India’s basic research fund

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced a new independent agency will be set up to fund the country’s basic science and engineering research. The National Science and Engineering Research Board will begin funding operations from 1 April 2009, and is expected to control a budget of 10 billion rupees (£138 million). 

Formaldehyde evaluated

The US EPA has opened a 60 day consultation over the risks posed by formaldehyde emissions from products made of pressed wood, for which it’s used as a preservative. The issue gained prominence after Hurricane Katrina, because the emissions were linked to the health problems suffered by many of people living in temporary housing built for displaced New Orleans families. EPA plans to assess the potential adverse health risks, and evaluate the costs and benefits of possible emission control technologies. 

Second phase funding

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the final cash handouts from its first ever ’Advanced Grants’ competition – a €542 million (£480 million) fund for blue skies science - and launched the competition’s second phase of funding. Application deadlines for the €490 million of second round funding are set between March and May 2009. 

Go figure

40 million  

The number of substances registered by the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). The 40 millionth substance - registered on 21 November 2008 with CAS registry number 1073662-18-6 - is a polycyclic synthetic intermediate of anti-tumour compound Taxol.