Science  01 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5791, pp. 1217

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  1. No Messing With the Margins

    1. Jocelyn Kaiser

    Seeking brevity, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aims to shorten grant applications. Reviewers of NIH's standard R01 application must currently wade through 25 pages with unlimited appendices—longer than at any other major funding agency. At a meeting of the NIH Center for Scientific Review's advisory council this week, NIH staff said they were considering a limit of 15 pages with no appendices. Biologist Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco, suggested seven pages with emphasis on innovation instead of preliminary results. NIH will request input on the issue this fall.

  2. Sanguine in Japan

    1. Dennis Normile

    Last year, Japan's Ministry of Education asked for a 9.5% increase in science and technology spending; it ended up with a 0.1% cut, leaving the budget at $19.7 billion. Ever optimistic, this year the ministry's spending wish list, announced this week, would boost spending 20%. Officials acknowledge that budget-cutting fever could dampen their hopes, but they feel lucky. “Compared to other budget categories, science spending could rise, but we don't know just how much,” says Kazuo Todani, head of the Education Ministry's budget department. Projects likely to receive sustaining funds include a 10-petaflops supercomputer, expected to cost $1 billion over 7 years, and a $365 million x-ray free electron laser.

  3. Singing Singh's Praises

    1. Pallava Bagla

    Soothing words from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week appear to have headed off a move by leading retired Indian nuclear scientists to publicly object to the U.S.-India nuclear agreement. Eight dissenters—including three former chairs of India's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)—wrote an open letter to the Indian Parliament last month saying that limitations in the proposed pact with the United States would endanger the “independence” of India's nuclear research and possibly impose a bomb test ban (Science, 5 May, p. 679).

    Supporters of the deal feared that the influential researchers could have raised a public outcry. But after a 1.5-hour private conference with the leader, says former AEC chair M. R. Srinivasan, Singh “assured and reiterated that the past gains made in the nuclear program will be consolidated.” The group has declared its concerns addressed.

  4. Flap Claims Journal Editor

    1. Constance Holden

    The editor of Neuropsychopharmacology will relinquish his post following a stir over his failure to list commercial ties in a July article about a new treatment for depression on which he was primary author (Science, 4 August, p. 598). Charles Nemeroff, chair of the psychiatry department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, last week notified the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), the journal's publisher, that he would step down when his 3-year term ends in December. “The controversy … continues to detract from our basic mission,” says Nemeroff, who was offered a second term in May. “I cannot recall another time where there has been so much concern among the membership,” wrote ACNP president Kenneth Davis in a 27 August letter to members.

    Last week, the ACNP Council, which oversees the journal, approved a series of measures to address the issue. These include disclosure by all council members and their spouses of recent relationships with industry. “Our College … sits on the fault line between academia and industry,” wrote Davis, who said he hopes the new editor will be “relatively free of industry relationships.”

  5. Tooooooooooot

    1. Robert F. Service

    All aboard the Florida gravy train. The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, was the first to climb on in 2003, when it inked a deal to open a brand-new East Coast branch in Palm Beach County—greased with $510 million from state and local governments. Last week, the Burnham Institute, also in San Diego, got aboard as well. Burnham pledged to bring as many as 300 well-paying biomedical research jobs to Orlando in exchange for a package of $310 million from Florida, the city of Orlando, the surrounding county, regional universities, developers, and philanthropies.

    The dealmaking likely isn't done yet. A third San Diego-based research outfit—The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies—is being wooed by the cities of Port St. Lucie and Boca Raton with a package of incentives valued at $93 million. And the Silicon Valley-based SRI International is in negotiations as well.

    Diabetes researcher Mark Atkinson of the University of Florida, Gainesville, says he expects the Burnham deal to be a boon for local science. He doesn't know how Florida Governor Jeb Bush keeps snagging California institutes, he adds, “but it seems to be working.”