Washington Update
Week of June 20 - 24
Senator Peters and Others Introduce American Innovation and Competitiveness Act
On Wednesday, Senator Peters (D-MI) along with Senators Thune (R-SD), Gardner (R-CO) and Nelson (D-FL) introduced the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S.3084). This legislation is a result of nearly a year-long effort of the Senate Commerce Committee’s innovation and competitiveness working group on federal science and technology research policies. This legislation is the primary bill for setting policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as setting some broader R&D and STEM education policy.

The working group was co-chaired by Senators Peters and Gardner. The working group held three closed-door roundtable discussions in Washington, D.C. in which three U-M faculty participated: Alec Gallimore, Stephen Forrest, and Alan Taub. The Committee then held a hearing last month, where Dr. David Munson, Dean of the College of Engineering, provided testimony. The Committee released a draft of the legislation last month and solicited feedback from a subset of the higher education community. U-M provided feedback, nearly all of which was incorporated into the final legislation.

Vice President for Research Jack Hu stated: "This bill reaffirms our nation's commitment to the federal investment in basic research that has led to the stunning array of advances that underlie our economic health, competitiveness, and quality of life. At the same time, it takes steps to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of research by reducing administrative burdens, and to speed the transfer of results to industry and the marketplace."

The bill does not include authorized funding levels for NSF and NIST. However, an amendment is expected to be filed later today, which will authorize funding for the two agencies for two years. For FY2017, the amendment would authorize $7.5 billion for NSF. This is the same level of funding included in the Senate’s FY2017 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill. For FY2018, the amendment would authorize a four percent increase in funding for NSF. A markup of the legislation is scheduled for Wednesday.

President Obama Announces New Manufacturing Hub Competitions

This week, President Obama announced that his administration is launching five new manufacturing hub competitions, which will invest nearly $800 million through a combination of federal and non-federal resources to support transformative manufacturing technologies. With this week's announcement,  new competitions underway, the Administration is on track to meet the President’s goal of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) of 15 institutes across the country before the end of his Administration.

The newly announced manufacturing innovation institute topics now under competition include:

  • Robotics in Manufacturing Environments Manufacturing Innovation Institute.                              
  • Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Innovation Institute.     
  • Modular Chemical Process Intensification (MCPI) Institute.              
  • Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) in Materials Manufacturing Institute.     
  • Industry-proposed Institutes Competition.                 

To learn more about the open competitions for these next manufacturing innovation institutes, please visit

NIH Releases Final Policy on Use of Single IRBs

On June 21, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published its final NIH Policy on the Use of a Single Institutional Review Board for Multi-Site Research. The agency has been signaling this policy change since December 2015. The policy is intended to streamline the Institutional Review Board (IRB) review process and will take effect May 25, 2017.

The policy "establishes the expectation that all sites participating in multi-site studies involving non-exempt human subjects research funded by NIH will use a single IRB to conduct the ethical review required by the Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects..."

NIH has prepared resources to assist with the implementation of the policy. A set of FAQs, as well as guidance on scenarios illustrating the use of direct and indirect costs for single IRB review under the policy, are now available on the NIH Office of Science Policy website.

NIH Welcomes Young Scientists to Year-long Medical Research Scholars Program

On June 22, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its selection of 52 innovative, research-oriented students for the 2016-2017 Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). The MRSP is a year-long residential program that introduces medical, dental and veterinary students to cutting-edge research, and is part of NIH's goal of training the next generation of clinician-scientists and biomedical researchers. The program places students in NIH laboratories and patient care areas, including the NIH Clinical Center, to conduct basic, translational, or clinical research in areas that match their career interests and research goals. John Le of the the U-M School of Dentistry was selected to participate in this program.

Legislative Activities
The Senate will reconvene on Monday, June 27. The House is in recess next week and will reconvene on Tuesday, July 5.
Committee Hearings

Wednesday, June 29

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Full Committee Executive Session: American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, Kelsey Smith Act, and Other Items
10:00 a.m., 253 Russell

ARPA-E Program Director Positions Available

ARPA-E is hiring Program Directors. The ideal candidates would have visionary ideas on promising areas for new energy technologies. Program Directors are responsible for program creation, design, implementation, and management.

Job opportunity details:

  • Initial term of hire is three years.
  • ARPA-E will consider hiring individuals from universities and other nonprofit organizations via an IPA.
  • US Citizenship is required.

Required qualifications:

  • Doctorate degree in an energy-relevant field of science or engineering, earned by original work.
  • Strong vision for specific program areas that are ripe for ARPA-E investment – those likely to develop transformational energy technologies.
  • Minimum of six to eight years of relevant energy-related experience in academia, industry, and/or technology investment.
  • Strong background in both program management and technology transfer.
  • Deep technical and industry knowledge.
  • Familiarity in at least one specific area of energy technology, along with a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on energy-related issues.

Especially relevant backgrounds include:

  • Electrochemical energy storage and conversion
  • Photovoltaic energy conversion
  • Advanced engines/vehicle technologies
  • Chemical catalysis/reaction engineering for biofuels, industrial processes, and other energy applications
  • Biological approaches to energy conversion/biofuels
  • Low temperature waste heat recapture/thermodynamic and/or solid state cycles
  • Fossil energy conversion/carbon capture and conversion
  • Wind power/ocean and wave power/aerodynamics and fluid dynamics
  • Grid scale energy storage
  • Energy harvesting materials and devices
  • Building efficiency technologies/HVAC/building envelope/smart buildings
  • Advanced lighting technologies
  • Advanced materials for energy applications
Further information is available here.
Nomination Announcements

Federal Advisory Committees:

Census Scientific Advisory Committee

The Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) is requesting nominations of individuals and organizations to the Census Scientific Advisory Committee. The Committee advises the Director of the Census Bureau on the uses of scientific developments in statistical data collection, statistical analysis, survey methodology, geospatial analysis, econometrics, cognitive psychology, and computer science as they pertain to the full range of Census Bureau programs and activities. The Committee also provides scientific and technical expertise from the following disciplines: Demography, economics, geography, psychology, statistics, survey methodology, social and behavioral sciences, Information Technology and computing, marketing, communications, and other fields of expertise, as appropriate, to address Census Bureau program needs and objectives
Further information is available here. Nominations are due July 15.
National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations
The Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) is requesting nominations of individuals and organizations to the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. The Committee provides insight, perspectives, expertise and advice to the Director of the Census Bureau on the full spectrum of Census surveys and programs. The Committee assists the Census Bureau in developing appropriate research/methodological, operational, and communication strategies to reduce program/survey costs, improve coverage and operational efficiency, improve the quality of data collected, protect the public's and business units' privacy and enhance public participation and awareness of Census programs and surveys, and make data products more useful and accessible.
Further information is available here. Nominations are due July 15.

HHS Advisory Committee on Minority Health
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Minority Health (OMH), is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health. The Committee provides advice to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on improving the health of racial and ethnic minority groups, and on the development of goals and specific program activities of OMH designed to improve the health status and outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities.
Further information is available here. Nominations are due September 8.
NSF Advisory Committee Openings
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting nominations for positions available on its scientific and technical federal advisory committees. There are 13 advisory committees accepting nominations including:
  • Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences
  • Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure
  • Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources
  • Advisory Committee for Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Geosciences
  • Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
  • Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Business and Operations
  • Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee
The federal register notice, with details on how to submit names, is available here. Nominations for membership are maintained for one year.
CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are accepting nominations for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP consists of 15 experts in fields associated with immunization who provide advice and guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the CDC on the control of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The deadline for receipt of all application materials (for consideration for term beginning July 1, 2017) is June 30, 2016. Further information is available here.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Federal Advisory Committees

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting nominations for appointment to eight existing Federal Advisory Committees:
  • Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
  • Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
  • Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board
  • National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee
  • Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction
  • NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee
  • Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology
Nominations will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Further information is available here.
Council on Graduate Medical Education

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accpeting nominations to fill vacancies on the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME). The COGME provides advice and recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services and members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on matters related to: supply of physicians in the U.S., physician workforce trends, training issues, and financing policies.

The agency will receive nominations on a continuous basis. Further information is available here.
News Articles
Education for a jobless future: Are colleges preparing students for the workforce?
Zika Deal in Congress Likely to Be Delayed Until After Recess
Senators introduce bipartisan bill to support U.S. research and education
Opening the Sky for Drones: FAA Issues Drone Rules for Commercial Flights
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