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US news roundup: 17-23 September


This week: conflict of interest allegations, quantum funding and Howard Hughes gets a new leader

In depth: The life sciences continue to dominate R&D funding at universities in the United States, with research concentrated in a relatively small number of institutions and funded disproportionately by the US health department, according to the latest national statistics.

Full story: Latest US R&D funding data ‘underscore need to rebalance’

Also this week from Research Professional News

Senate confirms Biden’s choice of undersecretary for universities—Activist attorney and Obama administration veteran James Kvaal’s previous work on student equity praised


Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Academies questioned over ‘conflicts’ in transplant committee

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine over concerns about financial conflicts of interest around a study on organ transplants. The committee was following up on reports by Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service, which claimed the academy failed to disclose the financial conflicts of interest of committee members who contributed to a report. The National Academies, which Research Professional News has contacted for comment, has been asked to provide the committee with more information.

NSF moves ahead with support for quantum and AI projects

The National Science Foundation will invest $50 million into 10 research projects on quantum and artificial intelligence technologies. The money comes from the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator programme, which whittled down a cohort of 29 multidisciplinary teams taking basic research towards “long-lasting societal impact”. The projects funded must now take their technologies or tech-focused curricula towards real-world application. Topics covered include collaborative fire management and precision epidemiology.

New vice-president for Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Leslie Vosshall has been appointed vice-president and chief scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the US’s top biomedical research funders. Vosshall currently heads a neurobiology lab at the Rockefeller University. She said she was “so grateful” to join the institute at a “truly exciting time” and that it had a “unique opportunity” to develop the next generation of scientists. She will take up the post in March 2022.