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US news roundup: 21-27 October


This week: support for Ukraine, recommendations for women’s health and a new supercomputer

In depth: The National Institutes of Health, a US federal research funding agency, has provided an update on its efforts to address structural racism in biomedical research, both within the agency and in the broader landscape.

Full story: NIH shares steps to address racism in biomedical research

Also this week from Research Professional News

US strategy seeks to bolster response to biological incidents—Government plan includes strengthening lab safety

Russian permafrost—Arctic research cooperation may never return to how it was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Here is the rest of the US news this week… 

Science academies back $3m fund for Ukrainian science

International academic organisations have teamed up to support Ukrainian research during the Russian invasion by overseeing the distribution of a $3 million donation from the not-for-profit Breakthrough Prize Foundation. “Ukraine’s research infrastructure…continues to be targeted by the Russian military,” said Marcia McNutt, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, which with the Polish Academy of Sciences is providing the secretariat for the Ukrainian Science, Innovation and Research Coordinating Group. “The international scientific community is coming together not only to provide much-needed support to Ukrainian researchers during the war but also to ensure that the Ukrainian research enterprise is ready to help rebuild the country and contribute to global science when the war ends.” National academies from Ukraine, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany and the UK are participating, as is the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities. 

NIH asked to better support women’s health research

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has called on the National Institutes of Health to better support scientists who are returning to women’s health research after stepping away from their work. The society’s call came in response to a request for comment from the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health on its Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research. The plan has five strategic goals, one of which is to train a diverse workforce of researchers focused on women’s health. The society recommended that the NIH clarify the qualification criteria for a programme supporting researchers who left their jobs for reasons including illness.

Argonne begins installation of Aurora supercomputer

The installation of Aurora, an exascale supercomputer, is underway at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. “With Aurora, we’re building a machine that will be able to do artificial intelligence, big data analysis and high-fidelity simulations at a scale we haven’t seen before,” said Michael Papka, director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility. “It’s going to be game-changing to the scientific community.” Intel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are building the computer, which will be capable of completing two billion billion calculations per second, making it one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.