Science policy news weekly update: December 23, 2016

 

The ASBMB’s Public Affairs Department encourages all readers of the Policy Blotter to alert the office about interesting and relevant articles. Please send tips to astothert@asbmb.org.

What’s new in Blotter news?

The ASBMB’s policy fellow, Andrew Stothert, gives an overview of the ongoing U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hearing regarding patent ownership of the CRISPR/Cas9 system.

Who owns the CRISPR gene editing-method?

The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, describes who could be the next director of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the qualities we hope to see in this person.

Who will be the next director of the NIH?

 

President-elect Donald Trump has been vague on his views regarding science and biomedical research. However, the presence of Newt Gingrich as an influential adviser to the Trump administration’s transition team has left many in the science community with a sense of optimism. Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House and longtime proponent for increasing funding for the NIH, has stated that the Trump administration will be committed to science research. Despite this assurance, many in the scientific community are still anxious while Trump decides on who he will appoint to his science and technology team. Vacant positions include the president’s science adviser, the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Advising Trump on potential appointments for these positions, as well as other areas in health, science and technology policy is Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire and founder of PayPal.

Trump administration will be committed to science (STAT)

Researchers anxiously await Trump’s pick for science adviser (Science)

Peter Thiel said to be playing key role in filling health, science posts under Trump (STAT)

 

After new federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor, postdocs in the U.S. were expected to receive a salary increase to a minimum $47,476 to prevent universities from having to pay overtime to those working more than 40 hours a week. However, on Nov. 22, just days before the Dec. 1 commencement of the new regulations, a U.S. district court ruling in Texas granted an injunction, halting this process. The ruling essentially leaves the decision up to the individual universities as to whether or not they will honor the proposed postdoctoral salary increase. While many universities have decided to honor the proposed increases, others have not, leaving postdocs across America struggling with their salary situation.

U.S. postdocs grapple with salary changes (The Scientist)

 

Barack Obama’s presidency has been labeled by many in the scientific community as a time of renewed support for science and scientific research. From the removal of barriers for federal funding to support stem-cell research to steps to combat global climate change, the administration has demonstrated it held science in the highest regard. However, despite the overall renewed support for the sciences, many feel Obama’s science legacy will be how his policies maximized the social and economic benefits of research and innovation.

Obama administration’s big science and tech innovation: socially engaged policy (The Conversation)

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