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Concept: Finance


We surveyed 113 astronomers and 82 psychologists active in applying for federally funded research on their grant-writing history between January, 2009 and November, 2012. We collected demographic data, effort levels, success rates, and perceived non-financial benefits from writing grant proposals. We find that the average proposal takes 116 PI hours and 55 CI hours to write; although time spent writing was not related to whether the grant was funded. Effort did translate into success, however, as academics who wrote more grants received more funding. Participants indicated modest non-monetary benefits from grant writing, with psychologists reporting a somewhat greater benefit overall than astronomers. These perceptions of non-financial benefits were unrelated to how many grants investigators applied for, the number of grants they received, or the amount of time they devoted to writing their proposals. We also explored the number of years an investigator can afford to apply unsuccessfully for research grants and our analyses suggest that funding rates below approximately 20%, commensurate with current NIH and NSF funding, are likely to drive at least half of the active researchers away from federally funded research. We conclude with recommendations and suggestions for individual investigators and for department heads.

Concepts: Research, Writing, Writing system, Finance, Creative writing, Fundraising, Funding, Research funding


Industry sponsors' financial interests might bias the conclusions of scientific research. We examined whether financial industry funding or the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest influenced the results of published systematic reviews (SRs) conducted in the field of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and weight gain or obesity.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Science, Research, The Association, Peer review, Review, Finance


Interoception is the sensing of physiological signals originating inside the body, such as hunger, pain and heart rate. People with greater sensitivity to interoceptive signals, as measured by, for example, tests of heart beat detection, perform better in laboratory studies of risky decision-making. However, there has been little field work to determine if interoceptive sensitivity contributes to success in real-world, high-stakes risk taking. Here, we report on a study in which we quantified heartbeat detection skills in a group of financial traders working on a London trading floor. We found that traders are better able to perceive their own heartbeats than matched controls from the non-trading population. Moreover, the interoceptive ability of traders predicted their relative profitability, and strikingly, how long they survived in the financial markets. Our results suggest that signals from the body - the gut feelings of financial lore - contribute to success in the markets.

Concepts: Risk, Economics, Decision theory, Sense, Heart rate, Investment, Stock market, Finance


To review the evidence for the short term association between air pollution and stroke.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, Term, Finance


┬áTo examine the association between the presence of individual principal investigators' financial ties to the manufacturer of the study drug and the trial’s outcomes after accounting for source of research funding.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, The Association, Finance


Tens of millions of people are currently choosing health coverage on a state or federal health insurance exchange as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We examine how well people make these choices, how well they think they do, and what can be done to improve these choices. We conducted 6 experiments asking people to choose the most cost-effective policy using websites modeled on current exchanges. Our results suggest there is significant room for improvement. Without interventions, respondents perform at near chance levels and show a significant bias, overweighting out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles. Financial incentives do not improve performance, and decision-makers do not realize that they are performing poorly. However, performance can be improved quite markedly by providing calculation aids, and by choosing a “smart” default. Implementing these psychologically based principles could save purchasers of policies and taxpayers approximately 10 billion dollars every year.

Concepts: Health insurance, Improve, Decision theory, Thought, Performance, Choice, Finance, Choice architecture


As part of a cluster of articles critically reflecting on the theme of “no health without research,” Devi Sridhar discusses a major challenge in the governance of research funding: “multi-bi” financing that allows the priorities of funding bodies to dictate what health issues and diseases are studied.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Research, Finance, Theme music, Research funding


The dramatic rise in chronically ill patients on permanent disability benefits threatens the sustainability of social security in high-income countries. Social insurance organizations have started to invest in promising, but costly return to work (RTW) coordination programmes. The benefit, however, remains uncertain. We conducted a systematic review to determine the long-term effectiveness of RTW coordination compared to usual practice in patients at risk for long-term disability.

Concepts: Medicine, Risk, Randomized controlled trial, Investment, Insurance, Finance, Social security, Social insurance


Background It is uncertain whether the duration of red-cell storage affects mortality after transfusion among critically ill adults. Methods In an international, multicenter, randomized, double-blind trial, we assigned critically ill adults to receive either the freshest available, compatible, allogeneic red cells (short-term storage group) or standard-issue (oldest available), compatible, allogeneic red cells (long-term storage group). The primary outcome was 90-day mortality. Results From November 2012 through December 2016, at 59 centers in five countries, 4994 patients underwent randomization and 4919 (98.5%) were included in the primary analysis. Among the 2457 patients in the short-term storage group, the mean storage duration was 11.8 days. Among the 2462 patients in the long-term storage group, the mean storage duration was 22.4 days. At 90 days, there were 610 deaths (24.8%) in the short-term storage group and 594 (24.1%) in the long-term storage group (absolute risk difference, 0.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.7 to 3.1; P=0.57). At 180 days, the absolute risk difference was 0.4 percentage points (95% CI, -2.1 to 3.0; P=0.75). Most of the prespecified secondary measures showed no significant between-group differences in outcome. Conclusions The age of transfused red cells did not affect 90-day mortality among critically ill adults. (Funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and others; TRANSFUSE Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, ACTRN12612000453886 ; number, NCT01638416 .).

Concepts: Time, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Malaria, Medical statistics, Hematology, Blood transfusion, Finance


Multinational corporations use highly complex structures of parents and subsidiaries to organize their operations and ownership. Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) facilitate these structures through low taxation and lenient regulation, but are increasingly under scrutiny, for instance for enabling tax avoidance. Therefore, the identification of OFC jurisdictions has become a politicized and contested issue. We introduce a novel data-driven approach for identifying OFCs based on the global corporate ownership network, in which over 98 million firms (nodes) are connected through 71 million ownership relations. This granular firm-level network data uniquely allows identifying both sink-OFCs and conduit-OFCs. Sink-OFCs attract and retain foreign capital while conduit-OFCs are attractive intermediate destinations in the routing of international investments and enable the transfer of capital without taxation. We identify 24 sink-OFCs. In addition, a small set of five countries - the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland - canalize the majority of corporate offshore investment as conduit-OFCs. Each conduit jurisdiction is specialized in a geographical area and there is significant specialization based on industrial sectors. Against the idea of OFCs as exotic small islands that cannot be regulated, we show that many sink and conduit-OFCs are highly developed countries.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Investment, Identification, Finance, Tax, Corporation, Multinational corporation, Capitalism