Science Policy Insider News
Science Policy Insider News (May 2009)
Staff from the American Psychological Association (APA), Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), and other scientific and advocacy organizations recently organized a combined poster session and reception on Capitol Hill, called National Institutes of Health: Improving the Nation’s Health through Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education on May 21, Acting NIH Director Raynard Kington thanked Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and the Congress for the unprecedented $10.4 billion investment Congress provided for NIH in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as well as the 3.2% increase for the agency in Fiscal Year 2009.
Heather Kelly, an APA member and Science Directorate staffer, presented APA’s oral testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies which drafts the annual appropriations legislation that funds the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). President Obama recently announced his budget proposing $580 million for the VA research account – an increase of $70 million.
Three high school students were honored with the Addiction Sciences Awards from NIDA for the second year; this year co-funding their research. NIDA may be setting a trend that other NIH Institutes and Centers will follow to stimulate high school students to think about health sciences research.
On May 20th, a congressional briefing, titled “Alcohol and Pregnancy: An Overview of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” was presented. It featured an historical overview of how research has changed basic understanding of alcohol and pregnancy; recent findings on the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure, focusing on the changes that occur in the brain and how these impact behavior; and about women and addiction.
President Obama's 2010 budget has increased research spending in most areas, but has decreased the DoD Science and Technology funding by almost 15%. The effect of how these cuts will impact behavioral research is unknown, but Science GRO and colleagues in the university and scientific association community will urge Congress to reverse cuts to the DoD program.
President Obama's proposed 2010 budget increased the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s by 8.5% and the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) by 6.9%, in comparison to the current year's budget.
The Human Genome Institute at NIH (NHGRI) is inviting comment on several white papers (details can be found on their website). APA will submit comments on behalf of its members, and will urge NHGRI to enhance interdisciplinary training opportunities and to fund more studies of gene-environment interaction, paying particular attention to the many nested environments that affect the activation of genes.