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US news roundup: 13-19 May


This week: energy department science chief appointed, autoimmune research backed and wildfire preparations

In depth: The United States’ global position on research and innovation “remains strong” for now but is under threat from “stagnant” public investments, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has warned.

Full story: ‘Stagnant’ US R&D spending sparks competition concerns

Also this week from Research Professional News

Reconciliation begins for bipartisan innovation act—Senators and representatives will attempt to reconcile bitterly divergent views

Here is the rest of the US news this week… 

DoE Office of Science director confirmed

Soil scientist Asmeret Berhe has been appointed the new director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Berhe was nominated by US president Joe Biden in April 2021 and confirmed by the Senate on 10 May 2022. A professor of biogeochemistry at the University of California, Merced, Berhe was born and grew up in Eritrea. She is reportedly the first person of colour to lead the Office of Science and will hold her position for the duration of Biden’s term.

Create research office for autoimmune disease, NIH urged 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is recommending that the National Institutes of Health launch a new office for autoimmune disease research. In a recent report, the National Academies said a well-funded office and dedicated strategic plan would help the agency to coordinate and capitalise on existing autoimmune disease research taking place across various NIH institutes and centres.

Los Alamos national security lab still braced for wildfire

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has said it remains ready to evacuate if the Cerro Pelado fire raging through New Mexico gets too close for comfort. The laboratory, which monitors national security threats including wildfires, reported earlier this week that while the Cerro Pelado fire has been mostly contained, dry conditions and strong winds are still a cause for concern and will be closely monitored.