The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has released a new report, Sustaining Discovery in Biological and Medical Sciences: A Framework for Discussion, detailing FASEB’s most recent analysis of the problems/issues facing the biomedical research enterprise.
From the executive summary: “FASEB….is concerned about the future of biological and medical research. Inconsistent investment policies, growing demands for research funding, and outdated policies are jeopardizing current and future progress in this important area of research. This is a serious problem for the nation, and requires immediate attention and action.”
Options for mitigating the multitude of problems discussed in the FASEB report include: 1: Maximize research funding; 2: Optimize funding mechanisms; and 3: Improve workforce utilization and training.
ScienceInsider writes, “Although it echoes previous reports, FASEB’s analysis breaks new ground for the society because it provides “a comprehensive view of the problem and recognizes that an increase in funding is not the way out of this dilemma,” says Howard Garrison, director of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs. He said FASEB’s board now hopes to collect feedback from its membership.”
Welcome back students, faculty, and staff to University of Washington and happy fall everyone! The FOSEP leaders are feeling refreshed after a wonderful summer break and can’t wait to get started with the new school year. We have some really exciting events planned for the upcoming year and hope you can join us as we promote scientific discussions across disciplines and varying levels of expertise.
Please join us on Tuesday October 1st, 2014 at the College Inn (in the back room) at 5:30pm. We will be reconnecting, sharing ideas, and learning about FOSEP and this year’s leaders and exciting upcoming events (snacks will be provided). We will also be discussing the Ebola outbreak, the way the media often focuses on American patients, and also the recent fearful media stories about the virus itself. Please RSVP here.
Also note: Upcoming monthly FOSEP Discussion Meetings
Save the Date – Thursday October 16th and Thursday November 20th.
We will be hosting regular discussion meetings on the intersect of science and policy and the place we have as grad students in it. We meet every third Thursday, 5:30-7:30 PM. The location and topics will be announced closer to the date of our discussions. Possible topics include the death penalty, coal trains, and the use of drones.
From the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Science Network Workshop Series:
101: Science & Policy Change: Using your expertise to influence the policy making process
Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Presenters: Kate Cell, Senior Outreach Coordinator, UCS Climate and Energy Program; Dr. Dave Cooke, Vehicles Analyst, UCS Clean Vehicles Program; Dr. Daniel Pomeroy, AGU Congressional Science Fellow, Office of Senator Edward Markey
In today’s partisan political climate and noisy media landscape, science doesn’t always get an equal seat at the table in the policy making process. But for experts who want to make a difference on the issues they care about, there are opportunities to be a voice of influence and reason at all levels of policy making. This webinar is a guide for scientists and other experts who are interested in learning how they can use their expertise to make an impact on the policy process at the local, state, or national level. We will cover an approach to the theory of social change as it relates to the policy process, what it takes to create policy opportunities and how to identify them, strategies for working with coalitions, and advice on how to be a resource for decision makers. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions to experts who have been involved in every step of the process, from organizing to coalition-building to advising a legislator.
ECS: So You Want to Work in Science Policy: What the experts wish they knew when they were students
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Presenters: Christopher Boniface, UCS National Advisory Board member and molecular biologist; Emily Boniface, UCS National Advisory Board member and cell and molecular biologist; Andrew Rosenberg, Director, the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS
Whether you’re a grad student, post-doc, or early career scientist, if you’re interested in a career at the nexus of science and policy, it may be hard to know where to look for guidance. Join us for a Google+ Hangout with three scientists who have been in your shoes. Our experts will share tips on how to make the most of the resources that are available to you, and personal stories about what they wish they knew when they were finishing their degrees. During this interactive Hangout you’ll have plenty of time to ask your questions about building your network, finding a mentor, and where to look for resources and guidance as you take the next step in your career.
We hosted the 2nd annual 1000 Word Event with the Burke Museum last month March 21st, and have finally been able to get up a blog post about it. Apologies to everyone who entered and how late this reporting is (and apologies if your photos don’t match entries).
We had just over 60 people in attendance at the event. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Happy Hour, and then were a great audience for the event itself. I was impressed with my colleagues and their creativity, as well as the broad showing of departments we had from all around the University.
One of the things FOSEP members wanted to focus on this year was communication, and we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to try in a friendly environment. When I was writing my entry, I was surprised at how hard it was to convey my research using the 1000 most common words, but found that it really challenged me to think about what my research means. I was trying to use both fast and slow thinking and understand where my audience was coming from, as we had talked about earlier in the year in our book club, but I found it was hard when limited to these words. (How do you talk about hypertension if you can’t even use the word blood pressure – blood pushing on the inside of course).
See more, including the entries and winners after the jump…
“Given that the budget allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds the non-commercial, basic medical research required to develop new medical treatments and cures, is actually lower this year than it was in 2012, it has never been more important to fight for NIH funding. To help ensure that this unique federal agency receives the resources needed to support research at universities, hospitals and other research institutions across the country, Representatives Peter King (R-NY), Susan Davis (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), and David McKinley (R-WV) are circulating a sign-on letter in support of critically needed funding for NIH.”
In addition to the NIH budget being lower this year than in 2012, as a recent NatureEditorial points out, due to inflation and continued flat funding, the NIH’s budget has decreased by 10% in the last 10 years! Inflation for biomedical research is high, which means flat funding is actually a funding cut when inflation is taken into account. For example, while President Obama requested a 0.7% increase in his FY2015 budget for the NIH, inflation is projected to rise by 2.2% in 2014, translating into an actual 1.5% cut for NIH spending. Likewise, by FY2019 the Department of Health and Human Services is projecting biomedical inflation to be at 3.3%, which would mean Congress would have to approve at least a 3.3% budget increase just for the NIH’s purchasing power to remain flat!
While these numbers are quite disheartening, a bipartisan group of Congress members are now recognizing what flat funding for NIH actually means. The McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research currently being circulated reads, “As Members of Congress who value the critical role played by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in better health outcomes, job creation, education, and economic growth, we respectfully request that the NIH receives at least $32 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. We feel this amount is the minimum level of funding needed to reflect the rising costs associated with biomedical research. At a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity, it is critical that the United States make forward-thinking investments that promote medical breakthroughs as well as our international leadership in biomedical research.”
The McKinley-Davis-Carson-King Letter for Medical Research’s $32 billion ask for FY2015 would be an additional 5.5% budget increase over Obama’s request. Please consider contacting your US House of Representative to urge them to sign on to the letter.
Crossposted from SciencePolitics.