The White House has announced reallocating $589 million from Ebola response funds towards combatting the Zika virus. However, this falls far short of the $2 billion requested by the White House from Congress, who have yet to act on the emergency funding request. Money has already been diverted to Zika from malaria, flu, and tuberculosis research.
Despite, or perhaps because of, an increasing number of PhDs being awarded, job prospects for postgraduates are not looking good. The employment rates for every science and engineering field are at, or close to, their lowest levels in the last 15 years, according to an annual report by the NIH, NASA, and US Department of Education. Unsurprisingly, for those that did find work, those going into postdoctoral research were by far the lowest paid.
In February, despite opposition from the scientific community and the White House, the US House of Representatives passed the “Scientific Research in the National Interest Act” (H.R. 3293), a bill to ensure only research deemed to be towards “national interest” is eligible for NSF funding. Keep an eye out for future AFS blog posts on this subject, as we’ll be digging deeper into the background and potential repercussions of this, and related, bills.
Canada’s new liberal government announced a new spending plan with the main research funding agencies receiving a $108 million boost to their funding this year as part of a sweeping range of new programs. This increase is welcome after years of static or declining budgets during the previous governments “war on science”. Finance Minister Bill Morneau has also promised to promote “evidence-based policies”.
The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology held an oversight hearing on March 22 to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2017 National Science Foundation budget request. An archived webcast of the hearing and written testimony is available on the subcommittee website, but keep an eye out for future AFS blog posts on this topic.
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Contributed by Dr. Peter Harvey, Postdoctoral Researcher in Biological Engineering at MIT.