This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
Trump Offers His List of Five Science Priorities
August 17, 2017 | Science
A memo released by the White House instructs federal agencies to use their research funds to deliver short-team gains in five priority areas: military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health. The memo is used as a reminder of the administration’s research priorities before agencies submit their next budget request. Additionally, the memo states that achieving these goals should not require additional spending and directs agencies to focus on basic science and quickly step aside to allow industry to pursue any results that have commercial promise.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
FDA Puts New Restrictions on Hiring of Foreign Scientists
August 11, 2017 | STAT
The FDA has started to implement a new hiring protocol that would make it harder for foreign scientists to find jobs and research opportunities at the FDA. Hiring managers have been told not to offer employment to individuals who have not lived in the U.S. for at least three of the previous five years. The hiring protocol was attributed to changes in the federal background checks government employees must undergo to obtain an ID card. It is currently unclear if other federal agencies are planning to implement similar measures.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
Budget Cuts Fuel Frustration Among Japan's Academics
August 14, 2017 | Nature
A shift in scientific priorities towards innovation and interaction between academia and business has led to a drain in funding for basic science, harming universities and research institutions, such as Japan’s primer scientific research institution, RIKEN. For example, in the past 10 years RIKEN’s budget has been cut by more than 20 percent and universities’ budgets have declined by one percent each year since 2004.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
Biomedical Research is Vital to Tackling Public Health Challenges
August 11, 2017 | The Hill
Robert Burgess, SfN Committee on Animal Research member and professor at the Jackson Laboratory, published an op-ed highlighting the critical need for animals in research. Burgess states that nearly every major medical advancement over the past century has been made possible due to animal research, and computers cannot yet replicate the success of animal models.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
Funding Uncertainty Threatens Addiction Research
August 17, 2017 | Houston Chronicle
Sangeev Khatiwada, SfN Early Career Policy Ambassador and PhD candidate at Baylor College of Medicine, wrote an op-ed highlighting the important role federal funding plays in combating addiction. Khatiwada states that because of NIH support, his lab was able to identify a molecular process that can explain why teens are more vulnerable to addictive drugs. Khatiwada also urges his Members of Congress to increase funding for scientific research.
- Find science funding resources at SfN.org
Tell Me About Your Research, This Time with Feeling
August 9, 2017 | Scientific American
This article argues that scientists need to learn how to identify and develop emotional connections with the public to bolster the importance of their research. The authors suggest using effective storytelling methods found fiction writing, such the use of chronological order and plot-narratives.
- Learn how to communicate your science at Neuronline
Articles of Interest
China Launches Brain-Imaging Factory
August 16, 2017 | Nature
A new facility set to open in Suzhou, China next month has the capability to transform and accelerate progress in high-resolution brain mapping. The facility will have 50 automated machines that can slice, take pictures, and create 3D reconstructions of mice brains. The institute is looking forward to international collaboration and has already set-up partnerships with the Allen Institute, Stanford University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- Learn more about mapping the brain on BrainFacts.org
New Study Highlights Strong Link Between Basic Research and Inventions
August 14, 2017 | NPR
In this interview, Benjamin Jones, economist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, discusses findings from a recent study that uncovered a strong link between basic research and innovations. Jones and his colleague looked at patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office and scientific papers, focusing on papers that had been cited by at least one other scientist, and found that 80 percent of cited scientific papers can be traced to a future marketplace innovation.
- Watch a video about basic science and innovation on BrainFacts.org
Dementia and Brain Research Could be Improved Thanks to New Sensor
August 14, 2017 | Medical Xpress
The TaiNI sensor system, developed by engineers at Imperial College London, is a new lightweight sensor system used for recording neural activity in mice brains. TaiNI’s size, weight, battery life, and signal bandwidth makes it easier to collect large amounts of data and monitor neural activity. Researchers believe this new device could assist in understanding brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.
- Find more information neural activity on BrainFacts.org
How Your Mind Protects You Against Hallucinations
August 10, 2017 | Science
A new study suggests that our brain keeps tabs on reality by questioning past experiences and beliefs and that hallucinations occur when this internal fact-checking fails. Brain scans showed that schizophrenics and self-described psychics showed abnormal neuronal activity in the part of the brain responsible for determining reality and a decrease of activity in the cerebellum. The findings suggest that our ideas and beliefs can overpower our senses and that the cerebellum may be a major checkpoint against this distortion.
- Read more on hallucinations at BrainFacts.org