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US news roundup: 7-13 January


This week: radiation research scrutinised, NIH fellowship concerns and Covid hits the AAAS meeting

In depth: Government advisers in the United States have called for federal science integrity policies to be strengthened with five additional principles, including on the fraught topics of researchers’ ability to speak to the media and get involved in policymaking.

Full story: White House science office pushes integrity upgrade

Here is the rest of the US news this week…

House demands information on radiation research

Bipartisan leaders of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy have expressed concern that the Department of Energy “has shown resistance in implementing” a mandated programme of research into the effects of exposure to low-dose radiation. Committee chairman Jamaal Bowman and ranking member Randy Weber asked the department’s acting head, Stephen Binkley, for information on what activities have been carried out on the programme since 2018, who has been involved and what additional resource is needed to complete the programme. The department has been approached for comment.

NIH seeks feedback on fellowships amid concern

The National Institutes of Health has asked those involved with its fellowship training schemes as applicants, sponsors or reviewers to provide feedback on how the schemes could be better run. It cited “multiple concerns” from a working group it convened, mostly centred on “discerning the potential of the applicant and the value of the training planned”. Concerns include that applicants from smaller institutions face a higher bar to success. The deadline for providing input is 24 January.

AAAS annual meeting moves online due to Covid

One of the world’s largest scientific conferences—the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science—will take place online in 2022, due to the Omicron wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The February meeting had been scheduled to take place in Philadelphia. President Susan Amara and chief executive Sudip Parikh explained: “The health and safety of our attendees and staff are our top priorities [and] we could not reasonably guarantee that health and safety in a way that did not compromise the continuity of operations for a successful in-person meeting”.