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The Broader Impact of Science

At Science Progress, Britt Holbrook points out that the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 is waiting to be voted on, and that while everyone seemed to be fixated on its $84 billion price tag, there is an overlooked aspect of the bill: its attempt to clarify the National Science Foundation's Broader Impacts Criterion policy. A subsection of this bill aims to explain what "broader impact" means by listing goals and policy recommendations. The eight goals include increasing the economic competitiveness of the US, encouraging academia-industry partnerships, and improving science literacy, among others. The policy section calls for the development of metrics to use in BIC review, for institutions to provide support for researchers to address broader impact, and to have investigators show that they have such support. "Champions of BIC share, with other scientists and engineers and no doubt with some members of Congress, the belief that investments in science and engineering lead to societal benefits," Holbrook says. "A belief they seem not to share with those scientists and engineers resistant to BIC, however, is that if science and engineering do lead to societal benefits, we ought to be able to demonstrate that fact."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.