Elsewhere in Science, 1 November 2013


CREDIT: Van J. Wedeen, Aapo Nummenmaa, Ruopeng Wang, and Lawrence L. Wald/Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital

Every week, Science publishes a few articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. But because those articles aren't featured on Science Careers, our readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we're pointing readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as the other Science-family publications (ScienceInsider, ScienceNow, Science Translational MedicineSci. TM—and Science Signaling)—that hold some relevance or nuggets of advice for readers interested in furthering their careers in science. (Please note that while articles appearing in ScienceInsider and ScienceNow can be read by anyone, articles appearing in Sci. TM and Science may require AAAS membership/Science subscription or a site license.)

• Tuesday on ScienceInsider, Jeffrey Mervis interviewed Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the ranking member of the House science committee, about the upcoming effort to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. Approved in 2007, the original COMPETES legislation committed the government to providing healthy funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science, while also setting government-wide spending priorities to be coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The act was reauthorized in 2010 "despite partisan bickering within Congress over its size and duration."

This latest reauthorization is expected to go less smoothly. In the interview, Johnson expressed concern over congressional meddling in scientific peer review and science funding and education policy being set without involving the stakeholders.

• Thursday on ScienceInsider, Jocelyn Kaiser reported that the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)—the second largest funder of cancer research in the United States after the National Cancer Institute—can now resume handing out research grants, including 118 awards that were approved before a moratorium took effect last December. "Governor Rick Perry had asked CPRIT to freeze operations after a string of controversies involving conflicts of interest and other irregularities. The trouble began in May 2012 with the resignation of CPRIT Chief Scientific Officer Alfred Gilman, a Nobel Prize winner, over the agency’s review procedures, and culminated in the resignation of two other top leaders." Since then, the Texas legislature passed a bill overhauling CPRIT's operations, and a new oversight board was appointed. If the 118 new awards are about the same size as CPRIT's previous awards, Texas cancer researchers should enjoy an injection of some $200 million in research funds.

• Also on Thursday, Mervis wrote a ScienceInsider story about a bill introduced by Representative James Lankford (R-OK) that would revise federal grant processes in ways that could cause trouble in science. Lankford, however, apparently doesn't intend for the troubling provisions—which could reveal proprietary information or the identities of grant reviewers—to apply to grants from science agencies such as NSF and the National Institutes of Health.

• Leading off this week's Science special issue on neuroscience, Alan Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of Science, wrote an editorial that called on the neuroscience community to embrace the changes to come. He pointed out that multiple and converging brain-research efforts, including the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies project in the United States and the Human Brain Project in Europe, are transforming the neuroscience field. "The neuroscience community should fully exploit these opportunities, even if it requires some behavior change among scientists. In many ways, these initiatives resemble 'big science,' like the Human Genome Project, requiring extensive coordination among many scientists and subfields." In addition to finding new ways to do science, such initiatives are likely to require new forms of advocacy, with all the members of the neuroscience community coming together for a common cause. "The new brain initiatives have great potential to accelerate progress in all of neuroscience. They should be fully embraced."

• In a policy forum in Science, Keith E. Maskus, A. Mushfiq Mobarak, and Eric T. Stuen explored the impact of foreign doctoral students and graduates on innovation in the United States. Their conclusion: "Based on our reading of existing evidence, we think that a combination of immigration reforms to encourage more talented foreign students to study at U.S. universities, as well as for science and engineering Ph.D. graduates to remain in the United States to work or to start entrepreneurial ventures, would help revitalize innovation and economic growth."

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