Science policy news weekly roundup: December 12, 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.

Funding

U.S. House approves bill to fund government (The Hill) Late last night, the U.S. House passed a $1.1 trillion funding package that will fund the majority of the government through the end of the fiscal year. It was unclear earlier in the day whether the bill would pass.

A few favorites within the National Institutes of Health’s flat budget (Science NOW) Although the slight increase in funding for the NIH does not keep pace with inflation, there are a few programs that will see more substantial increases. These include the BRAIN initiative and funding for Ebola research, among others.

New U.S. spending deal a mixed bag for science (Science Insider) The fiscal 2015 funding package awaiting approval in the U.S. Senate keeps the National Institutes of Health budget flat, while the National Science Foundation receives a very modest increase.

A taxpayer funded family feud (The Hill) Although the Food and Drug Administration considers the chemical BPA to be safe, the NIH continues to award grants to study its potential harmful effects.

Scientific workforce

The unsustainable post-doctoral fellowship (Inside Higher Ed) A new report from the National Academies of Science recommends a series of reforms to traditional postdoc training, including a substantial increase in salary.

Young scientists must be seen and heard (The Conversation) Future of Research, a postdoc-led initiative, recently issued a report on their first symposium held in October. A comparison of the U.S. postdoc experience with that of postdocs in Australia yields some differences, especially in salary.

Other

Scientists often skip a simple test that could verify their work (NPR) The science community is grappling with issues in the reproducibility of research. However, a simple test to verify the identity of cell lines has the potential to significantly impact the issue.

Failing forward: the slow process of searching for cures (The Atlantic) The path to treatments and cures for diseases is often long and usually full of many failures. However, the potential for a breakthrough drives scientists to continue their research.

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