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Female scientists who apply for funding from Cancer Research UK (CRUK), a publicly funded charity headquartered in London, have the same chance of success as their male counterparts, but applicants from minority groups face an uphill climb. Those are two of the key findings from the agency’s internal diversity review, which suggests that disparities linger amid some signs of progress towards equity. “You have to look deeper to find the disparities,” says CRUK fellow and cancer researcher Sophie Acton.
The genome of the Ebola virus causing a new outbreak in Guinea barely differs from that of the strain seen 5 to 6 years ago, suggesting that the virus remained dormant in survivors of the last epidemic. After analysing 2 viral genomes from the current outbreak — which has made 18 people ill and killed 9 — 3 independent groups agree that a Zaire ebolavirus strain, which was behind the last epidemic, is responsible again. Scientists had previously assumed that Ebola epidemics start when a virus jumps from an animal host to humans, but the new evidence suggests that humans are as likely as wildlife to be the source of an Ebola outbreak. “This is clearly a new paradigm for how these outbreaks start,” says infectious-disease physician Eric Delaporte.
Features & opinion
Commitments to reduce net greenhouse-gas emissions to zero are essential to meet Paris climate agreement targets and to save the world. But plans are hard to compare, and definitions are loose, write climate scientist Joeri Rogelj and three colleagues. They offer a checklist for countries and companies that want to set rigorous, fair and transparent net-zero targets. And, in a supplementary article, they detail ten guidelines for gold-standard net-zero goals.
Stresses exacerbated by the pandemic are taking their toll on scientists, and the situation looks likely to continue as universities struggle with the economic fallout of COVID-19. There are no quick or easy solutions to burnout, especially with no end in sight to its underlying structural causes; academic scientists are often largely left to muddle through as best they can. Higher-education researchers offer sober advice on surviving burnout and making healthy decisions about your future career.
“Dare mighty things” was the message encoded in the red-and-white stripes on the landing parachute of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. Now you can design your own circular missive thanks to software consultant Sam Warner (here’s mine).
Send me your inspiring three-word exhortations — plus any other feedback on this newsletter — at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With contributions by Smriti Mallapaty and Ariana Remmel