Science policy news weekly update: January 27, 2017

 

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 director of public affairs, Ben Corb, gives a brief statement regarding the ASBMB’s stance on separating politics from peer-reviewed research.

ASBMB statement supporting peer-reviewed science at federal agencies

Corb provides an overview of issues at the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation that we will be keeping a close eye on as the 115th Congress begins its work.

What we’re watching for

Corb tries to provides clarity on a memo sent to agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (including the NIH)that halted communications between agency  and public officials, with the exception of correspondence approved by HHS.

NIH transition- trying to provide clarity

 

As his first week in office comes to a close, President Donald Trump’s Cabinet has begun to take shape. The U.S. Senate confirmed a number of key agency appointments, including Department of Homeland Security secretary, Defense Department secretary and CIA director. However, many science and technology positions remaining vacant. Additionally, many of Trump’s picks to run scientific agencies have been met with criticism. Lawmakers have questioned their qualifications and expressed concern about conflicts of interest. Therefore, serious questions surround the Trump administration’s plans for the nation’s scientific agencies.

What’s next for science and tech? (GeekWire)

 

As we previously reported, the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology was unable to replicate results from high-impact papers. This, of course, does not mean the original research is flawed; rather, it might mean that the conditions for perfect replication  are unobtainable. These findings, however, have led scientists to wonder: How reproducible is basic science research?

Cancer scientists are having trouble replicating groundbreaking research (Vox)

How reproducible is basic lab research in cancer biology? (Science Based Medicine)

 

In a recent Facebook post, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R- S.C., who is President Trump’s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget, asked, “Do we need government-funded research at all?” While this question led many in the scientific community to clinch their fists, it also unearths a larger issue: Many of our lawmakers lack a fundamental knowledge about the benefits and necessity of basic biomedical research. Mulvaney’s question proves that now, more than ever, those with scientific literacy need to band together, not in an attempt to revolt, but to assist and educate our representatives on policy decisions to preserve future funding for biomedical research.

Funding for basic biomedical research must be preserved (Morning Consult)

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