A Senate spending panel has approved a $2 billion (6.2%) increase in the National Institutes of Health budget. A large proportion of this increase is for specific initiatives, such as Alzheimer’s research and brain-mapping projects. While this news is promising, the prospects for bills being approved by Congress this year are uncertain.
François Hollande, the president of France, has agreed to cancel more than half of €256 million ($289 million) proposed budget cuts to research and higher education. This partial U-turn came after heavy criticism from scientists, who condemned the cuts as ‘scientific and industrial suicide’.
A number of initiatives are being explored to aid researchers fleeing violence in the Middle East to secure research positions across Europe. There has been substantial progress in a relatively short time period, with a mix of EU-wide schemes and smaller, piecemeal programs on a country-by-country basis. However, there are significant issues with a lack of funding and advertising.
The US House of Representatives has approved a bill to give more oversight over building and operating large research facilities at the National Science Foundation (NSF). The aim is to avoid a repeat of problems that have plagued the NSF’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NSF officials say the new rules would not have caught the problems NEON is facing and may put off highly qualified bidders in the future.
Canada has appointed a nine-member panel to study basic science in Canada. The panel will investigate the impact of the scientific policies under the last prime minister, Stephen Harper, which were viewed by many as detrimental to basic science. The panel is expected to report by the end of the year.
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Contributed by Dr. Peter Harvey, Postdoctoral Researcher in Biological Engineering at MIT.