Science  07 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5476, pp. 25

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  1. Research Rescue

    After years of neglect, the Canadian government is giving the National Research Council (NRC) $75 million worth of attention as part of a $475 million helping hand to the country's beleaguered Atlantic provinces.

    The NRC funding will go toward a new NRC Institute of e-Business/Connectivity in New Brunswick; an expansion of offshore oil and aquaculture engineering research at the existing NRC Institute of Marine Dynamics in Newfoundland; and magnetic resonance imaging research at a new brain repair center at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    “It's a good start … and it will, I hope, remove some of the doom and gloom we had earlier in the year,” says NRC president Arthur Carty. “If we can make this work, the government should jump at the opportunity to help us do it elsewhere.”

    The Atlantic development strategy also includes $205 million for universities and research institutes to meet matching requirements under the federal research infrastructure and research chairs programs.

  2. Rays of Hope

    French physicists may soon have their most fervent wish granted. Science has learned that Research Minister Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg is expected to announce shortly that France will build a new, third-generation synchrotron radiation facility either in the Paris suburbs or in Lille to the north. The facility would replace one that the previous government cancelled more than a year ago when it decided to throw in with the British on a new synchrotron near Oxford (Science, 17 March, p. 1899).

    Ironically, British officials are expected to be on the dais with Schwartzenberg, who took office in March, to announce their intention to share the cost of the $200 million, 2.5-GeV machine. Spain and Belgium are also interested in becoming partners.

    Although Schwartzenberg has been lobbied by regional officials from all over France, a scientist close to the French-British negotiations puts his money on Lille. “It would be a lot easier for [the British] to get to,” he says.

  3. In the Slammer

    Jacques Crozemarie, the former head of the French Association for Cancer Research, was jailed in Toulon on 1 July after losing an appeal of his 4-year sentence for dipping into the charity's coffers (Science, 22 October 1999, p. 655). The court said Crozemarie, 74, was a flight risk.

  4. Preventive Medicine

    Top U.S. research universities can do a far better job of protecting human subjects, says a new report by the Association of American Universities (AAU). The report (∼aau) urges the AAU's 61 member schools to beef up their Institutional Review Boards, which oversee clinical studies, by seeking outside accreditation and enrolling more nonscientists. AAU President Nils Hasselmo says that such changes could make redundant proposed legislation that would broaden federal oversight of clinical research (Science, 16 June, p. 1949). The report also proposes that the government help foot the bill.

  5. Space Squabble

    Relations between the Administration and Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who chairs the House Science Committee, are strained on a good day. But his NASA authorization bill has added a new layer of stress.

    The bill, H.R. 1654, would kill Triana, a pet project of Vice President Al Gore to beam satellite images of Earth. It also orders NASA to get a refund from the Russians for any space station delays and blocks the agency's ability to keep revenue from commercial deals. After the Administration threatened a veto, Sensenbrenner offered a “grand compromise” that would save Triana. But last week, at an inconclusive conference between House and Senate members, Democrats complained that some of Sensenbrenner's demands were not in the original bill approved by the House and that their suggestions were ignored.

    Capitol Hill observers say that the way Sensenbrenner handles the squabble could affect his bid to chair the Judiciary Committee in the next session. “If he wants to show that he can be conciliatory, this is not the way to do it,” harrumphs one Democratic aide.

  6. Short Leash

    Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has given new security czar James Gordon until 5 September to work out a new arrangement with the University of California (UC) for its management of the nation's nuclear weapons labs. The UC contract runs until 2002, but Richardson says its performance “is unacceptable and must be addressed immediately.” UC officials say they “welcome the opportunity to work with [the Department of Energy].”