ScienceScope

Science  16 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5742, pp. 1799
  1. Audit Slams French Research

    1. Barbara Casassus

    PARIS— France's system of managing research requires “urgent, significant reform,” says a 170-page draft report by an independent audit authority. According to an article in Le Figaro, the document deplores poor accounting rules, inadequate evaluation, and insufficiently coordinated resources to compete internationally.

    A group of university presidents welcomed proposals in the report to rectify the problems, including a call for greater university independence. But Cochin Institute biologist Alain Trautmann, spokesperson for the long-running researcher protest movement (Science, 16 April 2004, p. 368), says more autonomy for universities without getting rid of rife cronyism “would be a catastrophe.”

  2. U.S. to Bar Caviar

    1. Christopher Pala

    Nearly 5 years after activists first petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop importing beluga sturgeon from the Caspian Sea, the agency has decided to do just that. The countries bordering the sea have failed to present a plan to stop the 200-million-year-old fish's decline, due to overfishing, in the past 2 decades (see p. 1806). The United States has been the biggest importer of beluga caviar, which can fetch more than $6600 a kilogram. “The U.S. will set an important example,” says Lisa Speer of the U.S. environmental coalition Caviar Emptor.

  3. EPA Revises Pesticide Human Testing Rules

    1. Erik Stokstad

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week released a draft rule for considering toxicity studies in which volunteers are intentionally dosed with pesticides.

    In July, lawmakers criticized an early version of the rules as ethically lax (Science, 8 July, p. 232), and a spending bill ordered the agency to modify the rules. The new rule, if adopted, would bar the use of any dosing studies of pregnant women or children and create a Human Studies Review Board to vet research proposals. CropLife America, a pesticide trade group, welcomed the rule, but Richard Wiles of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., worries that it won't bar studies in which children are exposed to pesticides, such as CHEERS, which EPA spiked in April due to congressional concerns. The rule is open for comment for 90 days, and EPA hopes to finalize it by Congress's January deadline.

  4. Hall In ...

    1. Constance Holden

    Neuroscientist Zach Hall will be the first permanent president of California's new stem cell effort, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The interim president for the past 6 months, Hall said in June that he wasn't interested in a long-term position. His change of heart comes at a key time, with lawsuits delaying a bond sale and officials scrambling to pay for CIRM's first grants, for research training. “Zach has been terrific at getting things up and running,” says stem cell researcher Evan Snyder of the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California.

  5. ... Dale Too ...

    1. Andrew Lawler

    A lawyer is expected to win easy Senate confirmation as the next deputy NASA administrator. Shana Dale, who would be the first woman in such a NASA leadership position, is currently deputy director for homeland and national security at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dale, who is to replace former astronaut Frederick Gregory, will have her hands full: Hurricane Katrina damaged the Mississippi plant that builds the space shuttle's external tank. That means a $1 billion cost increase, the latest in a series of budget and schedule overruns.

  6. ... And Klausner Out

    1. Jocelyn Kaiser

    Richard Klausner, former director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), announced this week that he is stepping down at the end of the year as director of the Global Health Program at the $29 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A foundation spokesperson says Klausner's decision to leave after 3 years was “mutual.” Klausner told Science that he's done “what I set out to do” and wants a job that requires less travel.

    Klausner and the Seattle, Washington-based foundation deny the move is connected to recent reports that Congress has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether NCI had adequate conflict-of-interest procedures in place when Klausner was director. Klausner had interviewed for two Harvard positions while NCI was developing a $40 million contract that the university ultimately won. Klausner says he followed proper procedures, noting that the study is a general look at NCI policies. He says he was told that official recusals he signed while under consideration at Harvard applied only to “making decisions.”