Tag Archives: Policy

UK government gives Brexit science funding guarantee

Philip Hammond, the UK’s chancellor of the exchequer, has promised to underwrite EU research projects after Brexit. British scientists say they’re relieved by a government promise to guarantee them funding for existing EU research projects, even after the country leaves the European Union. But the reassurance only partly allays concerns about Brexit’s effect on UK […]

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* Warnings of imminent extinction crisis for largest wild animal species

A team of conservation biologists is calling for a worldwide strategy to prevent the unthinkable: the extinction of the world’s largest mammal species. In a public declaration published in today’s edition of the journal BioScience, a group of more than 40 conservation scientists and other experts are calling for a coordinated global plan to prevent […]

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Should the gray wolf keep its endangered species protection?

Research by UCLA biologists published today in the journal Science Advances presents strong evidence that the scientific reason advanced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act is incorrect. A key justification for protection of the gray wolf under the act was that its […]

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‘Ransomware’ cyberattack highlights vulnerability of universities

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Staff at Canadian university given little guidance on how to mitigate future problems. These kinds of attacks — holding data hostage — are becoming increasingly common. The first Patrick Feng knew about a cyberattack on his university was when one of his colleagues told him that her computer had been infected by hackers and rendered […]

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Federal advisory committee greenlights first CRISPR clinical trial

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CRISPR, the genome-editing technology that has taken biomedical science by storm, is finally nearing human trials. On 21 June, an advisory committee at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) approved a proposal to use CRISPR/Cas9 to help augment cancer therapies that rely on enlisting a patient’s T cells. “Cell therapies [for cancer] are so […]

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* Plan to fly rhinos to Australia comes under fire

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An ambitious project to relocate rhinos from South Africa to Australia has been accused by some conservation researchers of being a waste of money. The Australian Rhino Project charity, headquartered in Sydney, has attracted huge publicity for its plans to move 80 rhinos to Australia “to establish an insurance population and ensure the survival of […]

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Researchers reeling as UK votes to leave EU

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Future of science uncertain after referendum result. It was the result that most scientists didn’t want. The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union has plunged it into political and economic uncertainty — and left researchers worried over the future of their funding and collaborations, the UK’s participation in major European research programmes, and […]

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New vision, model for genomic and clinical data sharing

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In today’s Science, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) calls for a federated data ecosystem for sharing genomic and clinical data. The authorship, which includes Richard Durbin, Julia Wilson, Stephen Keenan, and David Lloyd of the Wellcome Trust, as well as a diverse team of international leaders in academia, research, medicine, and industry, […]

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Measuring impact of Kenya’s ivory burning ‘urgent’

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Gathering evidence on the impact of Kenya’s record-breaking ivory burn on elephant conservation should be an urgent priority according to four University of Queensland scientists. Dr Duan Biggs from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) said the ivory burns and stockpile destruction had increased by more than 600 per cent since 2011, […]

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Top 10 new species for 2016

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A hominid in the same genus as humans and an ape nicknamed “Laia” that might provide clues to the origin of humans are among the discoveries identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) as the Top 10 New Species for 2016. The list also includes a new kind of giant Galapagos […]

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Superbug infections tracked across Europe

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For the first time, scientists have shown that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ infections can be tracked across Europe by combining whole-genome sequencing with a web-based system. In mBio, researchers at Imperial College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute worked with a European network representing doctors in 450 hospitals in 25 […]

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Human-embryo editing now covered by stem-cell guidelines

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The international society that represents stem-cell scientists has updated its research guidelines in the wake of dramatic progress in several fields — in particular in research that involves the manipulation of human embryos. The authors hope that the updated guidelines will allay various ethical concerns, and avoid the need for strict government regulations that could […]

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What are the factors affecting whether women choose a medical research career

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Unless exposed to positive research experience and role models during their medical education and training, women are unlikely to consider careers in academic medicine seriously. That’s one conclusion of an Oxford University study published in The Lancet. It asked why, when entry to medical schools is evenly split between men and women, those working in […]

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Increase in the number of dog attacks on guide dogs in the UK

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Reported dog attacks on guide dogs have risen significantly over a five year period, finds a study published online in the journal Veterinary Record. A total of 629 attacks were reported between 2010 and 2015, with an increase from an average of three per month in 2010 to eleven attacks per month in 2015. The […]

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* How the US CRISPR patent probe will play out

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There is no shortage of optimism about the scientific potential of CRISPR–Cas9, a technique that can precisely alter the genomes of everything from wheat to elephants. But there is a great deal of confusion over who will benefit financially from its use. On 10 March, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will begin an […]

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Web tool aims to reduce flaws in animal studies

A free online tool that visualizes the design of animal experiments and gives critical feedback could save scientists from embarking on poorly designed research, the software’s developers hope. Over the past few years, researchers have picked out numerous flaws in the design and reporting of published animal experiments, which, they warn, could lead to bias. […]

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Biotech giant publishes failures to confirm high-profile science

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A biotechnology firm is releasing data on three failed efforts to confirm findings in high-profile scientific journals — details that the industry usually keeps secret. Amgen, headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California, says that it hopes the move will encourage others in industry and academia to describe their own replication attempts, and thus help the scientific […]

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* Surge in support for animal-research guidelines

Journals throw their weight behind checklist for rigorous animal experiments. More than 600 research journals have now signed up to voluntary guidelines that are designed to improve the reporting of animal experiments. Scientists have repeatedly pointed out that many published papers on animal studies suffer from poor study design and sloppy reporting — leaving the […]

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Public and private investments in Ph.D. research programs pay economic development dividends

Almost 40 percent of these Ph.D. graduates enter industry, where they are disproportionately hired at large and high-wage establishments in technology and professional service industries. They also earn higher-than-average salaries, all of which contribute to economic growth. The research, published today in Science, is the first to show how federally and non-federally funded research investments […]

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Cancer studies clash over mechanisms of malignicy

The proliferation of blood cells in leukaemia is just one example of unchecked tissue growth associated with cancer — but the extent to which external and internal factors drive this process is open to debate. Most cases of cancer result from avoidable factors such as toxic chemicals and radiation, contends a study published online in […]

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* Risks associated with the use of antimicrobials in animals worldwide

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has evaluated the quality of national animal health systems, including Veterinary Services, in more than 130 countries. More than 110 of the countries evaluated – mainly developing and emerging countries – do not yet have relevant legislation concerning appropriate conditions for the importation, manufacture, distribution and use of […]

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UK government proposes scrapping major universities funder

An organization that distributes a large slice of the national science budget to English universities each year will face the axe, if a UK government proposal gains political support. In a consultation document which may presage a wider shake-up to the way science is funded in the UK, the government suggests scrapping the Higher Education […]

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Ocean’s wildlife populations down by half

A new WWF report reveals an alarming decline in marine biodiversity over the last few decades. According to WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report, populations of marine vertebrates have declined by 49% between 1970 and 2012, with some fish species declining by almost 75%. In addition to fish, the report shows steep declines in coral reefs, […]

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Could more intensive farming practices benefit tropical birds?

The world is facing an extinction crisis as more and more forests are converted into farmland. But does it help when farms share the land with birds and other animals? The short answer is “no,” according to new evidence based on the diversity of bird species reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on […]

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* China announces stem-cell rules

Scientists hope new rules could spur stem cell research in China. Chinese stem-cell scientists have welcomed long-awaited measures that, state media claim, will rein in rogue use of stem cells in clinics while allowing research. The measures — announced on 21 August by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission through state media — offer […]

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Human activities are jeopardizing Earth’s natural systems, health of future generations

A new report released by The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health, calls for immediate, global action to protect the health of human civilization and the natural systems on which it depends. The report, Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch, provides the first ever comprehensive examination of evidence showing how the health and well-being […]

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Fears for bees as UK lifts insecticide ban

A UK government agency has used emergency rules to make controversial neonicotinoid insecticides available to some farmers, despite a European ban. These chemicals have been linked to declines in bee populations in numerous scientific studies, and the European Union (EU) imposed a temporary ban on much of their use in 2013. But the UK’s Department […]

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Universities highlight gender-equality policies after sexism row

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Nobel laureate Tim Hunt, who ignited a debate over sexism in science with his comments about women at a conference last month, will not be reinstated as an honorary professor at University College London (UCL), the university has confirmed. Meanwhile, other UK universities have told Nature that  that the affair has not prompted changes to […]

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More transparency needed in science research, experts say

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While transparency, openness and reproducibility are readily recognized as vital features of science and embraced by scientists as a norm and value in their work, a growing body of evidence suggests that those qualities are not necessarily evident today. Scientists have now announced guidelines to further strengthen transparency and reproducibility practices in science research reporting. […]

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US Congress moves to block human-embryo editing

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The US House of Representatives is wading into the debate over whether human embryos should be modified to have heritable changes. Its fiscal year 2016 spending bill for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would prohibit the agency from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications for such products. In an unusual twist, […]

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