A good indicator of the views of House Science Committee Republicans on the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, NASA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Science Foundation can be found in a eight-page document submitted to the House Budget Committee. “Views and Estimates; Committee on Science, Space and Technology; Fiscal Year 2014” provides insight into the positions of twenty of the twenty-one committee Republicans on these agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Transportation.
US government officials have passed two more checkpoints on the long, winding road towards a policy for dealing with risky research. That journey was forced into overdrive at the end of 2011, when a government body recommended against publishing two studies showing how a deadly form of avian influenza H5N1 could be made to pass between mammals.
Today, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a final framework for vetting specific types of experiments before funding them. The US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) also published a long-awaited draft policy for how scientists and institutions should monitor and report on a wide range of research that malevolent forces could manipulate to do harm. This type of research, called dual-use research of concern (DURC), is fundable if the potential benefits are deemed significant and the risks deemed manageable.