CATEGORIES
UK
Science policy and funding
Health policy
Education, training and careers
Technology transfer
Global Themes
Pharma and biotech sector
Biomedical ethics
Public engagement in science
Publishing and data sharing
Global health
International science
Worldwide
European Union
Europe
Africa
Middle East
Asia
Australasia
North America
Latin America
Issue 1158: 22 August 2014
UK
Science policy and funding
MPs revolt over go-ahead for 'three-parent babies'
A group of MPs has raised concerns about a bill which would allow the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to license clinics to provide mitochondrial replacement therapy. The procedure would allow women suffering from mitochondrial disease to have healthy children, but some MPs argue that the technique requires further research and debate.

Sunday Times      - 17 August 2014 p.4
Independence 'would damage Scotland's edge in biomedicine'
George Freeman, the new Life Sciences Minister, has said that independence would damage biomedical research in Scotland, with the country currently benefiting from a large share of the UK national science budget and funding from UK charities. Freeman's statement echoes that of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which has also expressed concerns that independence would lead to a lack of funding for Scottish research.

Independent      - 18 August 2014 p.11
  See Also:
Guardian      - 18 August 2014 p.
Health policy
Almost half of doctors admit they prescribe unnecessary antibiotics
A recent Longitude Prize survey found that 45 per cent of the 1004 responding GPs had prescribed antibiotics despite being aware that they won't effectively treat their patients. Nine out of ten respondents said that they felt pressured by patients to hand out the prescription treatments.

Independent i      - 20 August 2014 p.21
Education, training and careers
Demand for STEM subjects holds up in wake of fees hike
A recent study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England has shown that the number of undergraduates studying STEM subjects has remained ‘strong’ following tuition fee rises in 2012-2013. The number of university acceptances for STEM subjects rose by eight per cent in 2013-2014; in contrast, acceptances for modern foreign languages fell by seven per cent.

THE    Issue.2166  - 21 August 2014 p.6-7
Technology transfer
Learning how to catapult what you have into a money-spinner that everyone will want
The first in a series of articles examining innovation in Britain looks at the Catapult Programme, which provides funding for translating academic research into economic success. The programme is based on the successful Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany and aims to support the Government’s commitment to translational research in the UK.

Times (Ireland)      - 18 August 2014 p.35
Global Themes
Pharma and biotech sector
No stories this week.
Biomedical ethics
No stories this week.
Public engagement in science
No stories this week.
Publishing and data sharing
Low publication output for female scientists
An analysis of almost one million preprints on the arXiv open access repository has found that the average male physicist and mathematician publishes 45 per cent more papers than his female colleagues. Possible explanations for this discrepancy include the higher number of male principal investigators (PIs) compared to female PIs, childcare responsibilities and the tendency for many female scientists to spend more time teaching.

THE    Issue.2166  - 21 August 2014 p.11
Global health
UK launches £6.5m emergency Ebola research programme
The UK Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust have launched an emergency research programme to study the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The programme, worth £6.5 million over two months, will support research that can swiftly begin to investigate new approaches to treating, preventing and containing the disease.

Guardian      - 21 August 2014 p.6
Ebola: a failure of international collective action
An editorial describes the WHO's attempts to co-ordinate the international response to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which Médecins Sans Frontières described as "dangerously inadequate". Efforts have thus far been impeded by a combination of cultural and logistical difficulties, as well as a lack of funding available to the health systems in the affected countries.

The Lancet    Vol.384  Issue.9944  - 23 August 2014 p.637
  See Also:
Nature    Vol.512  - 21 August 2014 p.233
Nature News      - 20 August 2014 p.
New Scientist    Vol.223  - 23 August 2014 p.7
Science    Vol.345  - 22 August 2014 p.856
Guardian      - 18 August 2014 p.12
The Lancet    Vol.384  - 23 August 2014 p.649
A one-two punch against polio
New research published this week suggests that an alternative vaccination strategy that combines injected and oral vaccines may be more effective at preventing transmission of polio than repeated doses of the oral vaccine. The findings may help accelerate the ongoing drive for polio eradication.

Science    Vol.345  - 22 August 2014 p.861-862
International science
Microbiome science needs a healthy dose of scepticism
An opinion piece discusses the rapidly accelerating field of microbiomics research and suggests that the science "risks being drowned in a tsunami of its own hype". The author lists five key questions which should be borne in mind by researchers and evaluators if they wish to avoid some of the over-exaggerated claims made on its behalf.

Nature    Vol.512  Issue.7514  - 21 August 2014 p.247–248
A swan in the making
An editorial discusses lessons that could be drawn from the manufacturing industries in helping to create the technical tools and working culture within the scientific community to help ensure research reproducibility.

Science    Vol.345  - 22 August 2014 p.855
Worldwide
European Union
No stories this week.
Europe
Poles return from visit to Valley ‘willing to take risks’
A nationwide innovation programme has recently been launched by the Polish Government to teach Poland’s top academics about technology transfer and entrepreneurship and encourage them to take risks in their research. It is hoped that alumni of the programme, which takes place over nine weeks in Silicon Valley in California, will help to improve science and innovation across the country.

THE    Issue.2166  - 21 August 2014 p.16
Africa
No stories this week.
Middle East
No stories this week.
Asia
No stories this week.
Australasia
No stories this week.
North America
NIH to probe racial disparity in grant awards
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will begin a trial of identity stripping in grant applications next month. The study has been designed in response to an article in 'Science' in 2011 that found the NIH was funding white researchers at nearly twice the rate of African American researchers. An accompanying editorial praises the NIH for its approach to the issue, but warns that if evidence of unconscious bias is found, it will be a difficult problem to resolve.

Nature    Vol.512  Issue.7514  - 21 August 2014 p.243, 231
DARPA chikungunya challenge
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a $150,000 prize for the development of models that predict how the chikungunya virus may spread in the US and Caribbean over the next six months. It is the first health-related challenge announced by the Agency.

Science    Vol.345  - 22 August 2014 p.857
Houston has lift-off
A careers article surveys the booming biomedical sector in Houston, the fourth largest city in the US.

Nature    Vol.512  - 21 August 2014 p.339-340
Latin America
What Argentina’s financial woes mean for science
A set of interviews with key Argentinian researchers and policy makers looks at the future of science in the country in light of its current financial difficulties.

Nature News      - 21 August 2014
Top Stories

Top Story
NIH to probe racial disparity in grant awards

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will begin a trial of ...

Top Story
UK launches £6.5m emergency Ebola research programme

The UK Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust have launched ...
Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK T:+44 (0)20 7611 8888