Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy

  • The French Invade

    France's leading state-run research university—the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie—has been on the prowl along the U.S. East Coast this week, looking to test its new liberty. Under a law that takes effect in January, UPMC will be one of 20 "autonomous" state schools that for the first time will control their own budgets, hire their own faculty, and—in theory—run their own labs.

  • (Self)Censorship on Sex Grants

    Five years ago, the U.S. Congress sent a shudder through the biomedical research community when lawmakers came close to pulling funding for four National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants on sexual behavior. The controversy widened when a conservative group circulated a list of about 200 grants on sex- and AIDS-related topics and NIH scrambled to defend the research.

  • It's a Man's World

    The United Kingdom is the big winner—and women are the major losers—in the first round of grants for "advanced scientists" awarded by the European Research Council (ERC). The final results, released earlier this month, show that U.K. institutions will host 21% of the 275 grants, worth up to €3.5 million each and reserved for well-established scientists.

  • Grassley to NIH: Crack the Whip

    Expect no letup in the investigation of U.S. biomedical researchers who violate conflict-of-interest regulations. So says Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA), who’s been hammering scientists who receive pay from drug companies but fail to comply with U.S. rules requiring them to report such outside income.

  • 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.

  • 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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