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Two Takes on the Annual National Science Policy Network Symposium

Authored by Sydney Simpson and Vania Lopez-Ruiz

The National Science Policy Network hosts an annual symposium to bring together the different chapters of the organization to focus in on skill building, knowledge gaining, and networking in regards to science policy. Two group members from the University of Rochester Science Policy Network attended this meeting in November 2019 and have shared their experiences at the symposium.

Local Science Policy: How Can Scientists Get Involved?

Authored by Rebecca Lowery

As scientists considering venturing into the world of science policy, you may be wondering: who are the policymakers enacting science policy and what are their roles? Politicians are key policymakers as they have the ability to pass legislation that governs the execution of science as well as use science to form evidence-based policies. But what is the role of scientists in setting science policy? Alex Yudelson, Mayor Lovely Warren’s Chief of Staff, recently visited the Medical Center to chat with the URMC community about the importance of participation by the scientific community in the policymaking process and how scientists can get involved in influencing policy right here in Rochester.

International Scientific Collaboration: A Key Aspect of Research

Authored by Nazish Jeffery

International Scientific Collaboration (ISC) has been under harsh scrutiny as of late due to a letter that the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, sent to various universities last August. In his letter, Mr. Collins voiced his concerns about the interference in funding, research, and peer-review process of federally funded projects by foreign entities. The letter was a result of increasing concern over US federally funded research property being found in the hands of foreign entities. Recently, Elon Musk and his company, Tesla, have experienced a similar situation, where propriety information has been improperly shared with competitors without authorization. While the concern is indeed valid, the measures that have been taken to combat the issue raise ethical concerns and create an atmosphere of uncertainty and suspicion. Since Francis Collins’s letter, investigation into specific researchers has occurred, with focus on the funding sources these researchers received. The findings of these investigations have led to the termination of researchers at prestigious universities, including MD Anderson and Emory, due to compliance failures. It is important to note that the researchers that have been scrutinized and terminated have been of Asian descent.

To Make Change: International Scientific Collaboration and the Plea for Equality

Authored by Nazish Jeffery

In the wake of the International Scientific Collaboration (ISC) debate, the Federation of American Scientists communicated a call to action, allowing scientists to share their concerns and opinions on ISC. Scientists throughout the nation were able to share their stories as to how ISC was a key aspect of scientific and technological research. They highlighted the importance of collaboration and pointed out the barriers that would be unveiled with any potential stoppage in collaboration.