"Breach of Trust" in Children's Study, UC Lends Money to Its Own State

Here's a rundown of some of the stories we've been following on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider:

Senate appropriators say that staff members of an ambitious children's health study at the U.S. National Institutes of Health have committed a "serious breach of trust" in withholding the ballooning costs of the project. The director of the study, which hopes to follow the health of 100,000 children from before birth through age 21, has changed jobs, and there are rumors that Duane Alexander, the 69-year-old head of the institute overseeing the project, may soon retire.

The cash-strapped University of California plans to lend $200 million to the state government, which will then give the money back. The university has a better credit rating than the state, which means it can borrow money at a lower interest rate.

Two ships that service the U.S. Antarctic research program are likely to fall victim to an expected ban on the heavy-grade fuel oil they use. The National Science Foundation has 2 years to come up with a solution.

Congress has given itself 2 months to reconcile differences in revamping the $2.5-billion-a-year Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

A National Academies panel wants NASA to reopen a research shop that it shut down for budgetary reasons 2 years ago. The report says the space agency could use some of the "creativity" that marked the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.

Last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed Francis Collins to be head of the National Institutes of Health and David Kappos to lead the Patent and Trademark Office. Meanwhile, bioethics expert R. Alta Charo is joining the Food and Drug Administration as a senior adviser to Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

For more on these stories and the latest science policy news and analysis, visit ScienceInsider.