Federal Funding, the Song

You’ll receive the federal funding, you can add another wing
You’ll receive the federal funding, you can add another wing
Take your colleagues out to dinner, pay your brother to come and sing
Take your colleagues out to dinner, pay your brother to come and sing
Sing, sing, sing

You’ll receive the federal funding, you can have a hefty grant
You’ll receive the federal funding, you can have a hefty grant
Strategize this presentation, make them see that you’re the man
Strategize this presentation, make them see that you’re the man
Man, man, man

You’ll receive the federal funding, you can pass the simple test
You’ll receive the federal funding, you can pass the simple test
You can access information, make them see that you’re the best
You can access information, make them see that you’re the best
Best, best, best

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HHS institutes new Conflict of Interest policies

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced new policies about the responsibilities of institutions and individual PIs in reporting on and managing financial conflicts of interests.  Among the changes are new training requirements and lower financial thresholds for determining conflict of interest.  The NIH Office of Extramural Research has put together a table comparing the old and new policies.

Trinity will have to revise its own CoI policies and procedures this fall to comply with the new requirements.  Expect some announcements about this to be forthcoming later this fall.

Research misconduct news

Medical journal The Lancet has retracted a 1998 study linking autism in children to the MMR vaccine after The General Medical of the UK concluded that one of the authors, Andrew Wakefield, engaged in research misconduct as well as mistreatment of patients.  Wakefield currently runs an autism center in Austin, TX.

Meanwhile, a panel of University of Pennsylvania administrators has cleared researcher Michael Mann of some charges of scientific misconduct related to the alleged destruction of climate change research results.  They have convened a panel of faculty to look into the specifics of the charges that are beyond the scientific expertise of the first panel.  Results of that investigation are expected in 4 months.

Abilene to emulate Trinity

The Optimist, a publication of the Abilene Christian University, published an article recently about plans for a spring undergraduate research festival at ACU.  Honors College Dean Chris Willerton cited Trinity as a model for ACU in their efforts to strengthen undergraduate research.

While ACU may not have the research capabilities of larger, established research institutions like Texas A&M or Rice University, it may soon rival other liberal arts colleges, like Trinity University, which Willerton describes as a “liberal arts powerhouse” with “really impressive research.”  Eventually, Willerton said he hopes undergraduate research will become a natural part of the ACU experience.

AAPT issues statement on undergraduate research experiences

The American Association of Physics Teachers has issued a statement in support of undergraduate research experiences for students of physics.

Research in the real world involves the intense and often exhilarating experience of studying nature, learning some new things, and then bouncing that knowledge off fellow workers within your discipline to see if they agree. Richard Feynman likened this to cooperatively observing a chess game without knowing the rules – and gradually learning and celebrating a few of those beautiful rules and the evolving simplicity that should make up physics.

Whether in basic or applied sciences, every undergraduate physics major depends on such an experience to mature toward an investigative state-of-mind and self-confidence that will serve them well in their next professional endeavor. While often learning new experimental, theoretical, or analytical skills, they will also experience the very human frustrations, successes, serendipity, and late nights that can take science totally out of the classroom and into the fabric of their lives. Whether in a graduate school application or a job interview, they will have stories to tell about when they really helped figure something out.

Research experiences will necessarily take on different forms depending on the interests and goals of the student and on the resources and capabilities of their department and may begin early or late during the undergraduate years. Thus undergraduate research will not always involve sophisticated equipment or methodology, but it should be both meaningful and appropriate for the student and situation. On-campus faculty-mentored projects, participation in research at NSF-funded REU sites, research opportunities at national and corporate laboratories, and research opportunities provided through other federal agencies and private foundations should be strategically utilized to meet the needs of our students and departments.

 

via Physics Today

Research News: Industry funding of life-science research is down

In an article published in the November/December 2009 issue of Health Affairs, Darren Zinner reports on a survey of life science faculty members at the NIH-supported universities that indicates that industry support for university research may be down since the 1990s.

Overall, 20 percent of research faculty received industry funding in 2006, a significant decrease from the 28 percent of faculty in 1995. For those with industry support, the magnitude of per-investigator funding remained essentially unchanged, indicating a decrease in overall corporate spending in academic life-science research. As in the previous studies, industry relationships were more common among senior faculty members, with full professors being up to twice as likely as junior faculty to be involved with industry.

EurekaAlert 11/3/2009