CauseScience Friday – September 26 #science #selfie #Act4NIH


2014-09-26 09.31.04

Today CauseScience Friday is highlighting the ACT for NIH campaign for biomedical research funding. To get involved, go here, and you too can take a selfie and #Act4NIH.

We seek an immediate, significant funding increase for the National Institutes of Health to advance life-saving medical research for patients around the world.



Past CauseScience Friday posts


Solutions to the funding crisis? NPR is at it again

In a series of installments (here, here, and here), NPR has been doing some much-needed reporting on the American scientific research enterprise.  As an avid listener of public radio, I have caught these stories during my morning commute… and hopefully the same is true for the general NPR community as well.

Today they report on top scientists suggesting fixes for the medical funding crisis.  From Nobel Prize winner Dr. Harold Varmus in the article:

 The funding challenges “were never, in my experience, anywhere as dramatic as they are now.”

So how do we fix this problem?  Dr. Varmus continues:

One idea is to reduce the number of young scientists being trained for careers that don’t exist, and to instead hire staff scientists to carry out more of the day-to-day lab-work that the apprentices now perform.

Other suggestions include transitioning towards an HHMI like system, funding creative ideas instead of specific proposals (where most of the work has already been done anyway).  Along with other influential scientists, Dr. Varmus and colleagues have published their suggestions for fixing the unsustainable biomedical research system in PNAS.

As for the present, the outlook is still bleak:

Maybe, eventually, the threat of losing this competitive edge will spur the U.S. Congress to address the underlying problems in the way it authorizes funding for biomedical research. But that appears to be a distant prospect. In the meantime, another ancient injunction to doctors, ‘Physician, heal thyself,’ seems apt. The research establishment will try to find a way to ease the pain, on own.

Looks like we have to fix these problems without help.  As critical thinkers, troubleshooters, and experimenters, I have faith that scientists are fully equipped to tackle these issues on their own! Thanks again to NPR for exposing the problems facing U.S. biomedical research!

Science Quotable: Neil deGrasse Tyson #again

“When I see people cherry-picking science in the service of their belief system, I think to myself, they don’t really know what science is. So we have to work harder to teach that – not teaching them that they’re wrong, but teaching them what science is. When they learn what science is, they’ll understand why they’re wrong, and arrive at that conclusion on their own.

 From an interview on COSMOS in the Toronto Sun.



NSF and NIH collaboration will promote real innovation in biomedical research #NSF #NIH


Very cool new project from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health.

A new collaboration between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will give NIH-funded researchers training to help them evaluate their scientific discoveries for commercial potential with the aim of accelerating the translation of biomedical innovations into applied health technologies.

I-Corps™ at NIH is a pilot of the NSF Innovation Corps™ (I-Corps™) program specially tailored for biomedical research. Academic researchers and entrepreneurs with Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) “phase one” awards–awards that establish feasibility of proof of concept for commercializable technology–from participating NIH institutes will be eligible to apply to I-Corps™ at NIH. NIH will hold a June 25 program briefing at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego and a webinar on July 2 to begin its outreach to the small business research community.


Science Quotable: United for Medical Research


Reaction to Senate bill increasing funding for NIH and biomedical research from United for Medical Research:

“We applaud Senators Harkin & Moran and the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee for proposing a $605 million increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We appreciate the subcommittee’s effort to mitigate recent cuts.”

“Despite the difficult funding environment, we are pleased to see recognition of the critical role NIH plays as an economic engine and a driver of advances that improve patient’s lives. NIH, which fuels extraordinary advances in human health, has lost more than 20 percent of its purchasing power in recent years to inflation and indiscriminate cuts. The funding provided in this bill is an important step in the right direction. We urge Congress to approve the Senate appropriations subcommittee proposal – at a minimum – to put NIH back on a predictable and sustainable growth path.”

Senate Bill proposes $605 million increase in NIH funding!!!!! #abouttime

The $605 million increase for the National Institutes of Health would effectively cancel the sequester’s cut to the institution when combined with a $1 billion increase appropriated for this fiscal year. 


The move won praise from research advocacy groups who urged lawmakers to continue efforts to increase funding for meaningful research.  


Overall, the Labor-HHS appropriations bill will provide $157 billion in funding, nearly $1 billion more than the House has allocated for its measure. The difference is expected to make the legislation the hardest of the 12 annual spending bills to pass before the deadline of Oct. 1.

Read more: