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US news roundup: 15-21 October


This week: $2 billion for diversity in science, coal research and more

In depth: Proposals put before the US Senate would boost funding across health and other research this year, but the Democrat’s plans face a rough ride after Republicans took issue with multiple areas of spending.

Full story: Democrats propose hikes for health and science

Also this week from Research Professional News

‘Traditional disciplines in good health at US universities’Analysis suggests “conventional wisdom” of decline in humanities and social science departments may be wrong

Here is the rest of the US news this week…

HHMI puts $2 billion behind diversity in science push

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has launched a new fund worth $2 billion to promote greater racial, ethnic and gender diversity in science over a 10-year period. The fund will be available across all levels of science—from college and undergraduate level to research leadership and administration roles—and will be shared through a range of support schemes, including peer mentorship, professional development and community-building programmes, the institute said.

White House and NIH conduct ‘listening sessions’ on new Arpa-H

The National Institutes of Health and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are opening up consultation on a proposal for a new health innovation agency, Arpa-H. The two bodies will conduct a series of “listening sessions” with different stakeholder groups to get feedback on the proposals, starting 20 October. Those from patient advocacy groups, industry and science are invited to take part.

NSF national AI institutes deadline extended

The deadline for proposals to the National Artificial Intelligence Institutes has been extended by five months to 13 May 2022. Preliminary proposals are required by 14 January 2022. The programme is a joint initiative between government funders and aims to expand research across several themes, including AI for climate-based agriculture and cybersecurity. A total of seven awards will be available worth between $16-20 million each across four to five year periods.

Republicans push for renewal of National Coal Council to advise on coal R&D

Leading Republicans have called on the US energy secretary to secure the National Coal Council’s advisory position and allow for “environmentally responsible uses” of new coal production. The council’s charter will expire in November, but the Biden administration may not choose to renew it in time. In an open letter to Jennifer Granholm, signatories argue that the council plays an important place in advancing coal policy and energy-related research. “As global coal consumption is projected to increase, it is essential that the United States remains a leader in advancing coal and carbon related technologies,” the letter states.