February 25, 2015
University officials from around the country fear that a key engine of U.S. innovation and economic power is in danger of stalling: federal investment in basic research. The nation needs to spend more, they say, in pursuit of discoveries with unknown and long-term payoffs. Sometimes, they say, lawmakers focus too much on research with short-term goals. The time it takes for basic research to yield a payoff can be 10, 15, or 20 years. That translates to five or 10 congressional elections.
February 24, 2015
As lawmakers make another effort to pass legislation targeting abusive patent litigation, universities are continuing to let them know they have problems with proposals they think go too far. On Tuesday, more than 140 universities signed a letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders saying they’re “deeply concerned” that “much of the patent legislation currently being discussed in Congress, including the Innovation Act, H.R. 9, goes well beyond what is needed to address the bad actions of a small number of patent holders, and would instead make it more difficult and expensive for patent holders to defend their rights in good faith.”
February 11, 2015
Disunity and dysfunction in Washington should not dissuade physicists from making the case for robust federal funding of science By Neal Lane February 2015 -- Recently, I was invited to share some thoughts about US science policy and research funding at a conference inaugurating Rice University’s Quantum Materials Center. One of the attendees suggested that other researchers might be interested in what I had to say. With that in mind, I offer the following thoughts. They are my own views and do not necessarily represent opinions of any organization or other individuals.
February 3, 2015
Science and research advocates welcomed President Obama's 2016 budget proposal Monday, which would give the National Science Foundation a "vigorous, healthy budget," according to its director. Overall, the president’s budget would increase federal spending on research and development by 5.5 percent across a series of agencies. In announcing the proposed budget, staff of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy highlighted how money for research would support biomedical science, advanced manufacturing and data collection for climate change.
January 17, 2015
Researchers at Colorado State University are investigating the weighty topic of antibiotic resistance – an issue with ramifications for global food safety and public health – by tracking the genetic footprints of drug-resistant bacteria. They want to determine where infectious organisms originate and how they move through the food system and environment to people. The study, funded with $2.25 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is one of the largest of its kind and is enabled by recent advances in DNA sequencing technology.
December 18, 2014
Drones have proven to be a useful research tool for colleges and universities. But Federal Aviation Administration regulations have made it difficult for schools to use them. An interesting, and perhaps unexpected, player has emerged in the debate over how small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS)—more commonly known as drones—ought to be regulated: higher education.
November 19, 2014
Ask any doctor or veterinarian to rate the important medical discoveries of the past century, and antibiotics would surely be at or near the top of the list. In this century, too, antibiotics are expected to remain an essential tool for treating animal and human diseases. But the “miracle of antibiotics” is being threatened. There are clouds hovering over their use in both human health and animal agriculture — with antibiotic resistance casting perhaps the largest shadow.
November 17, 2014
A “Task Force on Antibiotics Resistance in Production Agriculture” has been created by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. The task force will help advise the federal government on a research agenda and publicly disseminate information on the use of antibiotics in production agriculture.
November 12, 2014
The number of research dollars awarded to Tennessee’s public universities has fallen dramatically in recent years, thanks in large measure to a drop in federal funding. University of Tennessee affiliated schools report a decline of about 9 percent in the last three years. The state’s other higher education system, the Tennessee Board of Regents, reports that its six universities saw research funding drop by more than 23 percent during the same period.
November 7, 2014
A new task force created by two education associations will try to address antibiotic resistance in production agriculture. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) have come together to advise the federal government on an antibiotic resistance research agenda and to help disseminate information to the public about antibiotic use on farms.