As 2008 draws to a close, we bring you this year's last roundup of stories from Science's new policy blog, ScienceInsider. Here are some of the highlights from the past few days:
President-elect Barack Obama continues to boost his science credentials with the selection of well-respected researchers for White House science appointments. On Friday, we reported that the picks tend to be skewed toward the energy and climate realms. Scientists are hopeful that the selections portend a dramatic shift away from the way President Bush has handled climate science. Along similar lines, Obama seems to be boosting the importance of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which had a low profile under the current administration.
In other U.S. news, we continued our coverage of Senator Charles Grassley's (R-IA) probe of financial conflicts of interest at more than 20 universities. This week, Emory University banned one of its own researchers from collecting industry money at speaking engagements as a result of the inquiry. And scientific fallout from the Madoff scandal continues with the sinking of the Picower Foundation, a charity that funded Parkinson's disease and diabetes research.
Finally, the holiday season has not resulted in a slowing in important science policy developments around the globe. On Monday, a U.K. court convicted four animal-rights activists of threatening companies that supply an animal testing laboratory, a verdict that U.K. scientists see as a turning point in efforts to protect animal researchers against illegal attacks. Elsewhere in Europe, Italy moved a step closer to building its own particle smasher. And South Korea plans to pour billions into science and technology over the next 3 years, in an attempt to boost its status as a science and technology powerhouse.
ScienceInsider will continue to post through the holidays, so be sure to check back often for breaking news and analysis of the science policy decisions that affect you and your world.