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D.C. Research Weekly Report


House Passes FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill
 
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill (HR 2578) by a vote of 242-183. The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other related agencies.

This legislation would increase funding for NSF by $50 billion above the FY 2015 funding level (FY 2016 would be $7.4 billion) but these funds would be solely directed to Research and Related Activities (R&RA). In addition,
report language for the bill directs NSF to "ensure that Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Computer and Information Science and Engineering; Engineering; and Biological Sciences comprise no less than 70 percent of the funding within R&RA." This language would exclude Geosciences and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences directorates by 16%, or $250 million, by some accounts.

The White House issued a
Statement of Administration Policy strongly opposing this legislation stating that, "If the President were presented with H.R. 2578, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill." 
 
House Appropriations Committee Marks Up FY 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill
 
The House Appropriations Committee on June 2 approved its version of the FY16 Defense appropriations bill by voice vote. The measure provides $578.7 billion for Defense, which is $24.4 billion above the FY15 level and $800 million above the President's FY16 request. Overall, the Research, Development, Test & Evaluation account is funded at $67.9 billion, which is $3.8 billion, or 6.1 percent, above FY15 funding. Within that total, funding for 6.1 basic research would be cut by $177 million, or 7.1 percent, while funding for 6.2 applied research and 6.3 advanced technology development would be increased by $190 million (4.1 percent) and $409 million (7.7 percent), respectively. (AAU)

The PATENT Act
The PATENT Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with only four Senators opposing the bill (Sens. Vitter, Cruz, Durbin and Coons).

This bill included an amendment made by Sen. Cornyn that would grant micro entity status (discounted USPTO fees) to universities and research foundations, which AAU and APLU and others in the community worked hard to get included. The manager's amendment also clarified that the burden is on the prevailing party to demonstrate that they are entitled to fee shifting (also a clarification supported by the community). 

Work on this bill will continue as the higher education community continues to engage sponsors to clarify additional provisions. For more information on this bill, please contact Mike Waring (mwaring@umich.edu).
 
Committee Activities
Tuesday, June 9
Senate Appropriations Committee
Defense Subcommittee 
Markup: FY2016 Defense Appropriations Act
10:30 a.m., 192 Dirksen
 
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Full Committee 
Hearing: Energy Accountability and Reform Legislation
Note: This includes S.1398, the Energy Title of America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015
9:30 a.m., 366 Dirksen
 
Wednesday, June 10
Senate Appropriations Committee
Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Subcommittee 
Markup: FY2016 CJS Appropriations Act
10:30 a.m., 192 Dirksen
 
Thursday, June 11
Senate Appropriations Committee
Full Committee 
Markup: FY2016 Defense Appropriations Act; FY2016 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Act
10:30 a.m., 106 Dirksen

 
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. 

Application deadline: July 15, 2015. 
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.

Application deadline: 60 days from May 7th. 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.

Application deadline: June 30, 2015, 5:00 PM.

 
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.
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