Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Doubts About Study of Gay Canvassers Rattles the Field

New York Times
May 25, 2015

He was a graduate student who seemingly had it all: drive, a big idea and the financial backing to pay for a sprawling study to test it.

In 2012, as same-sex marriage advocates were working to build support in California, Michael LaCour, a political science researcher at theUniversity of California, Los Angeles, asked a critical question: Can canvassers with a personal stake in an issue — in this case, gay men and women — actually sway voters’ opinions in a lasting way?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Latest Figures Show Decline in Federal Funding for R&D, Equipment, Facilities in FY 2013

National Science Foundation
May 14, 2015

Federal agency funding for research and development and R&D plant (facilities and fixed equipment used for R&D) fell by 9 percent in fiscal year 2013, according to a new InfoBrief from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

NCSES found that total federal agency obligations dropped from $141 billion to $127 billion between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013. Funding dropped by 4 percent for research, 14 percent for development and 11 percent for R&D plant, according to the NCSES report.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2 Key Problems for Fracking Research: Not Enough Disclosure, Not Enough Financing

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 13, 2015

Several Pennsylvania State University researchers contributed to a recent research project that linked hydraulic fracturing to drinking-water contamination. A Syracuse University scientist in a different study of the oil-recovery technique came to the opposite conclusion.
A common thread between the two studies came to light this week, however: Both were brought into question by failures to fully disclose the outside financial interests that could have had an interest in swaying their conclusions.

Monday, May 4, 2015

NSF Freezes Grants to UConn After Professors Bought Equipment From Their Own Company

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 1, 2015

The National Science Foundation has frozen millions of dollars in grants to the University of Connecticut after auditors found that two professors there used grant money to buy equipment from their own company, The Hartford Courant reports.
The state Auditors of Public Accounts found that the professors, who control a marine sensor and communication technology company, bought $253,000 worth of acoustic modems using NSF funds. The professors told the auditors they did not read a clause on a form they signed indicating there was no financial conflict of interest.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Peer Review Works, Says New Research on Citations and Patents

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 23, 2015

The peer-review system is often described as the "gold standard" for determining scientific merit. A study published on Thursday gives that belief some empirical affirmation. 

The study shows that success rates of scientific projects, as measured by citations and patents, strongly correlate with the scores those projects were given under the peer-review process at the National Institutes of Health.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 2, 2015

Nearly 800 former research subjects and their families filed a billion-dollar lawsuit on Wednesday against the Johns Hopkins University, blaming the institution for its role in U.S.-government experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s that infected hundreds of people with sexually transmitted diseases, The Sun reported.
In an earlier lawsuit, the victims sought to hold top U.S. officials responsible, but a federal judge dismissed that case in 2012. The new lawsuit seeks to hold the university responsible because its doctors held key roles on panels that reviewed and approved federal spending on the experiments. The suit, filed in a state court in Baltimore, also names the Rockefeller Foundation and the drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb as defendants.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Harvard Moves To Open Three New Offices Abroad

The Harvard Crimson
April 1, 2015

Harvard has authorized the formation of three new international offices in Cape Town, Beijing, and Mumbai, with each office in a different stage of development, according to Vice Provost for International Affairs Jorge I. Domínguez.

The Center for African Studies is expected to open an office in Cape Town, South Africa, by the end of 2015 or early 2016, according to Domínguez. An expected office in Beijing would  be connected to the existing Harvard Center Shanghai, and, if approved by the government of India, the Harvard School of Public Health will open an office in Mumbai. These offices would be used for research and academic work for Harvard affiliates in those regions.