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Washington Update
Week of April 11 - 15
Senate Continues Consideration of FAA Reauthorization
 
This week, the Senate continued consideration of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. The Senate was unable to reach an agreement and the main sticking point was the inclusion of certain tax extenders in the bill. The Senate will resume consideration of the bill on Monday, April 18.

The FAA Reauthorization includes language (section 2155) that was offered as an amendment by Senator Peters (D-MI) during the Senate Committee markup. Senator Peters' provision is a modified version of S.2626, the Higher Education UAS Modernization Act. The provision puts the FAA on a timeline for establishing a process to expedite and make more flexible the safe operation of UAS by institutions of higher education for educational or research purposes. If the FAA is unable to establish this process within 270 days, an institution of higher education can immediately begin operating small UAS at model aircraft fields approved by the Academy of Model Aeronautics or seek approval from the FAA to utilize an alternative designated outdoor flight field.

House and Senate Committee Action on FY2017 Energy-Water Appropriations Bill
 
This week, the House Appropriations Committee, Energy-Water Subcommittee approved its FY2017 Energy-Water Appropriations bill. The bill would provide $5.4B for the Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Science. This is an increase of $53M (1%) above the FY2016 enacted level of $5.35B. The President's Budget requested $5.67B (through a proposed combination of mandatory and discretionary spending) for the Office of Science. The bill would provide $305.8M for ARPA-E, an increase of $14.8M (5.1%) above the FY2016 enacted level of $291M. The President's Budget requested $500M for ARPA-E through a combination of mandatory and discretionary spending. The full House Appropriations Committee will markup the bill on Tuesday, April 19.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2017 Energy-Water Appropriations bill. The Energy-Water Subcommittee approved the bill on Wednesday, and the full Committee followed suit the next day. This bill would also provide $5.4B for the DoE Office of Science, an increase of $53M (1%) above the FY2016 enacted level. The bill would provide $292.7M for ARPA-E, an increase of $1.7M (0.6%) above the FY2016 level. The report of the bill is available here.

Rep. Bridenstine Releases American Space Renaissance Act, Welcomes Feedback
 
This week, Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) introduced legislation known as the American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA). The bill will encompass military, civil and commercial space activities with the following objectives:
  • Project military strength and protect our space based capabilities
  • Provide certainty to encourage commercial space innovation, and
  • Promote stability, accountability, and mission clarity at NASA
Representative Bridenstine created a website dedicated to ASRA where interested parties can read the bill and a section-by-section analysis and also provide feedback on the legislation.
DoD Funding Opportunity Announcement for FY17 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative

The Department of Defense (DoD) released the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the FY17 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI). DoD’s MURI program supports basic research in science and engineering at U.S. institutions of higher education that is of potential interest to DoD. The program is administered by each of the DoD research offices, which include the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Army Research Office (ARO), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).
 
ONR is the lead administering agency but funding comes from each of the DoD research offices. Each DoD research office has its own priority topics it is seeking to fund proposals under. More information about the FY17 MURI FOA including which topics the DOD research offices are seeking proposals for can be found via the links below:
Applications are due November 15, 2016.

Panel Study of Income Dynamics on Display at Congressional Reception Highlighting Important NSF & NIH Research
Dr. Narayan Sastry, Research Professor at ISR



This week, U-M Research Professor Dr. Narayan Sastry presented some of the findings of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) at a poster exhibition on Capitol Hill. The event, organized by the Coalition to Promote Research and the Coalition for National Science Funding, highlighted research that has been tagged as "wasteful" either in reports published by members of Congress or in the media. The event allowed scientists to tell their own story of their research and share how their work benefits societal goals and public health.

While Dr. Sastry's research has not been singled out, data from the PSID was featured in a 2011 wastebook article by former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). U-M used PSID data for a study in understand how much housework single and married women undertake.

In attendance at the event was Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) who publishes an annual "Wastebook", which often targets federally funded research. For more information on the event, read the Huffington Post write-up here.


NSF Seeking Input in Candidate Search for Assistant Director for Three Directorates

Geosciences

NSF is initiating a national search for the NSF's Assistant Director for Geosciences and is seeking assistance in the identification of candidates.

The Assistant Director, GEO, leads a directorate comprised of four divisions: Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS), Earth Sciences (EAR), Ocean Sciences (OCE), and Polar Programs (PLR). Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, will head the search committee. NSF seeks your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the geosciences in the areas of research and education; experience developing and overseeing complex scientific facilities; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. Recommendations of individuals from any sector - academic, industry, or government - are welcome.

Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/GEO Search Committee via e-mail (geosrch@nsf.gov) or at the following address: NSF, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Please send any recommendations by May 20, 2016.

Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 
NSF is conducting a search for NSF Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and seeks your assistance in the identification of candidates. The Assistant Director, MPS, leads a directorate comprised of five divisions — Astronomical Sciences (AST), Chemistry (CHE), Materials Research (DMR), Mathematical Sciences (DMS), Physics (PHY) —and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA). Dr. Saul Perlmutter, Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Professor at the U. California, Berkeley, will head the search committee. NSF seeks your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the mathematical and physical sciences in the areas of research and education; experience developing and overseeing complex scientific facilities; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. Recommendations of individuals from any sector — academic, industry, or government — are welcome. Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/MPS Search Committee via e-mail (mpssrch@nsf.gov) or at the following address: NSF, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Please send your recommendations by May 13, 2016.

Engineering
 
NSF is initiating a search for Assistant Director for Engineering (ENG) and seeks your assistance identifying candidates. The Assistant Director, ENG, leads a directorate comprised of five divisions — Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET); Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI); Electrical, Communications, and Cyber Systems (ECCS); Engineering Education and Centers (EEC); and Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) — as well as the Office of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities (EFMA). Enclosed is an information sheet that summarizes the directorate's activities and the responsibilities of the position, together with the criteria that will be used in the search. Dr. C. Daniel Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering, will head the search committee. We seek your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the engineering disciplines in the areas of research, education, and innovation; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. Recommendations of individuals from any sector — academic, industry, or government — are welcome. Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/ENG Search Committee via e-mail (engsrch@nsf.gov) or at the following address: NSF, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Recommendations made by May 27, 2016 would be appreciated.

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.

Legislative Activities

The Senate will reconvene on Monday, April 18 and resume consideration of the FAA Reauthorization Act. The House of Representatives will reconvene on Monday, April 18

Committee Activities

Tuesday, April 19

House Committee on Appropriations
Full Committee Markup: FY 2017 Agriculture Bill, Energy and Water Bill, & Revised Report on the Interim Suballocation of Budget Allocations
10:30 a.m., 2359 Rayburn


Senate Appropriations Committee
Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Subcommittee Business Meeting: Markup Proposed CJS FY2017 Appropriations
2:30 p.m., 192 Dirksen

Wednesday, April 20

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Energy Subcommittee Hearing:
An Overview of Fusion Energy Science
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn

House Energy & Commerce Committee
Select Investigative Panel Hearing: The Pricing of Fetal Tissue
10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn

Senate Appropriations Committee
Defense Subcommittee Hearing: Review Proposed Budget Estimates & Justification for FY2017 for Defense Innovation and Research.
Nomination Announcements

Federal Advisory Committees:

HRSA Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as members of the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (Committee). The Committee provides advice, recommendations, and technical information about aspects of heritable disorders and newborn and childhood screening to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. HRSA is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to fill three positions on the Committee.

Nominations are due May 16. Further information here.

 
EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee & Science Advisory Board
 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations of scientific experts from a diverse range of disciplines to be considered for appointment to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and five SAB committees. Appointments are anticipated to be filled by the start of Fiscal Year 2017 (October 2016).
 
Nominations are due Friday, May 6. Further information here.
 
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.

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, November 4, 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.
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