Science policy news weekly roundup: September 26, 2014

The roundup is formatted with the title of the story, followed by the news source in parentheses and a brief summary. If you find a particularly interesting article, please send it to esiebrasse@asbmb.org for inclusion in next week’s roundup.

Federal science funding

Plan for U.S. biomedical policy reforms not yet ready for prime time (ScienceNOW) Authors of a hotly debated article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the future of the biomedical research enterprise decided to step back and reassess their recommendations with increased input from scientists, particularly early career scientists.

U.S. Reps. Higgins and DeLauro introduce bill increasing NIH funding (news release) U.S. Reps. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced H.R. 5580, the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act, which is the companion legislation to the bill by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa (S. 2658).

The U.S. should boost NIH funding to spur basic research (Raleigh News & Observer) Raphael Valdivia from Duke University explains the importance of NIH funding and the harmful effects decreased funding for biomedical research is having on the nation.

ACT for NIH seeks significant funding increase to enhance life-saving medical research (News Medical) Pat White is at the helm of a new group bringing together patients, advocates, scientists and lawmakers for a bipartisan effort to increase NIH funding and promote its important, life-saving research.

After the NIH funding “euphoria” comes the “hangover” (NPR) Stagnation or decreases in allocations to the NIH lead to larger-than-expected decreases in funding for new projects due to “mathematical quirks” of the typical four year grant cycle.

Grants for research get scarcer (Boston Globe) Harvard University scientists dubbed “superstars of superstars” are increasingly looking to corporations and wealthy philanthropists to supplement decreasing awards from federal sources.

A (political) breakthrough on biomedical research (Denver Post) The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 21st Century Cures initiative continues to garner national press and optimism for a successful bipartisan effort.

Give people hope; restore federal funding for medical research (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Arthur Levine from the University of Pittsburgh calls on Congress to restore NIH funding cut by sequestration. (Please note that despite this article’s first paragraph, Congress did pass a continuing resolution through Dec. 11, which includes funding for NIH.)

The Ice Bucket Challenge results in disaster (The Daily Northwestern) A Northwestern University graduate student argues that funding for individual diseases through philanthropic organizations is “remarkably inefficient” and that the money would be more impactful if administered by the NIH on “the basis of scientific merit and disease impact.”

Biosafety

New lab incidents fuel fear, safety concerns in Congress (USA Today) Legislators are increasingly disturbed by a series of recent biosafety lapses in U.S. labs, and some have called for a more formal system of oversight.

U.S. asks universities to flag risky pathogen experiments (ScienceNOW) The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released the U.S. government’s policy on dual-use research of concern yesterday. The new policy places a heavier burden on institutions to identify and mitigate risk from this type of research. 

Antimicrobial resistance

Brown builds on previous directives aimed at combating antimicrobial resistance (news release) After last week’s presidential executive order on antimicrobial resistance and an accompanying report, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, discusses the problem and his solution, the STAAR Act (S. 2313).

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