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D.C. Research Weekly Report


House Passes The America COMPETES Reauthorization
The House of Representatives passed The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R.1806), a two-year reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), some Department of Energy (DOE) offices and programs, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). This bill contained deep cuts to DOE programs like ARPA-E and EERE as well as to the SBE and GEO directorates at NSF and was approved by a vote of 217 to 205. The Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing the legislation. During floor consideration of this legislation, the House adopted seven amendments

The URC Vice Presidents for Research sent the Michigan House Delegation this letter expressing concerns with this bill.
Senator Alexander Releases Energy Title of Senate COMPETES Bill 
In the Senate, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TX) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), along with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) released the energy title of a Senate COMPETES Reauthorization.
 
This legislation would address the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and ARPA-E programs and provide a five-year authorization, with approximately four percent growth. This legislation will be taken up by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, while the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will draft the remainder of a COMPETES Reauthorization. You can read the bill
here

House Passes Legislation to Make Permanent the R&D Tax Credit
Yesterday, the House approved the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015 (H.R.880) by a vote of 274 to 145. This legislation would make permanent the R&D tax credit. The Administration issued a Statement of Administrative Policy stating support for “enhancing, simplifying, and making permanent the Research and Experimentation Credit” but opposes this legislation because it does not contain an offset.
House Appropriations approved Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bills
The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill by voice vote.
 
This legislation would provide $7.4 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), $50 million above the FY2015 level. The $50 million increase would be solely directed to research and related activities. The bill would direct NSF to allocate no less than 70% of research dollars to four directorates deemed as “core” sciences. This would exclude the Geosciences and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences directorates. By some estimates this could be a cut of $250 million for these two directorates.
 
For the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the legislation would provide $410 million for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, a cut of about 5.4% from the FY2015 level of $433 million. The Sea Grant Program (which includes the Marine Aquaculture Program) would be funded at $64.8 million, which is a cut of about 3.7% below the FY2015 level of $67.3 million.
 
For NASA, the legislation would provide $5.24 billion for the science mission directorate, a 0.13% decrease below the FY2015 level of $5.29 billion. For the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, the legislation would cut about $51 million or 7.83% below FY2015 enacted. For the Space Technology Mission Directorate, the legislation would increase funding by $29 million, or 4.87% over FY2015 enacted and the NASA space grant program would receive flat funding of $40 million from FY2015.
 
Within the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program would receive flat funding of $130 million from FY2015.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released a detailed review of its concerns about the funding levels and requirements in the bill. The letter to committee leaders from OMB Director Shaun Donovan also discusses the broader issue of sequestration funding levels, reiterating the President's statement that he will not accept a fix to defense spending without also fixing nondefense spending.


Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Approved
The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee approved the FY2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. This legislation would provide $5.144 billion for the Department of Energy Office of Science, which is $73 million or about 1.5% above FY2015, and $44 million above the House-passed FY2016 level. This legislation would provide $291 million for ARPA-E, which is $11 million above the FY2015 enacted and House-passed FY2016 level.
House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approves FY16 bill 
The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee approved the FY2016 Defense Appropriations bill in a closed markup. Text of the legislation is available here. This legislation would provide $67.9 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies. This is an increase of about $4 billion above FY2015. Further information will be available once the report of the bill becomes available.
Best of Luck to Tom O'Mealia
This is also Tom O'Mealia's last full week working the in the Washington, D.C. office. While he has been here, he has turned this newsletter upside down and has contributed greatly to the mission of our office. We are sad to see him go but we know his future will be great as he embarks on his next journey to get his PhD in Political Science at the great University of Michigan (Go Blue!). He will be studying International Relations with an emphasis on conflict. We wish him all the success!
Upcoming Hearings
The Congress will be in recess next week. 
Nomination Announcements
 
Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists

The Prize is awarded annually to one young scientist for outstanding life science research for which he/she was awarded a doctoral degree in the previous two years. The topic of the entrant's thesis research must be in one of the following categories: Cell and Molecular Biology, Genomics and Proteomics, Ecology and Environment, Translational Medicine. Eligible entrants must have been awarded their doctoral degree in 2013 or 2014, and the subject of their thesis should match one of the Subject Tracks below. The winners from each category will compete for the grand prize. US$30,000 for the grand prize winner, US$10,000 for each of the category winners. The grand prize winning essay will be published in Science and essays from the each of the category winners will be published online.

Application deadline: August 1, 2015. You can read more here.

National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is requesting nominations to fill at least 16 vacancies on the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP).The NACNEP provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary and Congress in preparation of general regulations and concerning policy matters arising in the administration of Title VIII, including the range of issues related to nurse workforce education and practice improvement.

The Department of Health and Human Services is requesting at least 16 nominations for members of the NACNEP from leading authorities in the various fields of nursing, higher and secondary education, and associate degree schools of nursing; and from representatives of advanced education nursing groups (such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists); from hospitals and other institutions and organizations which provide nursing services; from practicing professional nurses; from the general public; and full-time students enrolled in schools of nursing. The majority of NACNEP members shall be nurses. Read the full announcement here.

 
National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality
The Council is to advise the Secretary of HHS (Secretary) and the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on matters related to activities of the Agency to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

Seven current members' terms will expire in November 2015. To fill these positions, we are seeking individuals who are distinguished in: (1) The conduct of research, demonstration projects, and evaluations with respect to health care; (2) the fields of health care quality research or health care improvement; (3) the practice of medicine; (4) other health professions; (5) representing the private health care sector (including health plans, providers, and purchasers) or administrators of health care delivery systems; (6) the fields of health care economics, information systems, law, ethics, business, or public policy; and, (7) representing the interests of patients and consumers of health care. Individuals are particularly sought with experience and success in activities specified in the summary above. Read the full announcement here.

EPA Science Advisory Board

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations of scientific experts from a diverse range of disciplines to be considered for appointment to the Science Advisory Board (SAB) and six SAB committees. The chartered SAB provides strategic advice to the EPA Administrator on a variety of EPA science and research programs. All the work of SAB committees and panels is under the direction of the chartered SAB. The chartered SAB reviews all SAB committee and panel draft reports and determines whether they are appropriate to send to the EPA Administrator. The SAB Staff Office is seeking nominations of experts to serve on the chartered SAB in the following disciplines as they relate to human health and the environment: Analytical chemistry; ecological sciences and ecological assessment; economics; engineering; geochemistry; health disparities; health sciences; hydrology; hydrogeology; medicine; microbiology; modeling; pediatrics; public health; risk assessment; social, behavioral and decision sciences; statistics; and toxicology. should be submitted in time to arrive no later than May 27, 2015. The SAB Staff Office is especially interested in scientists with expertise described above who have knowledge and experience in air quality; agricultural sciences; climate change; drinking water; energy and the environment; water quality; water quantity; water reuse; ecosystem services; community environmental health; sustainability; chemical safety; green chemistry; human health risk assessment; homeland security; and waste and waste management. Read the full announcement here.

Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award
The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award is bestowed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy to mid-career scientists and engineers in recognition of exceptional scientific, technical, and/or engineering achievements related to the broad missions of the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Lawrence Award is administered by the Department of Energy's Office of Science. The Award consists of a citation signed by the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal, and a $20,000 honorarium. An award is given in each of the following eight categories: Atomic, Molecular, and Chemical Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Computer, Information, and Knowledge Sciences, Condensed Matter and Materials Sciences, Energy Science and Innovation, Fusion and Plasma Sciences, High Energy Physics, National Security and Nonproliferation, and Nuclear Physics.
 
Enrico Fermi Award
The Enrico Fermi Award is one of the longest running and most prestigious science and technology awards given by the US Government. The award recognizes outstanding contributions and achievements that are particularly distinguished and demonstrate scientific, technical, management or policy leadership that are related to all basic and applied research, science, and technology supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Award consists of a citation signed by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal, and a $50,000 honorarium. Nominations are open until June 15th.

National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Nominations are currently being accepted for the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The National Medal of Science is awarded by the President to individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding cumulative contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or behavioral or social sciences, in service to the nation. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is awarded to individuals, teams, companies, or divisions of companies for contributions to America's economic, environmental, and social well-being.

Nominations for the National Medal of Science are due on April 27, 2015. More information on the nomination process is available here. Nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation must be received by June 1, 2015. More information is available here.

Research Articles
Nominate a White House Champion of Change for Precision Medicine
After 2-year battle, House passes COMPETES Act on mostly party-line vote
New White House pollinator plan gives big buzz to science
Senate subcommittee moves to pull U.S. out of ITER fusion project
Pentagon to analyze grants making process for gender bias
Navy needs help making sure its drones are hack proof
National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine Announce Initiative on Human Gene Editing
NASA Invites Universities to Submit Innovative Early-Stage Technology Proposals
As they slice NSF's budget, House Republicans seek to expose research misconduct
McConnell teams with Dem to press HHS for opioid action
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If you have any comments or would like to be added to the DC Research Weekly Report, contact Kristina Ko (kdko@umich.edu).