ScienceInsider this week reported on a U.S. government official's prediction that H1N1 flu will continue unabated during the summer and into the fall, a decision by the G8 nations to skip science at their summit meeting in Italy this month, and an interruption of clinical trials caused by procedural errors at two U.S. cancer centers.
ScienceInsider also highlighted a warning that the continuity of U.S. weather data is "at extreme risk" because a program to develop new Earth-observing equipment is poorly managed. The effort to replace older satellites is well under way, but the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, as it is called, has doubled in cost to $14 billion.
Two large companies have offered to provide free vaccine against the H1N1 flu to people in developing countries who can't afford to pay. An offer of 100 million free doses came from Sanofi-Aventis shortly after a similar pledge was announced by GlaxoSmithKline.
A widely debated plan to change the way the U.K. government doles out research funds to universities has been shot down. The proposal to switch from live peer review to evaluation based on citation analysis and other bibliometric data--both complex and controversial--has been sidelined indefinitely.
The U.S. Congress is fighting over changes to a $2 billion research program to tap the creativity of small businesses, with the goal of reaching agreement before the program expires next month. Also this week, four legislators asked the U.S. National Academies to tell them what the government needs to do to keep U.S. academic research strong. A similar 2005 letter spawned the influential Rising Above the Gathering Storm report.
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