This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
Trump Retains Collins as NIH Director
June 6, 2017 | Science
The White House announced that Francis Collins will remain the Director of NIH, bringing relief to many in the biomedical research community. Collins was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and asked stay on temporarily after the 2016 election.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
June 6, 2017 | Science
A proposed NIH policy that would shift money away from already well-funded labs, a policy based on an agency-led analysis of lab productivity, has led to debate among biomedical researchers. Critics are specifically questioning the use of RCR (Relative Citation Ratio) as measure of lab productivity, claiming it does not adequately capture a scientist’s contribution.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
June 1, 2017 | Times of San Diego
Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52nd) criticized the administration’s proposed $7 billion cut to NIH and called for reliable and consistent science funding. Peters noted the importance of science funding to the nation’s innovation economy and his constituents in San Diego.
- Read SfN’s statement regarding the President’s budget proposal at SfN.org
June 6, 2017 | Nature
Following controversial government science reforms involving the removal of international scientists from review panels, hundreds of leading Romanian scientists say they will refuse to sit on national panels that assess and award grants in protest. However, not all Romanian scientists support this boycott, claiming that it could hurt the research community.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
How do We Integrate Science into Public Policy Decision-Making
June 8, 2017 | The Minnesota Post
Phyllis Kahn, PhD and former state representative for Minnesota, discusses how science is relevant in all levels of government and offers solutions for how science can be integrated into public policy decisions. For example, Khan suggests creating a dialogue between scientists and representatives as well as highlighting the faith that the public holds in science and technology.
- Find science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org
June 2, 2017 | The Baltimore Sun
Peter Agre, Nobel Prize winner and Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, shares his personal story of how funding from NSF and NIH significantly impacted his career- particularly his early career- and family. He states that the President’s proposed FY18 budget creates a bleak future for science, especially young researchers.
- Contact your representatives and ask them to support NIH and NSF in FY2018 SfN.org
June 7, 2017 | The Washington Post
In this op-ed, the authors talk about the role journalist play in translating research on health and health policy for the public, government officials, and other scientists, and how coverage of bad science can result in ineffective and harmful policies. The authors highlight specific examples of bad science and scientific reporting and offer possible solutions, such as using randomized control trials to test policy supported by public resources and abandoning misleading research designs.
- Find out how to engage the media at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
Brain Scans May Forecast Autism in Babies
June 7, 2017 | Scientific American
A recent study found that patterns of brain activity in 6-month-old babies could predict which of the study participants would later be diagnosed with autism. The research team looked at brain scans of children who had an older sibling with autism and the scans were able to predict autism with 97 percent accuracy. However, the study did not reveal the brain regions or connections that are altered in autism.
- Learn more about autism at BrainFacts.org
June 1, 2017 | The Verge
Scientists successfully moved a mouse’s whiskers from outside the brain by using high-frequency signals. Until now, the only way to stimulate regions deep in the brain was through deep-brain stimulation. This new technique could helpful for those with conditions such as Parkinson’s.
- Find more information about mind and the machine at BrainFacts.org
May 29, 2017 | The New York Times
This article examines the reproducibility problem in science and the desire for researchers to feel the need to make sure they always achieve positive results in research. The author highlights how the scientific community is trying to find solutions to this issue, including NIH grants to promote awareness and knowledge of best practices in research in order to enhance scientific rigor. Ultimately, the author believes that a culture change in science needs to occur for an increase in reproducibility.
- Watch SfN’s NIH funded series on scientific rigor and reproducibility on Neuronline
Alan Alda's Experiment: Helping Scientists Learn to Talk to the Rest of Us
June 4, 2017 | NPR
In this interview, Alan Alda discusses his new book and his work at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, which works to help train scientists to better communicate their work. Alda highlights how important it is for scientists to learn how to communicate with the public and how this lack of clear communication may partly be the reason for opposition towards science.
- Learn how to communicate your science at Neuronline