Washington Update
Week of November 30 - December 4
Office of Research

Appropriations Update
Congress has until Friday, December 11 to pass a spending package to avoid a government shutdown. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which was signed into law in October, will allow for increased investment in discretionary programs. Appropriators are continuing to negotiate an omnibus spending deal. This week, House Democratic leadership rejected the initial offer from Republicans, citing riders that they found unacceptable. It is rumored Appropriators will release a deal on December 7.
President Obama Signs National Defense Authorization Legislation into Law

On November 25, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016 (S.1356) into law. President Obama had previously vetoed an earlier version of this legislation because it "failed to authorize funding for our national defense in a fiscally responsible manner". President Obama disapproved of funding an overseas military account in excess of the current spending caps for defense. Of note, this legislation authorizes funding for defense-wide basic research at 4.3% below FY2015 enacted levels. However, we are still waiting on a final defense funding bill for FY2016, where the final decisions will be made. 

Congressional Republicans Urge House Leaders for $3 Billion Increase in NIH Funding

Recently, Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS) circulated a Dear Colleague letter from GOP Representatives urging House leadership to include at least $3 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health, bringing the total funding to $33.084 billion in FY2016. The following GOP Representatives from Michigan signed onto the letter: Rep. Upton, Rep. Benishek, Rep. Bishop, Rep. Huizenga, Rep. Trott and Rep. Walberg.

Committee Activities

Tuesday, December 8

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness Hearing: Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate
3:00 p.m., 253 Russell

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing: The Future of Biotechnology: Solutions for Energy Agriculture and Manufacturing
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn

Thursday, December 10

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Oversight Hearing: An Overview of the Nation’s Weather Satellite Programs and Policies
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn
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.

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
Fellowship Announcements

American Institute of Physics Congressional Fellowship Program

Qualified scientists at any age of their career are encouraged to apply for the American Institute of Physics Congressional Fellowship Program. Applicants must have a PH.D. in physics or a closely related field. AIP Fellows have the opportunity to work at the US State Department or in Congress for one year beginning in the fall of 2016.

Application deadline: Friday, January 15. Further information is available here and here.

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.
News Articles
Stat check: Is 98% of research in humanities and 75% in social science never cited again?
The annual congressional waste-watching ritual gets a new twist
Top lawmaker backpedals in climate feud, taking federal scientists’ emails off the table for now
Four tough things columnists should do before writing about universities
Ohio Thinks Big to Help Researchers Commercialize New Technology
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