As funds for medical research in Israel are always inadequate, new UK-Israel medical research fellowships will provide a shot in the arm.

The British Embassy in Israel and the British Council recently announced the launching of the state-of-the-art medical research program. The fellowships form part of the Britain- Israel Research and Academic Exchange (BIRAX) Partnership, a multimillion- pound bilateral research program that promotes regenerative medicine research to find cures for the world’s worst diseases.

To deepen academic connections between the UK and Israel and develop advanced therapies, the BIRAX Regenerative Medicine Initiative will support research visits by UK and Israel researchers for up to six months to laboratories in both countries. The program follows seven joint projects that have been awarded up to £400,000 each for research over three years. Up to 30 fellowships will be awarded, each worth up to £12,600 each.

The fellowship program is an exciting opportunity for scientists to undertake visits to the UK and Israel to further their research experience, establish or strengthen research links, learn new techniques and research methods that are not available in their home laboratories and facilitate collaboration between the home and host research groups, the embassy said.

UK Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould added: “The launch of this fellowship program represents a major stepping up of scientific collaboration between Britain and Israel. We’re offering our most talented young scientists in both countries the chance to work with each other. The potential for this cooperation is huge – both our countries are scientific superpowers, with world class laboratories doing cutting-edge research.

We should be natural partners in science, and this fellowship program will help us fulfill that potential. ” GENDER DIFFERENCE IN RESEARCH FRAUD Male scientists are far more likely to commit fraud than females, and such fraud occurs across the career spectrum, from trainees to senior faculty. The analysis of professional misconduct was co-led by a researcher at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and was published recently in the journal mBio.

“The fact that misconduct occurs across all stages of career development suggests that attention to ethical aspects of scientific conduct should not be limited to those in training, as is the current practice,” said senior Einstein author Dr. Arturo Casadevall.

“Our other finding – that males are overrepresented among those committing misconduct – implies a gender difference we need to better understand in any effort to promote the integrity of research.”

The team reviewed 228 individual cases of misconduct reported by the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) from 1994 through 2012. They found that fraud was involved in 215 (94 percent) of the 228 cases reported by the ORI. Of these, 40% involved trainees, 32% faculty members and 28% other research personnel (research scientists, technicians, study coordinators and interviewers).

Overall, 65% of the fraud cases were committed by males.

The study did not examine why men are more likely to commit fraud.

One possibility is that misconduct is biologically driven.

“As research has shown, males tend to be risk takers, more so than females, and to commit fraud entails taking a risk,” said Casadevall. “It may also be that males are more competitive or that women are more sensitive to the threat of sanctions. I think the best answer is that we don’t know. Now that we have documented the problem, we can begin a serious discussion about what is going on and what can be done about it.”

Casadevall recommended periodic ethics training for scientists at all levels of academia.

“Right now we target trainees for ethics training,” he added. “We don’t do anything after they are hired. It might help if universities required refresher courses in ethics, as they do with courses to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

It won’t stop all misconduct, but it’s one place to start.”

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