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Research Clips

A weekly roundup of research news items curated from the professional development groups within the AAMC’s Scientific Affairs cluster, and other sources.

From the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS)

The costs of R&D for cancer drugs are far lower than what industry-backed research reports, said a piece on NPR that covered a study in JAMA. The study showed that the median cost of developing a single cancer drug is $648 million, while the median revenue after approval for such a drug is $1658.4 million.
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The New York Times commented on how both houses of Congress have repeatedly rejected the Trump administration's proposed budget cuts to NIH since they were first unveiled in May. "The spectacular increase provided by the Senate Appropriations Committee is amazing in the current fiscal environment. Neither the Senate nor the House paid much attention to the president's recommendations," said Tony J. Mazzaschi, of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and formerly with the AAMC and CFAS, who was quoted in the piece.
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Research faculty should be evaluated for promotion based on their ability to be frankly self-critical and demonstrate traits that will help them improve reproducibility in science, argued an opinion piece in Nature by Jeffrey Flier, MD, dean of the Harvard University Faculty of Medicine from 2007 to 2016. "Over time, efforts to increase the ratio of self-reflection to self-promotion may be the best way to improve science. It will be a slog, but if we don't take this on, formally and explicitly, nothing will change," said Dr. Flier.
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Despite the importance of research replication to the durability of the scientific enterprise, little money is set aside to research replication in the United States, reported Undark in an article, "Go Forth and Replicate: On Creating Incentives for Repeat Studies."
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"If we are serious about helping those who are struggling with dependency and preventing future drug abuse, we need to understand the underlying science of addiction," said an op-ed in The Hill on how to fight the opioid epidemic using science. Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat from Illinois, wrote the piece.
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Big, revolutionary ideas and inventions are becoming harder to come by, largely due to cost and complexity, reported Stanford News. The article reported on a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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The FDA is wrestling with the question of how to use real-world data to do clinical research, reported STAT. "What we have is an [electronic health record] system that is not primarily built for research, and yet we need to see if we can use it for research," said Rich Moscicki, MD, deputy center director for science operations at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA.
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A profile of Daniel Jay, PhD, and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University was posted on Tuft's website. Dr. Jay's appointment as dean of the Sackler School was previously reported in CFAS News.
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The WCG Foundation has highlighted an array of grants (and their related application deadlines and logistics) in support of research focused on ethics and education.
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Subscribe to CFAS News to receive weekly updates for academic medicine faculty.

From the Graduate Research, Education, and Training Group (GREAT)

Request for Information on NIGMS Diversity Programs
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) issued a request for information on the organization and administration of its Undergraduate and Predoctoral Diversity Programs, including Bridges to Baccalaureate and Bridges to Doctorate, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR), Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), and Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP). A recent Feedback Loop Blog post discusses the request. Responses are due October 31, 2017.

BEST Practices Workshop Slides and Resources Available
Slides and resources from the September 6 Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Practices Workshop are available. The goal of the workshop was to share with the biomedical research training community best practices and lessons learned from the NIH BEST Programs. Topics included workshops and courses, internships and experiential learning, program staffing, and data collection and importance of tracking.

Nature Comment: Stop Blocking Postdocs' Paths to Success
A commentary in Nature Journal by Ben A. Barres, MD, PhD, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, argues that investigators should let postdoctoral researchers take their projects with them when they start their own labs. In the piece, Dr. Barres outlines issues with the current system, where PIs often prohibit postdocs from retaining their project and/or directly competing with them on the topic.

Scienceon Graduate School Decisions
Several recent articles in Science discuss graduate school decision-making. The first article discusses making the decision to go to graduate school. A second article shows responses by current PhD students and postdocs on “what they wished they had known about grad school when they started." Another article in Science Careers discusses the book, ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists, which was published in May.

NIDDK FOA on Partnerships with Professionals Societies to Enhance Diversity
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) released a R25 funding opportunity announcement to encourage “Professional Societies to design and implement educational programs with the goal of recruiting of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce.“ Applications are due December 5, 2017.

NIH Loan Repayment Programs Now Accepting Applications
To help relieve some of the financial burden on scientists and researchers who pursue advanced education and training—and in support of the future of health discovery and medical research—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) repay up to $35,000 per year (for two years) of debt in exchange for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research. The application deadline is Nov. 15. In a blog post, Dr. Lauer reviews recent updates to the program.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued 27 new awards through its NSF Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) initiative. The program is aimed at enhancing U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics discoveries and innovations through a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Update on Response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
The AAMC continues to monitor the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the academic medicine community, and has been in contact with medical school deans and teaching hospital CEOs in affected areas to offer assistance and support. The NIH has also published a post reminding investigators of the NIH Natural Disaster Policy and notes any additional responses, including supplemental funding, will be coordinated with other federal agencies as well as with state, local, and institutional representatives. Other efforts have also cropped up to help displaced scientists, as reported by the Washington Post.

Subscribe to GREATmail to receive weekly updates for the faculty and administrative leaders of biomedical PhD, MD-PhD, and postdoctoral programs.

From the Research on Care Community Health Equity subgroup (ROCChe)

Subscribe to the AAMC Health Equity Research Updates for the latest news in health equity research and policy.