Elsewhere in Science, 22 November 2013

Each week, Science publishes a few articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. But because those articles aren’t featured on Science Careers, our readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we’re pointing readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as the other Science-family publications (ScienceInsider, ScienceNOW, Science Translational Medicine—Sci. TM—and Science Signaling)—that hold some relevance or nuggets of advice for readers interested in furthering their careers in science. (Please note that while articles appearing in ScienceInsider and ScienceNOW can be read by anyone, articles appearing in Sci. TM and Science may require AAAS membership/Science subscription or a site license.)

• On Thursday at ScienceInsider, Tania Rabesandratana reported that the European Parliament has approved Horizon 2020, the successor to Europe’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for funding research and innovation. Horizon 2020 will receive about €70.2 billion over 7 years (in 2011 euros) starting in 2014, up from €55 billion provided under FP7, which started in 2007 and ends this year. The European Research Council, Europe’s main conduit for single-investigator research grants, did especially well, its budget rose by about 75% compared to FP7.

 “This is a vote of confidence in the power of EU research and innovation funding,” research commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said in a statement. But there must still be a “formal agreement from E.U. member states” before the first calls for proposals are published on 11 December, the statement notes.

• Researchers who do animal studies: It’s time to up your game. In a News Focus article, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel leads with the story of three mice that mysteriously disappeared from an account of an experiment aimed at evaluating a drug intended to protect the brain after a stroke. Ulrich Dirnagl, director of the Center for Stroke Research at Charité University Medicine Berlin, was reviewing a paper based on the study when he noticed that the mice were gone. Those three mice, it turns out, had been dropped from the experiment without explanation. Why? They had massive strokes. 

” ‘This isn’t fraud,’ says Dirnagl, who often works with mice. Dropping animals from a research study for any number of reasons, he explains, is an entrenched, accepted part of the culture. ‘You look at your data, there are no rules. … People exclude animals at their whim, they just do it and they don’t report it.’ That bad habit, he believes, is one of several that plague animal studies.”

“For ethical and cost reasons, researchers try to use as few animals as possible, which can mean minuscule sample sizes. Unblinded, unrandomized studies are the norm. In Dirnagl’s words, ‘the way we do our research with our animals is stone-age.’ ” This article is essential reading for researchers who work with animals. 

• At ScienceNow, John Bohannon reported that Cedric Tan, a biologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, won the top prize in this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” competition. Tan, who finished his Ph.D. at Oxford last year, created a dance based on his thesis, “Sperm competition between brothers and female choice.” Tan spent a year on the video, in which the chicken mating process was illustrated using a number of dance styles. “I assembled the team, trained them, forced tight skimpy attires on them (they complained a lot), forced them into the freezing cold lake (they hated me for it),” Tan wrote in an e-mail.

According to Bohannon, “Tan won both the Biology category and the overall prize: $1000 and a trip—sponsored by HighWire Press—to screen his video at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.”

The “Dance Your Ph.D.” competition is sponsored by Science magazine and AAAS (publisher of Science Careers). You can watch video of Tan’s winning dance and view performances from the other finalists on NOW.

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