Science  09 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5754, pp. 1597

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  1. Gifts With Broad Impacts

    1. Andrew Lawler

    Not many scientific institutes score $100 million gifts, much less twice. The Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, tasked to turn genetic data into medical advances, last week received its second windfall from Eli and Edythe Broad in less than 2 years.

    The Broads stipulated with their first grant that the collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University must spend $10 million a year; the second gift means that the institute will be required to spend $20 million. The institute, which will move into new digs opposite MIT in the spring, has an annual budget of about $100 million, most of which comes from government grants.

  2. Neuroscientists Without Borders

    1. Greg Miller

    The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has been chosen to host a new center to help neuroscientists manage and share their data, organizers announced last week in Paris. Founded by six European countries and the United States, the $1.2-million-per-year International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility will foster international collaboration in maintaining databases and analyzing the torrent of data generated by brain scanners and other modern tools. The center will also fund projects to create neuroscience databases and develop computational tools for data analysis and modeling brain function.

  3. Collider Coming Together

    1. Adrian Cho

    Particle physicists settled this week on the basic specs for the International Linear Collider, a multibillion-dollar particle smasher they hope governments in Europe, Asia, and North America will agree to build sometime in the next decade. Researchers in Frascati, Italy, finalized a document that sets general parameters, such as the strength of the particle-accelerating electric fields in the 40-kilometer-long tunnels. Over the next year, physicists will design the many parts of the machine, which would collide electrons and positrons. “Before [this document], it wasn't clear that we were all designing the same thing,” says Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who leads the design effort. Researchers will also calculate the cost; previous estimates have run as high as $12 billion.

  4. Nuclear Pact at Issue

    1. Richard Stone

    Three Western nuclear powers are hoping that five former Soviet states will listen to their concerns before inking an agreement that would establish a Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. The problem is language deferring to a 1992 collective security agreement that Russia interprets as allowing for the possible deployment of nuclear weapons in Central Asia during a crisis.

    The Central Asia zone would increase nuclear safeguards in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan and fight trafficking of nuclear materials from Russia. A tentative agreement to create the zone, the world's fifth, was reached in September after 8 years of talks. But in a démarche the next month, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France stated that they “cannot be expected to support the treaty … if the obligations of existing international treaties take precedence over the obligations of the proposed” nuclear-free pact.

    Their concerns have so far blocked final adoption of the treaty. In earlier negotiations, the three powers had an ally in Uzbekistan, which had pushed for a nuclear-free pact to take precedence over the 1992 Tashkent treaty. But a recent downturn in U.S.-Uzbek relations may change Uzbekistan's stance.

  5. NIH Opens Coordinating Office

    1. Jocelyn Kaiser

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) next month will open a powerful new office meant to coordinate—but not dilute—the agency's sprawling $28 billion research enterprise.

    The Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI) is a response to complaints that NIH's 27 institutes and centers have become too unwieldy, as well as a way to plot NIH's future. NIH Director Elias Zerhouni eventually wants to put as much as 5% of each institute's budget into a fund for crosscutting initiatives. But NIH Deputy Director Raynard Kington assured NIH's advisory council last week that the 1.7% share going to the prototype for this effort, the NIH Roadmap, in 2008 won't grow unless NIH receives budget increases that at least match rising costs. Funds will be disbursed by institutions, not OPASI, reassuring biomedical research advocates. “There's a lot of support” for the office's analytical role as well, says David Moore of the Association of American Medical Colleges.