This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
May 23, 2017 | Nature
President Trump’s budget proposal would drastically cut science programs, with NIH experiencing an 21% cut, setting NIH’s budget to $26.9 billion for FY18, and NSF experiencing an 11% cut, setting NSF’s budget to $6.7 billion for FY18. The budget also called for elimination of the Fogarty International Center and included $86 million for NIH’s BRAIN Initiative.
- Read SfN’s statement regarding the President’s budget proposal at SfN.org
May 25, 2017 | Science
The planned 11% cut to NSF’s $7.4 billion budget led to NSF leaders coming up with a set of principles to guide their budget-cutting decisions, and deciding what “core” programs needed to be protected at all costs. The last time NSF operated on a $6.65 billion budget was in 2008 and the biggest losers are a result of these cuts appear to be graduate research fellowships and the EPSCoR program.
- Contact your representatives and ask them to support NIH and NSF in FY2018 SfN.org
May 22, 2017 | STAT
Trump Administration officials are looking to set capped rates on indirect costs associated with research rather than allowing each institution to negotiate its own indirect cost rate. The Administration believes these caps will reduce fraud and fund misusage as well as provide regulatory relief to institutions, but researchers argue that caps could harm the research enterprise and leave many institutions and researchers at a disadvantage.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
May 24, 2017 | Science
Judges in California and Washington, D.C. are considering lawsuits from animal welfare groups aimed at forcing USDA to repost removed animal research records previously taken down this February. It is unknown when the judges will issue decisions, but they will impact the current issue of balancing animal research transparency and protecting researchers from being targeted by animal rights groups.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
May 19, 2017 | Nature
Party manifestos unveiled by the three candidates ahead of national elections in June all pledged long-term targets to raise research spending. Those in the research community find this to be reassuring for the future of research in the UK following Brexit.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
May 24, 2017 | The Hill
Rush Holt, former Congressman and current CEO of AAAS, and Elias Zerhouni, president of global R&D at Sanofi and former NIH director, wrote an op-ed arguing against the cuts to science programs found in President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal. Holt and Zerhouni highlight how science positively impacts the US and warn that a decrease in funding could cause lasting negative impacts for the biomedical research.
- Find science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org
May 25, 2017 | Wired
In this op-ed, the author notes while the President’s budget lacks spending authority, the proposed cuts to scientific programs display the Trump administration’s governing philosophy. The author also argues that science acts as an insurance for America, and by funding basic research, the government is not only preparing for possible negative outcomes but allowing for innovations to occur that are capable of saving many lives.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
May 25, 2017 | The Guardian
Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology at Imperial College London, discusses how scientific publishing has shifted from academic to commercial interests. Curry calls on the research community to rediscover that sharing information is the primary purpose of research publications and use that in combination with the power of the purse to take back control of research journals.
- Learn more about publishing and peer review at Neuronline
Articles of Interest
May 24, 2017 | Nature
Experts provide tips and tricks to help researchers successfully receive grant funding, such as embracing inexperience level, occasionally adding a senior collaborator, asking for larger amounts of money, and talking with program officers. Experts also suggest getting involved in the review process itself though programs like the Early Career Reviewer program at NIH.
- Find science funding resources at SfN.org
May 21, 2017 | NPR
Over 150 years after Phineas Gage was impaled by an iron bar, damaging his frontal lobe and resulting in certain personality changes, scientists still reference and study this case. Researchers say that this case remains of interest because it helped establish brain science as a field and was one of the first cases which showed that brain injury could lead to personality change.
- Learn more about the brains that changed neuroscience at BrainFacts.org
May 24, 2017 | Newsweek
A new study found that learning how to read changed the brain structure of adults. Researchers noticed structural differences in the subcortical structures and an increase in connections between these structures and the rest of the brain. The results provide expansion into our understanding of reading and the disorders that may impair it, such as dyslexia.
- Find more information about dyslexia at BrainFacts.org