Archive by date | June 2011

Stop-gap funds will support summer research on oil spill

Stop-gap funds will support summer research on oil spill

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) Research Board today awarded US$1.5 million in funds to 17 scientists doing research on the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Short term funding made available in these grants will allow researchers to collect crucial summer data, tiding them over until more of BP’s funds become available in the fall.  Read more

French cabinet reshuffle switches science minister

French cabinet reshuffle switches science minister

The nomination this week of Christine Lagarde, France’s finance minister, as head of the International Monetary Fund has prompted a cabinet reshuffle in the ruling conservative government, resulting in a change in the minister for science and higher education. Lagarde’s vacated ministerial position was filled by François Baroin, 46, former budget minister and government spokesperson. The two positions he’d held were in turn filled by Valérie Pécresse, 43 – a promotion for a rising star in French politics who had been science minister since president Nicolas Sarkozy nominated his first government in 2007 (read my 2008 interview with Pécresse here).

Indian Point nuclear plant finds itself on the hit list, again

Indian Point nuclear plant finds itself on the hit list, again

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has put Entergy Corporation on notice that he intends to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plant 35 miles north of Manhattan, likely representing yet another knock-on effect of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima in Japan.  Read more

Committee votes to withdraw approval for breast cancer drug

The Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted today to move forward with its December decision to withdraw approval for the drug Avastin in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. The committee’s vote was unanimous on the grounds that the available evidence doesn’t show that the drug is effective enough to justify serious toxic side effects, including severe high blood pressure, hemorrhage and heart failure.  Read more

It’s impact factor time!

It’s impact factor time!

Once a year, information company Thomson Reuters publishes updates to a measure of popularity that every science journal displays in lights: its ‘impact factor’. This event, which happened again yesterday, always produces a slightly embarrassed buzz among science journal editors.

Spine Journal takes on Medtronic over controversial drug

Spine Journal takes on Medtronic over controversial drug

Whether it’s the New Yorker’s summer fiction issue or Nature’s new African science special, everyone loves a themed issue of their favourite periodical. Unless, that is, you work or consult for the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based medical device company Medtronic and your favourite read is the Spine Journal.