Kevin C. Cooke, Ph.D.

Director, Research Policy

Ny’lyjah Cain
Senior Associate, STEM Education & Research Policy

CoR News (January 6, 2016)


CoR NEWSJanuary 6, 2016

To: APLU Council on ResearchFrom: APLU CoR Staff

  • Common Rule NPRM: NYT Op-Ed; Comments due January 6 (today)

As previously noted, comments on the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (Common Rule) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due today (January 6th) by 11:59 PM ET. Comments can be electronically submitted here. APLU and AAU have submitted joint association comments (here).

Of note, last week, Rebecca Skloot, author of the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” published an Op-Ed in the New York Times on the proposed changes. The op-ed puts forward that people want the opportunity to consent to any use of their biospecimens, and calls on the public to participate in the NPRM comment process. A response in Forbes argues that, although coming from a good place of working to inform the public of what is at stake with the proposed changes, the NYT op-ed misleads the public as to the true nature of risks associated with the research use of deidentified biospecimens and the benefits that may be lost by requiring broad consent.

  • Gain-of-Function Research: NSABB meeting webcast January 7-8

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) will meet to discuss the ethics, risks, and benefits of Gain-of Function (GOF) research on January 7 and 8 (8:30 am – 5:30 pm ET on Thursday and 8:30 am – 2:15 pm ET on Friday). The meeting will take place at the National Institutes of Health, Building 31, C Wing, 6th Floor Conference Room 6, in Bethesda, Maryland and it will also be broadcast on the web.

The following items are on the Board’s agenda:

  • Preliminary findings of the NSABB Working Group on Evaluating the Risks and Benefits of Gain-of-Function (GOF) Studies
  • Results of the draft risk and benefit assessments of GOF studies involving pathogens with pandemic potential
  • Ethical and policy issues relevant to the conduct and oversight of GOF studies
  • Other business of the Board

The meeting is open to the public and all those interested are encouraged to attend. The agenda, registration information, and other meeting material will be available on the NSABB meeting web page. A live webcast of the meeting will be viewable here.

Time will be allotted on the agenda to hear oral public comments and for public participation in the days’ discussions. Participants viewing the meeting by webcast may submit questions and comments during the meeting via email sent to nsabb@od.nih.gov. Interested individuals may also file written comments with the NSABB at any time via nsabb@od.nih.gov.

  • NSF Grant Opportunity: EAGER program (deadline January 19)

The NSF Directorate for Engineering has just published NSF 16-028 “Dear Colleague Letter: Germination of Research Ideas for Large Opportunities and Critical Societal Needs (GERMINATION)”. This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) seeks EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) proposals with exploratory ideas to design learning frameworks, platforms and/or environments to enable participants to conceive research ideas and questions with potentially transformative outcomes, that address important societal needs. NSF welcomes novel approaches to educate and nurture early- and/or mid- career faculty, as well as graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, to develop research concepts and questions that are not only transformative but also have the potential to address important societal needs. Proposals should focus on the development of key skills and mindsets that will increase the capacity of participants to identify big opportunities, think creatively, explore novel research formulations, and take intellectual risk. The submission deadline is 5pm on January 19th, 2016 (submitters’ local time).

  • 2016 NIST-SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships) opportunities (deadline February 12)

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has posted its 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) funding opportunities for undergraduate students to engage with NIST researchers. NIST seeks to increase awareness of this program among a diverse and motivated base of undergraduate applicants. The application deadline is February 12, 2016.