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Category: Transformative/Innovative/High Risk, High Reward Research

Senate appropriations committee recognizes the importance of innovation in the U.S. ?>

Senate appropriations committee recognizes the importance of innovation in the U.S.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, started the “Driving Innovation through Federal Investments” hearing saying that funding innovative research is of huge importance to the U.S. Supporting this statement, Mikulski pointed out that 138 pieces of written testimony, including one from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, were submitted prior to the hearing, demonstrating the support across the nation of investing in innovation. The hearing featured five witnesses representing federal agencies: John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy; Ernest Moniz, Secretary, Department…

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Fund people not projects at NIH? ?>

Fund people not projects at NIH?

Word has leaked that the National Institutes of Health director, Francis Collins, is considering expanding the “fund people not projects” concept at the agency. This is already in place as part of the PIONEER awards program that funds seven select individuals with $500,000 per year for five years. Collins is expected to meet with NIH institution directors on Jan. 6 to discuss the new proposal. The motivation behind such a change comes from the idea that funding people instead of…

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Training the future generation of scientists for non-academic careers ?>

Training the future generation of scientists for non-academic careers

An often eye-opening fact is that less than 25 percent of trained Ph.D.s obtain tenure-track faculty positions. However, little is done in academia to train these graduate students and postdocs for careers outside of academia. The National Institutes of Health addressed this issue in the Biomedical Workforce Report and generated a new funding program through the NIH Common Fund termed Broadening Experience in Scientific Training. This program calls for “innovative approaches to address workforce challenges,” and the first round of…

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Nobel Prize winners talk culture of U.S. science ?>

Nobel Prize winners talk culture of U.S. science

National Public Radio’s show “On Point” hosted by Tom Ashbrook interviewed Nobel Prize winners James Rothman and Arieh Warshel and Cold Spring Harbor President Bruce Stillman about the state of basic science in the U.S. The overarching theme during the radio program was similar to the sentiment of most scientists in the U.S. as demonstrated by the release of the ASBMB Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity survey. With funding not keeping up with inflation and the percentage of grants being funded…

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Make high-impact research a priority, White House says ?>

Make high-impact research a priority, White House says

On July 21, the White House directed science agencies to focus research investments on areas of major societal need. In a memo from its Office of Management and Budget, the White House laid out a plan that aims to maximize the return on federal investments in science for the 2012 federal budget.

NSF criticized at U.S. Senate hearing about innovation ?>

NSF criticized at U.S. Senate hearing about innovation

Should National Science Foundation grants be tied to how well universities work with industry? During a June 22nd U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on innovation, Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, criticized the NSF’s approach to funding research.

What makes DARPA so special? ?>

What makes DARPA so special?

On Jan. 7 at a meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, officials from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, known as DARPA, presented what they believed were the characteristics of this defense-oriented research agency that have allowed it to innovate and succeed over it’s decades-long history. Skeptical, PCAST members questioned DARPA officials about the true source of DARPA’s perceived success.

Hearing on innovation offers divergent perspectives ?>

Hearing on innovation offers divergent perspectives

On Oct. 8, in testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Research and Science Education Subcommittee, prominent witnesses from the scientific community expressed differing views about how the federal government can foster scientific innovation. While witnesses and subcommittee members agreed that supporting “high-risk, high-reward” research was important, there was little consensus about the best mechanisms to encourage groundbreaking science.