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Washington Update

Week of March 7 - 11

Senators Peters (D-MI) & Moran (R-KS) Introduce Legislation to Support the Use of UAS for Research & Education
Senator Peters learns about U-M's use of drones on a visit to campus last year // Photo Credit: Kristina Ko


On March 3, Senator Peters and Senator Moran introduced the Higher Education Unmanned Aircraft Systems Modernization Act (S.2626). This legislation, which U-M worked closely with Sen. Peters in developing, would support the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), by higher education institutions for research and educational purposes and workforce development.

In the press release announcing the legislation, Senator Peters stated: “Unmanned aircraft are expected to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry over the next few years, but colleges and universities are training the next generation of unmanned aircraft operators and engineers today. I’m proud to introduce this legislation that will help reduce burdensome regulations that stifle innovation and restrict the educational use of drones. By making it easier for students and educators to use unmanned aircraft for research, we will be able to advance new technological applications, develop our workforce and grow our economy.”

U-M's Vice President for Research, Jack Hu, was also quoted saying: “We applaud Senator Peters and Senator Moran for introducing legislation that provides relief to higher education institutions, like the University of Michigan, so that we are able to successfully educate future leaders and innovators like Michigan's own Ed Lesher, one of the nation's most prominent aircraft designers,” said Jack Hu, Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan. “The use of unmanned aerial systems across our institution spans multiple schools and colleges and has broad implications that impact the safety of those in Michigan, across the nation, and feeds the nation's innovation pipeline.” 

This legislation would allow students and educators at colleges and universities to operate unmanned aircraft without requiring specific approval from the FAA by meeting the following requirements:

  • The institution of higher education adopts a UAS policy and designates a UAS point of contact that is charged with reviewing and approving all educational and research UAS flights.
  • Any educational and research UAS flight must be under the supervision of an experienced “operator in command” who will ensure safety.
  • Educational and research UAS flights are restricted to 400 feet above ground; cannot cause hazard or harm to persons or property; must be identifiable; cannot survey or create a nuisance on private property; must give right of way to full scale aircraft; and must operate above sites that are sufficiently far from populated areas.
  • If the UAS is involved in an accident causing injury to a person or property, such accident must be reported to the FAA within 10 days.
  • If the UAS is to be flown within 5 miles of a major airport or within 2 miles of any other airport or heliport, the UAS operator in command must first obtain permission from Air Traffic Control or, in the case of a small airport or heliport, the airport manager.
This legislation is also endorsed by the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Council on Government Relations (COGR), as well as almost 20 other individual universities.
IARPA Announces Funding Opportunity for Research on Crowdsourced Reasoning
 
This week, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) announced a new funding opportunity for research on crowdsourced reasoning. CREATE (Crowdsourcing Evidence, Argumentation, Thinking and Evaluation) is soliciting proposals from interdisciplinary research teams.

The basic idea is to extend crowdsourcing beyond its traditional applications. Whereas Wikipedia and prediction markets use the power of crowds to consolidate information and produce forecasts, CREATE will link crowdsourcing to structured techniques in order to improve reasoning about complex analytic issues. The resulting methods are expected to have value not just for intelligence analysis but also for science, law, and policy--in fact, any domain where people must think their way through complex questions.

CREATE is a multi-year research program, and IARPA anticipates multiple awards. Proposals are due April 18, 2016. The announcement is at FedBizOpps, and additional information is available on the IARPA website.

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 and House of Representatives are both in session next week (March 14 - 17). Both chambers will reconvene on Monday, March 14.

Committee Activities

Tuesday, March 15

House Committee on Appropriations
Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee Hearing: FY2017 NASA Budget
10:30 a.m., H-309 The Capitol

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Full Committee Hearing: Hands-off: The Future of Self-Driving Cars
2:30 p.m., 253 Russell

Wednesday, March 16

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Subcommittee on the Interior & Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Hearing: Examining the Renewable Fuel Standard
**U-M Professor John DeCicco Testifying**
2:00 p.m., 2154 Rayburn

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Full Committee Markup: S.2658 - FAA Reauthorization for FY16 & FY17, S.2644 FCC Reauthorization for FY17 & FY18
10:00 a.m., 253 Russell


House Committee on Appropriations
Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Hearing: FY2017 NIH Budget
Witness: Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director
10:00 a.m., 2358 Rayburn

House Committee on Appropriations
Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee Hearing: Budget Hearing - NSF
Witness: Dr. France Cordova, NSF Director
10:30 a.m., H-309 The Capitol

House Science, Space and Technology Committee
Research and Technology Subcommittee Hearing: An Overview of the Budget Proposal for NIST for FY2017
Witness: Dr. Willie May, NIST Director
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn


House Science, Space and Technology Committee
Environment Subcommittee Hearing: FY2017 Proposed Budget for NOAA
Witness: Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Director
2:00 p.m, 2318 Rayburn

House Committee on Appropriations
Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA Subcommittee Hearing: Budget Hearing - Dept. of Agriculture, Research, Education and Economics
10:00 a.m., 2362-A Rayburn

Thursday, March 17

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing: Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, MI, Part III
9:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn

House Science, Space and Technology Committee
Space Subcommittee Hearing: An Overview of the Budget Proposal for NASA for FY2017
Witness: Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn


 
Agency Advisory Committee Meetings of Interest
 
This year, we introduced a new section -- Agency Advisory Committee Meetings of Interest. This section will include public agency meetings which may be relevant to your work. If a meeting is of interest, and happening in the Washington, D.C. area, please contact Madeline in our Washington, D.C. office, and she may be able to attend on your behalf.

NASA: Advisory Council; Science Committee; Astrophysics Subcommittee Meeting
NASA will convene a public meeting of the Astrophysics Subcommittee to solicit technical information relevant to program planning.
The agenda for the meeting includes the following topics:
-- Astrophysics Division Update, including Budget Updates from the FY16 Appropriation & FY17 President's Budget Request
-- Updates on Specific Astrophysics Missions
-- Reports from the Program Analysis Groups
-- Report on NASA Earth and Space Science Fellows Program
The meeting will be held March 15-16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST both days at the NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. There is also a webcast and call-in option.

DOE/NSF: Nuclear Science Advisory Committee
The DoE/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee will meet to discuss:
  • Perspectives from Department of Energy and National Science Foundation
  • Update from the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation's Nuclear Physics Office
  • Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Overview
  • Status of the Canadian Long Range Plan for Subatomic PhysicsShow citation box
  • Update from the NUPECC Chair
The meeting will be held Wednesday, March 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Bethesda, MD.

President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Committee Meeting
During this open meeting, PCAST is scheduled to have presenters brief on the topic of One Health. They will also hear from speakers who will remark on National Science Foundation Science and Engineering Indicators and who will discuss cancer research frontiers.
The meeting will be held on March 25 from 9 a.m. until noon in Washington, D.C. A live and archived video of the meeting will also be available.

CDC Office of Infectious Diseases: Board of Scientific Counselors
The Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) will meet to discuss: administrative/budget issues, current emerging infectious disease outbreak responses, and reports from recent program meetings.
The meeting will be held Monday, March 28 from 2 - 4 p.m. via teleconference.
Nomination Announcements

Fellowships:
 
ARPA-E Spring 2016 Fellowship

ARPA-E is looking for the next generation of scientific leaders to help solve the most pressing and exciting challenges in energy. The Fellows assist the agency in identifying possible breakthrough energy technologies through technical and economic analyses. During their two-year tenure, ARPA-E Fellows influence the direction of American energy innovation, engaging with world-class researchers in academia and industry, entrepreneurs, and government officials. Prior experience in energy and/or commercialization is not necessary.

Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. in science or engineering. Students who expect to complete their Ph.D. within the next year are also encouraged to apply.
  • Strong analytical, research, and communication skills.
  • Ability to initiate independent projects and work across disciplines.
  • Passion to change the world through energy technology research and development.
  • U.S. citizenship.
Further information is available here. Applications accepted through April 15, 2015.
 

Awards:

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

The Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is accepting nominations for the 2016 National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The medal, presented each year by the President, is the country's highest award for technological achievement. The medal can be awarded to individuals, teams (up to four individuals), companies or divisions of companies to recognize their outstanding contributions to the U.S. economic, environmental, and social well-being.

Nominations are due by midnight (EST) on April 1, 2016. Further information is available here.

Federal Advisory Committees:

EPA National Environmental Education Advisory Council

 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting applications for environmental education professionals for consideration to serve on the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). There are nine vacancies on the Advisory Council that must be filled.

Nominations will be accepted until April 15. Further information here.

FEMA National Advisory Council
 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is requesting nominations for the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC). NAC advises the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management.

Nominations will be accepted until March 16. Further information is available here.

World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee

The CDC is soliciting nominations for membership on the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). At this time the Administrator is seeking nominations for members fulfilling the following categories:
  • Environmental medicine or environmental health specialist
  • Occupational physician;
  • Pulmonary physician;
  • Representative of WTC responders;
  • Representative of certified-eligible WTC survivors.
Nominations will be accepted until March 31. Further information is available here.
 
Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response: Board of Scientific Counselors

The CDC is soliciting nominations for the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR): Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC). The BSC, OPHPR consists of 11 experts in the fields associated with public health preparedness and response. This board provides advice and guidance to the Secretary of HHS, the Director of the CDC, and the Director of OPHPR, concerning strategies and goals for the programs within the divisions; conducts peer-review of scientific programs; and monitors the overall strategic direction and focus of the divisions.
 
Nominations will be accepted until April 15. Further information is available here.
 
HHS Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections
 
The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), a program office in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is seeking four nominations for appointment to the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP). SACHRP provides advice and recommendations on issues pertaining to the continuance and improvement of functions within the authority of HHS directed toward protections for human subjects in research.

Nominations will be accepted until Monday, March 21. Further information is available 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.
News Articles
The Subtle Ways Gender Gaps Persist in Science
 
Senate unveils FAA reauthorization plan
NIH fight threatens medical reforms
 
White House to convene Zika summit next month
 
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If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).