This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
Scientific Societies Request Changes to NIH Clinical Trial Policy
October 31, 2017 | COSSA
A group of 22 scientific societies sent NIH Director Francis Collins a letter requesting that NIH revisit their new policy altering the definition of clinical trials. The letter itself supports increased transparency of NIH-funded research, but signatories’ expressed concerns that basic scientists will become unnecessarily burdened with clinical trial requirements.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
Pay for US Postdocs Varies Wildly by Institution
November 1, 2017 | Nature
Analysis of postdoctoral researchers pay has found that wages vary across public universities in the United States, with a majority of postdoc researchers earning between $40K-$49K per year. Data was collected during a year-long investigation by the science-advocacy group, Future of Research, which plan to publish their findings throughout November.
- Read about professional development on Neuronline
Spanish Government Takes Control of Catalonian Universities
October 31, 2017 | Nature
The Spanish government has taken over responsibility for higher education and research and spending on research centers and universities following Catalonia’s declaration of independence. The Catalan government has set and financed the budgets of universities for the past 32 years, and this change means that the Spanish government will be able to make decisions affecting research centers and universities in Catalonia without any members of the Catalan government.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
Join the Disruptors of Health Science
November 1, 2017 | Nature
Former NIHM director and current president and co-founder of the start-up Mindstrong Health, Thomas Insel, discusses the changing landscape of health research, with increased investment by technology companies, and how this investment is transforming data science. Insel provides examples of how access to information science can be translated into health advances and areas of uncertainty that exist within this landscape.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
Researchers Grapple With the Ethics of Testing Brain Implants
October 31, 2017 | Science
This article looks at the dilemmas associated with deep brain stimulation (DBS) research, such as what to do if a patient wants to keep the device and who will pay for treatment once the study or trial is concluded. These issues were discussed at a meeting on the ethical dilemmas of brain stimulation research at NIH, and a report on other ethical issues and ways they could be addressed is planned to be released.
- Find more information on deep brain stimulation on BrainFacts.org
3D Map of Mouse Neurons Reveals Complex Connections
October 27, 2017 | Nature
A recently released 3D map of a mouse brain, called MouseLight, allows researchers to trace neuron’s paths, which could eventually reveal how the mind compiles information. MouseLight is one of several methods being used to reconstruct individual neurons, and it has already provided new information, such as the large number of brain regions an axon can reach.
- Look at an interactive 3D brain on BrainFacts.org
Brain Patterns May Predict People at Risk of Suicide
October 30, 2017 | NPR
Results from a recent study found that individuals who think about committing suicide have distinctive brain activity. Researchers had volunteers lie in a brain scanner as words such as “death”, desperate”, “lifeless”, and “good” appeared on a computer screen, allowing the research team to capture brain activity. After running data through a machine learning program, a computer was able to accurately distinguish typical brains from suicidal brains with high accuracy.
- Read more about suicide on BrainFacts.org