Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Private Funding for Basic Science Totaled $2.3 Billion in 2016

Philanthropy News Digest
February 21, 2017

U.S. research institutions received more than $2.3 billion in private funding for basic science research in 2016, a report from the Science Philanthropy Alliance finds.
Based on survey responses from forty-two universities and research institutions, the 2016 Survey of Private Funding for Basic Research (summary report, 5 pages, PDF) found that foundations, corporations, grantmaking public charities, and individuals awarded $1.9 billion, or 84 percent of the total, to research in the life sciences, $300 million (13 percent) in the physical sciences, and $80 million (3 percent) in mathematics. For the twenty-six institutions that completed the survey in both 2015 and 2016, private funding in those three areas increased 31 percent, from $1.19 billion to $1.56 billion, while funding for basic research in all areas — including  behavioral and social sciences and the arts and humanities — increased 28 percent, from $2 billion to $2.56 billion.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gates Foundation, AAAS Partner on Open Access Publishing

Philanthropy News Digest
February 18, 2017

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have announced a partnership aimed at advancing scientific communication and open access publishing.
Through the partnership, AAAS will allow Gates Foundation-funded researchers to publish their research under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY), enabling any article submitted to an AAAS journal after January 1 to be immediately available to the public to read, download, and reuse.
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Indian Government Takes Over Gates-Funded Immunization Program

Philanthropy News Digest
February 9, 2017

In a move prompted in part by fears of foreign influence on public policy, India's health ministry has decided to take over funding responsibility for an immunization program backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationReuters reports.
Funded  by the Gates Foundation since its creation in 2012, the Immunization Technical Support Unit at the Public Health Foundation of India provides technical and monitoring assistance to the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), which supports the government's extensive immunization program. Starting in March, however, ITSU will be funded by the government, which felt the need to manage the program on its own, senior health ministry official Soumya Swaminathan told Reuters. "There was a perception that an external agency is funding it, so there could be influence," said Swaminathan, who also noted that no instances of inappropriate influence have been found.
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

At Long Last, Agency Completes Overhaul of Rules on Use of Humans in Research

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
January 18, 2017

With two days left in the Obama administration, the federal agency charged with protecting human beings in research on Wednesday issued an overhaul of rules that had been caught up in more than five years of acrimonious debate.

The rule changes, which will begin to take effect next year regardless of the change in presidents, will generally allow for a single review of human protections in studies that occur at multiple universities, and will allow broader exemptions from such reviews for researchers whose study interactions are limited to interviews.
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Publish and Perish

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Ted McCormick
January 8, 2017

My grandfather was born in 1909. Too young for the First World War and too old for the Second, he served in the U.S. Navy between the two. He finished eighth grade before leaving to work, returning to school — through correspondence courses — only in the 1950s. I remember him, though, as an old man prone to quoting Scripture and Shakespeare and singing lines of Handel’s Messiah (interspersed with saltier fare). His brushes with institutional education notwithstanding, he always struck me as self-taught in a way that is now difficult to fathom.
What I remember about him best are his things: his trumpet, with a mute that fascinated me; his tools, including, exotically, a glass cutter and some beekeeping gear; the decorations of his and my grandmother’s small-town New England house — an old wooden relief of an eagle, a framed map of Connecticut. When he died, I inherited — or chose to take — two of these things. One was a worn-looking hammer I still use. The other was a small, lined, leatherette notebook, the first page of which bears the penciled heading, "Thought for the day."
Right under that line is the first and last entry in the notebook: "Nothing so far."
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Uncertainty Remains Over China's Law on Foreign Nonprofits

Philanthropy News Digest
January 3, 2017

Although a law that places new requirements on foreign nonprofits operating in China was scheduled to go into effect January 1, foreign NGOs in the country remain unclear about the details of the rules and their impact on their ability to continue their work in the new year, the New York Times reports.
Passed by China's national legislature last April, the law states that foreign NGOs must not endanger China's national security and ethnic unity. To that end, foreign nonprofits such as foundations, charities, and most business associations must register with the police, be sponsored by state agencies and organizations, and submit regular reports on their activities. Many aspects of the law remain opaque, however, and some organizations fear their work will be curtailed or even banned. Calls to a hotline recently set up by the Ministry of Public Security to answer questions about the law have gone unanswered.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'Blueprint 2017' Warns of Dangers to Civil Society

Philanthropy News Digest
December 15, 2016

The "big ideas that matter" for 2017 include the need for clearer boundaries between philanthropic and political activities and a larger role for civil society in shaping digital systems and technologies, leading philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz argues in Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017 (40 pages, PDF).
Published by GrantCraft, a service of Foundation Center, the eighth edition of Bernholz's annual forecast highlights two trends that civil society will need to address in the new year — the blurring of boundaries between politics and philanthropy, as the civil-society norms of privacy and anonymity are used to hide political activity; and the threat to free expression and association posed by the commercial ownership and government surveillance of the digital infrastructure on which civil society heavily depends.
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