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nSCI Profile Series: Ruha Benjamin on science and society

Ruha Benjamin is an interdisciplinary scholar who examines the relationship between science, technology, medicine, and society. She is a professor of African American studies at Princeton University and is the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press 2013), in which she asks questions about who is included and excluded in scientific research initiatives. Dr. Benjamin was recently an American Council of Learned…

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NIH’s world research reporting tool

An article published in Science last week discusses the value of creating a global map of health R&D activity to improve coordination of research and create a “global observatory” for health research. I encourage you to check it out, and I also thought it was a timely reminder for discussing updates to the world research reporting tool I blogged about in March last year. The World Research Portfolio Online Reporting…

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New study profiles the biomedical consortia landscape

Of the 369 consortia that we researched, the majority were focused on creating resources that advance research for a specific medical condition, and most research being performed by AD, diabetes, and cancer consortia was focused on biomarker development. This goal is aligned with current trends in the pharmaceutical industry, which is focused increasingly on molecularly targeted therapies. However, balancing proprietary strategy with risk reduction and shared expertise becomes a challenge…

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Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws

Competition in pursuit of experimental objectives has always been a part of the scientific enterprise, and it can have positive effects. However, hypercompetition for the resources and positions that are required to conduct science suppresses the creativity, cooperation, risk-taking, and original thinking required to make fundamental discoveries. Now that the percentage of NIH grant applications that can be funded has fallen from around 30% into the low teens, biomedical scientists…

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How We’re Unintentionally Defunding NIH

In June of 1998, the U.S. Congress, with bipartisan support, committed itself to double the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget over the next five years, arguing that “biomedical research has been shown to be effective in saving lives and reducing health care expenditures.” Shortly thereafter, a trio of scientists representing the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology laid out a vision of what increased funding could achieve: it…

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