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So who are the smartest TSP investors in government? Are they rocket scientists, economist, medical researchers or postal employees? Take Senior Correspondent Mike Causey's TGIF quiz to test your investment smarts.
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health yesterday that the immediate future could be difficult because of poor economic conditions and stimulus funds running dry.
A new initiative promises to monitor the impact of federal science investments on employment, the generation of knowledge, and health outcomes, to a degree not previously possible. The Science and Technology for America's Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science, or STAR METRICS, is a multi-agency venture that will be lead by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Together, NSF and NIH have committed $1 million for the program's first year. The first phase of the two-phase program will use university administrative records to calculate the employment impact of federal science spending through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and agencies' existing budgets.
The STAR METRICS will create a reliable and consistent inter-agency mechanism to account for the number of scientists and support staff that are on research institution payrolls supported by federal funds. Details from Julia Lane, program director with the National Science Foundation.
The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health have launched a new Web site that, when fully developed, will provide a mechanism for the reporting of pre- and post-market safety data to the federal government. Currently, the Web site can be used to report safety problems related to foods, including animal feed, as well as adverse events that might happen in relation to human gene transfer trials. Consumers can also use the site to report problems with pet foods and pet treats. The new site, called the Safety Reporting Portal, is meant to provide greater and easier access to online reporting. FDA officials say it's a first step toward a common electronic reporting system that will offer one-stop shopping, allowing people to file a single report that may be of interest to several agencies.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health - using an electro-encephalogram, a machine that records the brain's electrical activity - shows newborn infants are capable of a simple form of learning while they're asleep. The finding may one day lead to a test that can identify infants at risk for developmental disorders. The NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development sponsors research on development, before and after birth. The machine measured the babies brain's electrical activity while a video camera recorded each baby's facial expressions, as researchers played a tone, as a machine blew a puff of air at each sleeping infant's eyelids. The electroencephalogram detected changes in brain wave activity that occurred simultaneously with the tone, showing the infants had learned to associate the tone with the puff of air.
Congressional staff members call the current MAC environment "chaos." The administration will decide in a matter of weeks whether NIH should continue to run its CIO-SP3 governmentwide contract. OFPP administrator Gordon says several broad policy decisions must be made to address the challenges around multiple award contracts.
Scientific research does more than just save lives. The work also creates jobs. That, at least, is what the Obama Administration is banking on, as the President toured a lab at the National Institutes of Health, and heralded $5 billion dollars in government grants to fight cancer, autism, and heart disease.