Washington Update
Week of November 16 - 20
Office of Research

Appropriations Update
Congress has until December 11 to pass a spending package to avoid a government shutdown. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which was signed into law earlier this month, will allow for increased investment in discretionary programs. It is not yet known how much additional funding each Appropriations Subcommittee has been allotted because of the budget deal, or which programs within each Appropriations bill will see an increase in funding. The University of Michigan, as a part of several different coalitions and associations, has urged Congress to make research and education programs a top priority as Congress works out a final FY2016 appropriations measure. 

The Appropriations Subcommittees have been tasked with providing their finalized respective bills to the full Committee by today. Whether or not each Subcommittee will make that deadline is unknown. The Appropriations Committee hopes to have an omnibus package put together by December 1, which will give them time to work out any major issues and pass the measure through both chambers by the December 11 deadline.

NIH Announces Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program Funding Opportunities Available

This week, NIH Director Dr. Collins announced funding opportunities available as part of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program. The Cohort Program will engage more than one million Americans who volunteer to contribute their health data to this effort. The funding opportunities are available here. In addition, there is a vacancy for permanent director of the PMI Cohort Program.

Dr. Collins also announced that the NIH has put together a PMI Cohort Program Advisory Panel. The panel will provide "on-going guidance and oversight of the cohort, while contributing significantly to the evolution of the program’s vision, scientific and clinical goals, and operations." Dr. Sachin Kheterpal, an Associate Professor at the U-M Medical School is on the advisory panel.

NSF: Universities Report Continuing Decline in Federal R&D Funding in FY 2014

Earlier this week, NSF released a report showing that federal funding of higher education research and development has failed to outpace inflation for the third straight year. Adjusted for inflation, federal investment in research and development has fallen 11% since FY2011, when it peaked. Since the beginning of annually collected data in FY1972, this has been the longest multi-year decline in federal funding. 
ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit
The 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit will be held February 29th through March 2nd of 2016. The summit brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to discuss America's energy challenges and innovative ways to solve our current energy problems. This conference and technology showcase is valuable for current and prospective ARPA-E recipients, and is a great opportunity to network with program managers from the various research agencies (not just at the Department of Energy). To register to attend, please click here.

Graduate students are particularly encouraged to attend the Student Program. The Student Program is an opportunity for student energy leaders to interact with companies who are hiring new talent and other corporate recruiters. Applications to participate in the student program are due December 4, 2015 and can be completed here.

Legislative Activities

Next week, the House and Senate are both in recess for Thanksgiving.
Nomination Announcements

Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is seeking nominations for membership on the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science. The twenty-five member board provides advice on matters and actions relating to the operations of the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the DOI Climate Science Centers.

Nomination deadline: Friday, January 16, 2016. Further information is available here

NASA Advisory Council Science Committee

NASA is seeking nominations for service on the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Science Committee subcommittees. Five science subcommittees report to the Science Committee of the NAC. 

Nomination deadline: Monday, November 23. Further information is available here

Fellowship Announcements

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship Program

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, potentially transformative, and scalable models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that ensure that graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers. The NRT program includes two tracks: the Traineeship Track and the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Track.

Letters of intent are due by close of business on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. The full proposal deadline is February 9, 2016. Further information is available here.

Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellowship

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) is accepting applications for two types of policy fellowships: Congressional and Executive Branch. The fellowships are geared for individuals with a doctorate from any discipline relevant to child development. Early and mid-career professionals are encouraged to apply.

Application deadline: Tuesday, December 15. For more information, please click here.
Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Science Internships
The DoE Office of Science and the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists are accepting applications for the 2016 Sumer Term Internship/Fellowship Programs. There are two programs accepting applications:
  • The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue STEM careers by providing research experiences, under the guidance of laboratory/facility staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the DOE mission.  More information and the online application is available here
  • The Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) seeks to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce vital to the DOE mission areas. In this program, selected university/college faculty members collaborate with DOE laboratory research staff on a research project of mutual interest. Faculty member participants may invite up to two students (one of which may be a graduate student) to participate in the research project. More information and the online application is available here.
Application deadline for both programs: 5:00 PM EST on Friday, January 8, 2016.
Job Opportunities Available
Chief of Staff, Office of the Director, National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is hiring for a full-time Chief of Staff for the Office of the Director to support the mission and work of NSF Director France Córdova. Applications will be accepted through Monday, November 23. For further information and to apply, please click here.
News Articles
The Reality of the Philosophers vs. Welders Debate
The high cost of not investing in U.S. colleges
NIH to end all support for chimpanzee research
What Science Is -- and How and Why It Works
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