August 28, 2017
Four floors above a dull cinder-block lobby in a nondescript building at Ohio State University, the doors of a slow-moving elevator open on an unexpectedly futuristic 10,000-square-foot laboratory bristling with technology. It’s a reveal reminiscent of a James Bond movie. In fact, the researchers who run this year-old, $750,000 lab at OSU’s Spine Research Institute resort often to Hollywood comparisons.
July 26, 2017
Renewing the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has long been a concern for the nation’s communities, schools and policymakers; the state of manufacturing in the country became an even more pronounced issue during last year’s presidential election campaign. A coalition of educational and manufacturing experts released a report Monday making suggestions to ensure that advanced manufacturing students are prepared for seismic industry shifts. An Expert Education Team assembled by the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, released the first of the six schedule reports on Monday, calling for higher ed institutions to find ways to adjust their curricula. The report said it is incumbent that students become better equipped to take on manufacturing jobs that are concerned with lightweighting technology and processes.
July 14, 2017
A House subcommittee is considering a bill that would increase the 2018 budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 3.2 percent, to $35.2 billion, over this year’s budget, Nature reports. The proposal counters an earlier request by the President Donald Trump’s administration to cut the NIH budget by 18 percent. The House bill also explicitly rejects the administration’s proposal to slash indirect costs paid to grantees’ institutions to a flat 10 percent of the grant amount. Universities and other research institutions had argued that even the current indirect cost rates, which are negotiated individually with institutions, often don’t cover the full costs of services needed to support NIH-funded research.
July 13, 2017
House Republicans issued a fiscal 2018 budget plan on Wednesday that rejects the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate or sharply cut so-called indirect-cost payments to universities for medical research. The plan, offered by Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the National Institutes of Health, makes clear that indirect-cost payments on NIH grants should continue "to the same extent and in the same manner" as has existed.
July 13, 2017
The Trump administration's first budget proposal was greeted coolly by Republican lawmakers (amid deep consternation from advocates for higher education) when it was released in May. Many members of Congress avoided direct criticism but suggested they would not go along with major cuts in popular programs, including a plan to slash the rates at which the government reimburses universities for their own spending on research overhead. Wednesday President Trump's party offered a more direct rebuke, as the appropriations panel in the House of Representatives released a 2018 spending bill that rejects most of the administration's proposed changes.
July 13, 2017
The National Institutes of Health’s budget would get a modest 3.2% raise, to $35.2 billion, in a draft spending bill released by a House of Representatives committee today. To the relief of U.S. research universities, the measure would also explicitly block a proposal by the Trump Administration to slash by two-thirds the payments that NIH disburses to cover the overhead costs of the research it funds. Furthermore, the bill ignores a Trump plan to abolish NIH’s widely lauded global health center.
July 6, 2017
Put expensive high-tech scientific equipment in a former citrus packing house more than 60 years old, throw in an overworked air conditioner, a corroding foundation, and the sticky Central Florida climate, and you’ve got problems.The University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center is doing cutting-edge work to find cures for new biological threats to the U.S. citrus crop, but its researchers and staff housed in some of the facility’s older buildings are also waging a more immediate fight against bugs, rodents and other fauna that thrive in the muggy summer heat.
June 9, 2017
Facing protests from senior scientists, including members of its own advisory board, the National Institutes of Health on Thursday abandoned a plan to help younger researchers by imposing a general three-grant limit. Instead, the NIH is moving forward with a more complicated formula in which scientists who win a first grant under a program designed to aid first-time applicants will get priority for their second grant.
June 2, 2017
Advocates for university-based research are working hard to make sure Congress doesn't buy into what they say is a specious argument made by the Trump administration: that the federal government can cut reimbursement payments to research institutions without undermining the quality of the studies themselves. In March, after the release of the White House's skinny budget for the 2018 fiscal year, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told congressional appropriators that large proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health could be covered by reducing indirect-cost payments to universities.
May 2, 2017
The deal reached by Congress this weekend on an omnibus budget for the current 2017 fiscal year included key victories for universities and higher ed advocates. The spending agreement, which funds the government through September, restores year-round Pell Grant funding, a longtime priority sought by student aid groups since its elimination as a cost-saving measure in 2011. The deal also funds the National Institutes of Health at $2 billion more than 2016 levels. And it provides modest increases to college readiness programs TRIO and GEAR UP, which were reduced significantly in the proposed White House 2018 budget plan.