POLICY Analysis identifies consensus recommendations for federal biomedical science support | July 27, 2015 Issue - Vol. 93 Issue 30 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 93 Issue 30 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: July 27, 2015

Policy: Analysis identifies consensus recommendations for federal biomedical science support

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Science policy, recommendations, PNAS, ASBMB

Every few months it seems like a panel of experts releases a report that makes recommendations on how to help the science community as it struggles with an era of declining federal budgets.

Now, an analysis of hundreds of recommendations on boosting science support made since 2012 identifies areas of agreement among these expert panels (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2015, DOI:10.1073/pnas.1509901112).

“A lot of people were saying the same things, but there wasn’t a lot of cross talk between groups,” says Christopher L. Pickett of the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. “We want to figure out how to chart a path forward.”

The authors examined nine reports on biomedical science policy by groups including the National Research Council that together offered 267 recommendations. Eight appeared in more than half of the reports.

A majority of the reports agree that the federal government should increase science funding and make it more predictable. In addition, the reports agree that government should remove regulatory hurdles such as conflicting paperwork requirements for grants and reviews by multiple institutional review boards. In addition, agencies should boost salaries for postdocs, train all students for a wider breadth of careers, and expand the use of non-tenure-track staff scientists.

The meta-analysis is useful, and it calls for action, according to Howard H. Garrison, deputy executive director at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, which released one of the reports included in the study.But even with consensus on the recommendations, turning these ideas into action is likely to be difficult, Garrison says.

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