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UK
Science policy and funding
Health policy
Education, training and careers
Technology transfer
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Pharma and biotech sector
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Issue 1166: 17 October 2014
UK
Science policy and funding
Scientists set out election demands
In a series of briefings, the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) has set out a number of priorities for political parties to consider when drafting their general election manifestos. One of the key actions that CaSE advocates is changes to taxation in order to increase levels of collaborative R&D.

Research Fortnight    Issue.443  - 15 October 2014 p.1, 4
Visa change fails to lure science superstars
A news article reveals that there were just 97 applications for tier 1 'exceptional talent' visas between April 2013 and February 2014, of which 67 were accepted, despite measures to relax the rules to encourage more applications. A Home Office spokesman stated that the "elite nature" of that specific visa route meant that the application numbers were likely to be lower, but that the Home Office would continue to promote and prioritise uptake of the scheme.

Research Fortnight    Issue.443  - 15 October 2014 p.5
Charities’ role in supporting medical research
Members of the Association of Medical Research Charities funded £1.3 billion of research in 2013, compared with £767 million from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and £959 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The combined funding of the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK was higher than either the MRC or NIHR.

THE    Issue.2174  - 16 October 2014 p.9
Health policy
Most people would be willing to take part in clinical research
A National Institute for Health Research survey of 3000 people in England has found that 89 per cent would be willing to participate in a clinical research study if they had a diagnosed disease or other condition. The chief executive of the Institute’s Clinical Research Network, Jonathan Sheffield, said that the survey results showed that people want to participate in research and stressed the need to "make information about clinical research opportunities widely available to NHS patients".

BMJ    Vol.349  - 17 October 2014
Ebola airport checks ‘are a joke’
Newly introduced Ebola screening checks at Heathrow airport are being heavily criticised, with reports that the system is largely voluntary and a 'joke'. Public officials have claimed that the screening measures are unlikely to stop people infected with the virus from entering Britain.

Times      - 15 October 2014 p.8
Education, training and careers
Estimates ‘soften the blow’ of USS reform
Evidence provided by Universities UK (UUK) on proposed changes to staff pensions has been criticised for underestimating the impact of the reforms, leading to calls for further independent modelling. The plans by UUK aim to fill an estimated £13 billion deficit in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). The UUK proposals will be discussed by the USS Joint Negotiation Committee in its first meeting later this month.

THE    Issue.2174  - 16 October 2014 p.6-7
Technology transfer
Drayson: universities should join up tech transfer resources to boost economic growth
At the recent UK Bioscience Forum Paul Drayson, a former Labour science minister, acknowledged that "huge progress" had been achieved by UK universities in commercialising intellectual property, but called for technology transfer offices to change their approach in order to support further economic growth.

Research Fortnight    Issue.443  - 15 October 2014 p.5
Global Themes
Pharma and biotech sector
Top doctor hails biomedical revolution
Professor Sir Robert Lechler has indicated that "we are entering a biomedical revolution", in comments to an innovation summit on the ways in which health tracking technology and regenerative medicine will enable personalised medicine. The Vice-principle of King's College London also urged that the city should make the most of its research institutions and a genetically diverse population, lest it be overtaken by other hubs of innovation abroad.

Independent      - 16 October 2014
Biomedical ethics
No stories this week.
Public engagement in science
No stories this week.
Publishing and data sharing
Review rewards
An editorial discusses attempts to publicise the hitherto unacknowledged peer review work of academics, led by New Zealand start-up Publons. Similar schemes to recognise peer reviewers from 'Nature' journals and science publisher Elsevier are also mentioned.

Nature    Vol.514  Issue.7522  - 16 October 2014 p.274
Global health
Controlling Ebola: next steps
A comment article discusses strategic approaches to controlling the spread of Ebola. The authors argue that, alongside the development of new treatments and vaccines, international efforts to combat the disease must be underpinned by early testing, secure transportation of patients, and the scaling up of local treatment facilities.

The Lancet    Vol.384  Issue.9952  - 18 October 2014 p.1409-1411
  See Also:
New Scientist    Vol.224  - 18 October 2014 p.28-29
Economist    Vol.413  - 18 October 2014 p.13, 67-70
Nature    Vol.514  - 16 October 2014 p.284–285
Ebola vaccine trials raise ethical issues
Researchers and global health experts are debating how clinical trials of Ebola vaccine candidates should be taken forward, and in particular whether adopting standard randomised control trials would raise unacceptable ethical issues.

Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.289-290
2015 - the year to rebuild WHO
A comment article discusses the role of the WHO in responding to global infectious disease outbreaks. The author argues that "Ebola has shown WHO forgetting the lessons of SARS" [Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome], and that cuts to the agency have impacted on its ability to respond to such crises. However, Ebola may provide an opportunity to reverse this decline.

The Lancet    Vol.384  Issue.9952  - 18 October 2014 p.1412
International science
The university experiment
A feature article investigates the evolving role of universities from centres of education through to drivers of economic change and scientific research. Strategies to tackle the political and financial pressures placed on universities are discussed, such as interdisciplinary centres and commercialisation.

Nature    Vol.514  Issue.7522  - 16 October 2014 p.287
'Nonadherence': A bitter pill for drug trials
An article discusses emerging approaches for monitoring compliance with drug regimens by participants in clinical trials. Non-adherence forms a major issue for designing and interpreting clinical studies, and is particularly prevalent in trials of psychiatric medications.

Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.288-289
Light loophole wins laurels
The 2014 Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William Moerner for the development of innovative approaches to microscopy, which have transformed previous limits on achievable levels of resolution.

Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.290-291
Worldwide
European Union
Changes on the horizon for consumer genomics in the EU
A commentary piece describes how ongoing revisions to EU legislation governing in vitro diagnostic medical devices may make it signficantly more difficult for companies to market genetic testing services directly to consumers.

Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.296-298
Europe
Scientific revolutionaries
An opinion piece discusses a new movement of European scientists protesting against funding cuts to research. An orchestrated protest will take place this week across Europe, with thousands of scientists taking part.

New Scientist    Vol.224  Issue.2991  - 18 October 2014 p.28-29
  See Also:
Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.285
Africa
No stories this week.
Middle East
No stories this week.
Asia
No stories this week.
Australasia
No stories this week.
North America
Big awards to mine big data
The US National Institutes of Health has awarded $32 million to support 11 research centres in developing and applying approaches to mine large scale biological datasets.

Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.286
Giant gene banks take on disease
An article describes research leading to the generation of the genetic dataset from the Haplotype Reference Consortium. The data, which will be revealed next week, has identified approximately 50 million genetic variants and collates information from multiple sources into one authoritative reference set.

Nature    Vol.514  Issue.7522  - 16 October 2014 p.282
Latin America
For Venezuelan academics, speaking out is risky business
An article describes how scientists in Venezuela are facing strict controls and laborious approval processes imposed by the central government. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro also recently initiated criminal proceedings against a physician who warned the public about an outbreak of an unidentified infectious disease, which had killed several patients.

Science    Vol.346  - 17 October 2014 p.287
Top Stories

Top Story
Scientific revolutionaries

An opinion piece discusses a new movement of European scientists protesting against ...

Top Story
Scientists set out election demands

In a series of briefings, the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) ...
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