By: Tara Burke
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
Billionaires With Big Ideas Are Privatizing American Science – With budget cuts leaving the nation’s research institutions scrambling for funds, American science is increasingly becoming a private enterprise. Research labs are closing, projects are being shelved and many scientists are forced to close their labs due to a drastic drop in federal funding for basic science research. Billionaires such as Eric E. Schmidt (Google), James Simmons (hedge funds) and Michael Bloomberg, to name a few, are financing hunts for disease cures, space exploration, ocean science as well as other science avenues. However, this private cherry-picked science initiative has some in the science establishment worried that this financing could skew research toward fields deemed more trendy than central. (William J. Broad)
Evidence Mounts Against Reprogrammed Stem Cell Papers – The lead authors are considering retracting two papers that describe a simple method for creating stem cells known as STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency). An investigating committee confirmed finding problems in the papers and the authors are facing mounting allegations of problematic images and plagiarism. Scientists that have attempted to replicate the findings have not been successful. This controversy is not only damaging to the stem cell community but impacts public trust and support for all fields of science in Japan. (Dennis Normile)
The E.U. Is the Problem on GM Crops, Says U.K. Scientists – Genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe are facing hurdles as use is being hampered by a “dysfunctional approval process” set up by the European Union. The technology of GM has the unanimous backing of U.K. scientists but approval for release of a GM organism must get approval from Brussels. U.K. scientists claim that E.U. regulation has fettered progress of GM use and risk assessments of the technology have been “influenced by political considerations that do not have a scientific basis”. (Angela Saini)
Have an interesting science policy link? Share it in the comments!