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US news roundup: 22-28 April


This week: energy spending under fire, combating sexual harassment, and cutting red tape

In depth: The United States should reverse a recent decline in research spending on planetary science and launch a suite of missions across the solar system, according to a report from the country’s National Academies.

Full story: US urged to reverse decline in spending on planetary science

Also this week from Research Professional News

The Tip of the iceberg—A first new directorate in three decades has been launched at the National Science Foundation

Here is the rest of the US news this week… 

Republicans warn clean-energy hires could drain money

Republicans on the House science committee have written to the Department of Energy, warning that resources for R&D could be sapped by plans to hire 1,000 new employees for a Clean Energy Corps to help in efforts to deploy energy technology. “If poorly implemented, the Clean Energy Corps has the potential to be a significant waste of taxpayer dollars that, instead of furthering the Department’s work to develop clean energy solutions, will drain resources and focus from critical research activities,” representatives led by ranking committee member Frank Lucas wrote. The department did not respond to a request for comment from Research Professional News.

Academies seek to combat harassment in research

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has published three new resources for preventing and mitigating the damage caused by sexual harassment, developed by its Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. One is a guide to a procedural justice framework for improving and revising policies, processes and practices. The others describe policies at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Wisconsin for preventing known harassers moving between institutions without disciplinary action or the new employer’s knowledge of policy violations or related ongoing investigations.

Much to do on animals admin, says NIH deputy

“Much is still to be done” to reduce the administrative burden placed on researchers around working with animals, the National Institutes of Health deputy director for extramural research Mike Lauer has said. The NIH is planning surveys or requests for information on further efforts to reduce red tape on the issue. The agency is analysing the results of a request for information on deviations from the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, with plans for extra polls on areas such as flexibilities for programme review.