Science  21 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5845, pp. 1663

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  1. The Young and the Innovative

    Are early-career scientists more likely than their senior colleagues to suggest out-of-the-box research? That's the thinking behind a new grants program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that gives junior faculty members a chance to launch their biomedical research careers.

    This week, the agency announced the first batch of 29 awardees for the 5-year, $1.5 million New Innovator Awards. Ideas from the 2200 applicants, who have never received an individual-investigator NIH grant and who earned their Ph.D. in the past 10 years, run the gamut from basic to therapeutic research. “Early-career types are historically the ones who come up with the most innovative ideas,” says Jeremy Berg, director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, adding that he hopes the awards pave the way to subsequent R01 grants. NIH also announced the fourth round of Pioneer Awards to established investigators.

  2. Peru to Get Artifacts

    Artifacts recovered from the famed Inca site of Machu Picchu are going home. After years of squabbling, Yale University this week agreed to return more than 350 pieces uncovered by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham III in the 1920s. Yale maintained it had approval to remove the artifacts, but Peru insisted that they be returned and recently threatened to go to court. Under the deal, Yale acknowledges Peru's title to the material but retains an unspecified number of artifacts. It will also co-sponsor a traveling exhibit that will raise money for a museum in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco to open by the centennial of Machu Picchu's rediscovery by Bingham in 2011. Yale President Richard Levin says the agreement sets “a new model” for collaboration.

  3. China's Spending Boom

    China is continuing to pour money into research. A new government report says that spending this year has reached $40 billion, up 22% to a record-high 1.4% of gross domestic product, with 72% of that coming from the private sector. China's R&D spending has risen by 19% a year since 1995, according to a new analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). That sustained surge has moved China into sixth place globally, says the OECD report, but it adds that top-down decision-making and a limited investment in basic research have hindered the payoff from such investments.

  4. Taking ADHD to Heart

    U.S. academic researchers are teaming up with health insurers to learn whether drugs used to treat hyperactivity also cause heart problems. They will be looking at the health records of 500,000 children and adults who have taken any of a half-dozen drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in search of higher rates of sudden cardiac death, heart attacks, and stroke. The $4 million study may also provide clues about “how risk changes with age, gender,” and other variables, says Michigan State University's Marsha Rappley, chair of the pediatric advisory committee at the Food and Drug Administration. FDA is co-funding the study with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  5. Space for Rent ...

    With no money for new biomedical research aboard the international space station, NASA is hoping that a sister agency will open its pocketbook. A new agreement between NASA and the National Institutes of Health is intended to open doors for NIH-funded scientists proposing projects to take advantage of the station's microgravity environment. “The funding will come if we have competitive, highly meritorious grants,” says cell biologist Danny Riley, president-elect of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology. The station is scheduled to open for business in 2011.

  6. ... And Google Air?

    Two Gulfstream jets took off recently from NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California to observe a meteor shower high above the haze of San Francisco Bay. The front-row seats for astronomers came courtesy of a deal between NASA and a private company run by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of the Internet giant Google.

    Last month, NASA granted the planes access to Moffett Field, located near Google's base in Silicon Valley and typically off-limits to private aircraft, in exchange for their use on research missions. The two Gulfstreams and a Boeing 767 will be housed for $1.3 million to $2.3 million a year, says Steven Zornetzer, Ames associate director for institutions and research, and outfitted with a suite of atmospheric sensors that will be activated whenever the planes are in the air. Outside researchers, who are welcome to submit proposals, may be attracted to the king-sized beds on the Boeing jet, whose commercial version carries 180 passengers.