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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)

NIH released new requirements for research grants involving fetal tissue, reported Inside Higher Ed. Under the new requirements, researchers applying for grants for projects that use fetal tissue must provide a detailed explanation describing why no alternative methods can be used. As required by a June statement from the Department of Health and Human Services, such applications must now be reviewed by an ethics committee after the peer review process.
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In its coverage of the new requirements, Science interviewed Heather Pierce, AAMC senior director of science policy and regulatory counsel, who observed that at a time when competition for NIH grants is already so intense, scientists may be discouraged from advancing work in this area. She was also quoted in CNN coverage of the story, noting that the new barriers have a chilling effect and, "may leave some scientists wondering if it is really worth the effort to apply for these grants."
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The New England Journal of Medicine ran a perspective piece, "Saving the Endangered Physician-Scientist — A Plan for Accelerating Medical Breakthroughs," that explored the decrease in the proportion of physicians who are engaged in biomedical research.
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Science reported on efforts by various universities to influence how Congress addresses security concerns related to U.S. research. The fear, the piece notes, is that efforts to address security threats could also inhibit research. The piece covered two bills, the Securing American Science and Technology Act in the House of Representatives, and the Secure American Research Act in the U.S. Senate, which would create a White House-led working group to coordinate federal activities.
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The Los Angeles Times covered why women are less likely than men to speak up at professional scientific conferences and how that can affect a career. The piece, "In Science, Questions Matter a Lot. Men Are More Likely Than Women to Ask Them," covered a June article in the American Journal of Human Genetics that explored reasons behind the reticence of women to ask questions.
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STAT reported on ongoing NIH efforts to create a "Google" for scientific data — the Biomedical Data Translator program — that would enable researchers to explore data looking for previously undiscovered connections and avenues leading to new discoveries.
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Researchers working to identify a potential infectious disease link to Alzheimer's disease may apply for a one-time $100,000 grant offered by the Infectious Diseases Society of America Foundation. Up to five grants will awarded. The application period will close Nov. 30.
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From the Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT)

NIH Posts Notice Change in Procedure for Requesting an Extension to ESI Status
The NIH posted a notice to communicate a change in the procedure for requesting an extension of early stage investigator (ESI) eligibility. “Beginning on August 22, 2019, investigators will be able to request an extension to their ESI eligibility period through eRA Commons via an ESI Extension request button in the Education section of their Personal Profile.”

NIGMS Feedback Loop: New Bridges Training Programs Announced
In a Feedback Loop blog post, the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences announced two new, anticipated Bridges funding opportunities with the goal to “enhance diversity in the biomedical research workforce and to encourage applications.” The Bridges to the Baccalaureate (T34) supports undergraduates to bridge from a 2-year institution to a partnering 4-year institution and complete bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields. The Bridges to the Doctorate (T32) supports the transition of master’s degree trainees to PhD programs in partnering research-intensive institutions. Applications for both programs are due September 25.

CGS: Understanding PhD Career Pathways for Program Improvement
The Council of Graduate Students (CGS) released data about career transitions for PhD holders in its fourth PhD Career Pathways report. Key findings of the data brief show that “PhD career pathways are less linear than is often supposed, with movements between employment sectors…for recent graduates as well as those 8- and 15-years post-graduation.”

Update on Recent Guide Notice on Reporting Foreign Activities to the NIH
On July 10, the NIH issued a guide notice and FAQs on reporting foreign activities in grant applications. The NIH asserted that it has not substantially changed its expectations of what should be reported. The NIH also reported that several FAQs have or will be changed to clarify the NIH’s requirements in the coming weeks, based on comments from the community. Read more at AAMC Washington Highlights.

A Few NIH Notices on Training Programs
The NIH posted three clarifications for training programs. For the Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Program, Higher Education Institutions have been removed from the list of eligible organizations. And for both the Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) and Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE), a full-time appointment at the applicant institution of the Program Director/Principal Investigator is expected, but no longer required.

NIH Posts FAQ on Reporting Scientific Misconduct
In response to an AAMC, COGR, and ARIO letter of concern, the NIH posted a new FAQ to help institutions understand how to report scientific misconduct. This comes as a companion to the announcement on Responsibilities of Recipient Institutions in Communicating Research Misconduct to the NIH published in October 2018.

Open Mike: Achieving Gender Equity at Conferences
Mike Lauer, MD, wrote a new Open Mike blog post addressing gender equity and the need to increase diversity at scientific conferences. Dr. Lauer explained that diversity is a long-standing expectation of meetings funded by the R13 conference grant and provided resources to help meet that expectation. A Nature article discusses how to organize a conference that's open to everyone.

NIAID Revises Policy for Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award
The NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) posted a revised policy that defines the use of the Mentored Research Scientist Career Development (K01) Award. The post explains that beginning with applications due October 12 or later, NIAID will only support K01 awards in the areas of epidemiology and data science.

NIH Releases New Video on the "NIH Story"
The NIH released a video that “captures the spirit, mission, community, and the lifesaving work” of the NIH and the “2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world.”

House of Representatives Passes Sexual Harassment Legislation
The House of Representatives July 23 passed the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019 (HR 36), introduced on January 3. The House Science Committee marked up HR 36 on June 20, incorporating minor changes to the bill. With House passage of the bill, the measure must be approved by the Senate (S 1067) before receiving the President's signature to become law. Read more at AAMC Washington Highlights.

The Versatile PhD to Host Webinar on New Features
The Versatile PhD (VPhD), a website that is free to trainees at institutions that have a subscription, helps “graduate students, ABDs and PhDs identify, prepare for and excel in professional careers” by “providing unique and instructive content, networks, job analytics and readiness tools.” It is hosting a webinar on “VPhD Basics: NEW Features and How to Use Them Effectively” on August 14 and September 12.

STAT: Meet the 2018 STATWunderkids
STAT posted its list of 2018 “Wunderkids,” chosen from a nomination process looking for “the most impressive doctors and researchers on the cusp of launching their careers but not yet fully independent.” With no set age limit, most of the winners are “postdocs, fellows, and biopharma employees working with more senior scientists.”

NPA: Apply for the 2019 Elsevier NPAW Awards
The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) and Elsevier are seeking applications for the 2019 Elsevier National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) Awards. NPAW Award winners will win up to $500 in for events in four categories: best new event, most creative event, best collaborative event, and best PDA-led event. Applications are due September 25.

Boston Globe Editorial: A Scientific Red Scare
A post doc at the Whitehead Institute published a commentary in the Boston Globe over concerns that federal efforts to stem foreign government intrusions on research integrity could inadvertently undermine legitimate international collaboration, which is also vital to US scientific and economic competitiveness. Also, the LA Times reported on disruption to University of California System laboratories due to possible foreign government influence.

Acad Med: Treating the "Not-Invented-Here Syndrome" in Medical Leadership
An article in Academic Medicine discusses “a troubling trend toward siloed, medicine-specific approaches to leadership development [in academic medicine], and a broad failure to learn from the evidence and insight of other relevant disciplines, such as the organizational sciences” — dubbed the “Not-Invented-Here Syndrome” (NIHS). The authors call for leaders to “embrace ideas that are ‘proudly developed elsewhere.’”

Quick Links

CHE: My 5-Month Interlude as a Disabled Professor

IHE: When Saying No Is Not the Answer (Faculty Member Explains Why She Helps Students of Color Despite Warnings It Won't Help)

BioScience: Smaller Classes Promote Equitable Student Participation in STEM

IHE: Navigating Your First US Job Offer (A Road Map for International Graduate Students)

Nature Career Column: What Not to Do in Graduate School

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From Washington Highlights

Senators Introduce Bill to Establish Adoption Policy for Research Animals
A bipartisan group of Senators July 30 introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experimentation and Research (AFTER) Act. This bill aims to encourage the adoption of laboratory animals that are no longer needed for research. Read More.

Subscribe to Washington Highlights for updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.