Maintaining Research Funding For Universities, Treating Psychopathic Youth, Testimony Continues In The Russia Probe

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In the past, psychopathic behavior in children was considered untreatable, but a new approach is offering hope. We hear what’s being done to address the issue and help children and their families. UW-Madison’s chancellor is with us to discuss the long history of research funding universities have had from the federal government, and says it’s important to keep it strong for the future. Plus, we’ll get the latest in the Russia probe.

Featured in this Show

  • A Call To Continue Federal Funding For Research

    UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank makes the case for continue federal funding for research done at colleges and universities.

  • Research Universities Band Together To Defend Scientists Amid Proposed Massive Federal Cuts

    The Trump administration’s 2018 budget plan sent to Congress this week calls for major cuts to funding for medical and science research, and that has research universities — including the University of Wisconsin-Madison — defending the work of scientists.

    Sixty public and private research universities, including UW-Madison, endorsed a statement last month calling for continued funding of basic science research at public and private institutions. The Association of American Universities is urging the federal government to continue its decades-long commitment to funding research in the United States.

    UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said while federal research funding has increased over the decades, the return on that investment can be seen all around — from the phones in people’s pockets to the treatment protocols for cancer and heart disease.

    “Here’s the problem: When you’re funding basic science, you don’t know 20 years from now what will be useful and what won’t be. Basic science is about trying to explain the world,” said Blank, who wrote an op-ed about this issue.

    “If I’m going to fund someone doing interesting work on the human body today, I cannot guarantee this will result in a reduction in cancers 20 years from now. What I can tell you is that in the past that type of investment has repaid itself.”

    The administration seeks to cut the overall National Institutes of Health budget from $31.8 billion to $26 billion.

    According to the NIH, it uses more than 80 percent of its budget on grant money to fund research at universities and other scientific centers. That means thousands of institutions would suffer from these proposed cuts.

    Lawmakers seemed to ignore the Trump administration’s cuts to scientific research when Congress put together a spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year, which runs through September. In it, the NIH received a $2 billion increase.

    But Blank is concerned that without a sound commitment that government-funded research will continue, there could be trouble ahead for scientists who toil in labs across the country if portions of the Trump plan becomes a reality.

    She said private companies and big pharmaceutical companies won’t fill the funding gap because they focus on applied research that will pay dividends in the near term.

    “There are all sorts of ideas — some work and some don’t — and industry tends to be focused on funding something that we think we can apply in the next three to five years. Basic research is rarely that immediately applicable,” Blank said. “Basic science research has enormous long-term gains, but the results tend to be very generalizable. It’s not clear who is going to take advantage of it or what industry will most benefit. As a result, no one company is going to pay that bill.”

    The House Science Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday morning titled “Examining the Overhead Cost of Research” that will look at how the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies negotiate the indirect funding that agencies provide to research institutions.

  • A New Approach For Treating Children Who Are Psychopaths

    In the past, when a child was diagnosed with psychopathic behavior, it was condition without treatment. But now, a new clinical approach is offering hope to parents and children.

  • Testimony Continues In The Russia Probe

    The investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential race continued today with testimony from former-CIA Director John Brennan. He testified that he was worried about possible issues between Russia and members of Trump’s team last summer. This news comes on the heels of former-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announcing he’ll “plead the Fifth” after being subpoenaed by the Senate. We’ll discuss all of this and more with Professor Chris Edelson of American University.

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Rebecca Blank Guest
  • Barbara Bradley Hagerty Guest
  • Chris Edelson Guest

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