International science: at risk?

According to SCIENCE magazine, the NIH is taking a serious look at US funded research products (including ideas, data and intellectual property) leaking to other nations–particularly near-peer competitors such as China. This is not happening in a political vacuum: the current trade tensions between the US Administration and China come to mind. And there have been concerns from Congress even before the 2016 election.

I don’t doubt that there have been instances of bad behavior by individual scientists, particularly those with dual allegiances. But I also passionately believe that the really tough scientific questions require an intellectual approach–look at Higgs in particle physics or the various brain research initiatives. Big science requires a big tent.

I hope we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water here.

France and a new super R1 university…

From Inside Higher Education, here. Money quote:

Five grandes ├ęcoles (leading French universities) should be formally merged to form a Parisian science and technology university emulating the likes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the French government has been told.

I think this quite a cool idea. And fits with President Macron’s recent interest in investing a lot of new money in science. Post-Brexit, France has a real opportunity in building a science powerhouse.