain tissue close to 20 times its size. Using this technique, researches have been able to see detailed images showing the formation of proteins along synapses in mice and detailed visualizations of dendritic spines in the mouse hippocampus.
- Read more about innovative technologies and the brain at BrainFacts.org
April 20, 2017 | Scientific American
Using fMRI, researchers found that seeing familiar people activates a network of brain regions which appear to encode the position of a person within the social group. The results suggest that we activate knowledge of where people stand in our social network in order to prepare us to think about and interact with them in an appropriate manner. Researchers hope to take these findings and use them to examine how this social information might influence individual’s behavior.
- Find more information on the brain and social interaction at BrainFacts.org