When the U.S. government funds energy research at U.S. national laboratories or universities, who owns the resulting inventions? During a recent tour of the national laboratories, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he hoped federally funded scientists would "share all intellectual property as much as possible." But Representative James Sensenbrenner (R–WI) of the House Science and Technology Committee has demanded clarification on the Department of Energy's policies in the area. Experts say that solving the climate crisis will require nations to share their technologies more widely.
A researcher who pricked herself last month with a needle containing the Ebola-Zaire virus has returned to the Bernard Nocht Institute in Hamburg, Germany. The researcher was inoculated within 48 hours after the accident with a Canadian experimental vaccine. Based on a livestock pathogen called vesicular stomatitis virus, it had never been tested in humans before. The patient is now healthy, but scientists don’t know whether the vaccine actually prevented an infection. Scientists are looking for telltale antibodies in the researcher's blood for clues as to whether the vaccine made a difference.
Irish scientists were wondering whether their golden age of research has ended after the government announced spending cuts that will hit 3000 publicly funded Irish scientists to the tune of roughly €6000 each. This comes on the heels of budget cuts that cut pay by an additional €2000. More cuts to government-funded science in Ireland are expected in the next 2 years.
Elsewhere … An online story suggested that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could have done more in 2007 to publicize data on lead poisoning. Woes continued at Grants.gov as stimulus-hungry scientists swamp the site. A new approach to particle physics could make giant accelerators, now the staple of modern experimental physics, obsolete.
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