• President Obama signed into law a second appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010 on 21 October 2009. The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations act (HR 2997) will provide a $61 million boost to funding for competitively awarded, extramural agriculture research grants, a 30 percent increase over last year.
  • Britain’s Millennium Seed Bank Project held a ceremony on 15 October 2009 to celebrate the deposition of its 24,200th species, reaching its goal of banking 10 percent of the world’s seeds by 2010. More than 50 countries are on board with the project, which has over 1.5 billion seeds and aims to help protect plant biodiversity in a time of a rapidly changing climate.
  • For the first time in its history, a distinguished scientist and not a civil servant will become the head of the European Research Council (ERC). An independent review panel recommended putting a scientist in charge of the ERC, the European Union’s funding agency for basic research. No one has been selected to fill this post, which oversees the operations of the ERC as well as its 7.5 billion Euro budget.
  • A new report by the National Research Council on the future of the U.S. academic oceanographic research fleet recommends greater coordination among federal agencies in planning for the modernization and recapitalization of the fleet. The new fleet should also accommodate multidisciplinary, multi-investigator research and advances in ocean technology. For more information, please visit http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12775.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released new data on federal spending on research and development for fiscal years 2006-2008, information which is not readily available from other sources. To access the data, please visit http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10303/?WT.mcid=USNSF179.


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