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US news roundup: 29 October to 4 November


This week: falling student enrolments, pre-PhD publication rates and long-term Covid impacts on women

In depth: United States president Joe Biden is hoping that after internal battles among Democrats, a whittled-down spending package containing billions for research, universities and students will be approved by his own party.

Full story: Billions for education and R&D in slimmed-down US spending plan

Also this week from Research Professional News

World’s ‘most popular’ university libraries ranked—Oxford and Manchester university libraries are most popular, according to analysis of posts on Instagram

Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Undergraduate numbers drop for second year running

The number of undergraduate students attending higher education institutions in the United States has fallen again in 2021, with a similar decline to that seen in 2020. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported that, as of 23 September, undergraduate numbers were down by 3.2 per cent in 2021 compared with 2020, and 6.5 per cent compared with 2019. But the number of graduate students has grown, rising by 2.1 per cent since 2020 and 5.3 per cent since 2019.

White, male researchers publish more before PhD

Women and people in minority groups in the United States are much less likely to publish academic papers before receiving doctorates, compared with their white, male counterparts, according to data collected by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. A report published by the National Science Board on 28 October said this mattered because 56 per cent of researchers with a pre-PhD publication reported that their first job was research-based, in comparison with 37 per cent of those without a publication.

Female researchers starting fewer projects after Covid

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a fall in the rate of new research projects, particularly among female scientists, according to surveys of researchers in the United States and Europe. In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers reported that the decline in starting projects disproportionately affected women and researchers with young children. The authors said that funders should be aware of such long-term effects of the pandemic, even if initial disruptions appeared to have passed.