Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy

  • And the £75,000 winner is....

    Many groups, even government agencies such as NASA, have begun to use prizes and competitions to push research in a more goal-oriented direction. The latest contest, just launched by the Financial Times, HP and the Forum for the Future, seeks innovative solutions to climate change and will award £75,000 for the best one. Yet the solution must be more than a great idea.

  • U.S.-Russia tensions put a chill on ice disaster research effort

    An ice jam contributed to flooding in Galena, Alaska, in 2013.

    An ice jam contributed to flooding in Galena, Alaska, in 2013.

    Alaska DOT&PF/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)



    As tensions between the United States and Russia remain high, funding for a program to share knowledge between the two nations on disasters known as ice jam floods has been thrown into disarray by U.S. sanctions. Now, scientists are going hat-in-hand to collect funds to save the effort.

    “Sometimes political decisions [trump] scientific cooperation,” says Tuyara Gavrileva, a social scientist with the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Russia. “The law is the law.”    

    Ice jam floods generally occur in the Arctic in the spring, when rapid warming can break up river ice, creating obstructions and flooding of nearby settlements. The new joint research project, run by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), and Gavrileva’s university , focuses on two towns that  both experienced catastrophic floods in May 2013: Galena, Alaska, and Edeytsy, Russia. Most public infrastructure in Edeytsy, in the Sakha republic, was destroyed in the floods, and some 1300 people were displaced. In Galena, floods drove 60% of residents from their homes.

  • Privacy: Congratulations, aren't you clever?

    Congratulations! You successfully decoded the encrypted URL on Science’s cover (or, um, took a shortcut by following a link someone sent you). Below you’ll find a key to the data we embedded in the cover image, which include privacy-related publications and events—and potentially private details about an individual’s health, movements, and behavior.

  • The sound of Proto-Indo-European

    The following parable, called "The King and the God," is based on an ancient Sanskrit hymn and is translated and recorded in Proto-Indo-European by linguist Andrew Byrd of the University of Kentucky.

    H3rḗḱs dei̯u̯ós-kwe

  • Society asks NIH to act now to lessen biomed scientist glut

    The authors of a new report urging changes in training the U.S. biomedical workforce say they were motivated by a desire for “less talk, more action.” But their prescription for how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should deal with a glut of young scientists demonstrates why the problem has been so hard to solve.

    Report after report in recent years has decried the surfeit of young biomedical scientists stuck in seemingly endless years of training and chasing too few academic research positions. In hope of finding consensus, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in Rockville, Maryland, combed through 267 recommendations in nine of these reports from a variety of groups that include the National Academy of Sciences and a group of postdocs. ASBMB pulled out eight suggestions common to most of the reports and presented them today in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.

    A consensus already exists around many of those recommendations: NIH needs more stable funding and a larger budget, and researchers should face fewer administrative burdens. But provisions aimed specifically at young scientists are more problematic.

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