Washington Update
Week of January 11 - 15
Office of Research


Senate HELP Committee Chairman Announces Schedule for Consideration of Biomedical Innovation Bills

Earlier this week, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced the HELP Committee will hold three executive sessions to consider bills on biomedical innovation, the first will be held on Tuesday, February 9. During the February 9 meeting, the HELP Committee will consider at least the following seven bipartisan pieces of legislation:
  • HELP Committee legislation to improve electronic health records.
  • The FDA Device Accountability Act of 2015 (S.1622)
  • The Advancing Targeted Therapies for Rare Diseases Act of 2015 (S.2030)
  • The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act of 2015 (S.849)
  • The Next Generation Researchers Act (S.2014)
  • The Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act (S. 800)
  • Legislation regarding FDA regulation of duodenoscopes.
The remaining sessions will be held March 9 and April 6. The March 9 session will consider bipartisan legislation to modernize the FDA and the NIH and provide congressional support for the president’s Precision Medicine Initiative. Further details can be found here.

As you may recall, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R.6) in July, with 344 votes. This legislation would authorize a mandatory $10 billion increase in NIH funding over five years, among other provisions. A two-page summary is available here.

U-M Leads Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences

This week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine hosted a meeting of the Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences in Washington, D.C. The Roundtable is chaired by U-M Professor Arthur Lupia. David Lam, Director of the Institute for Social Research, is also on the Roundtable.

The mission of this Roundtable is to support the communication and use of reliable and relevant scientific research for decision-making. Further information on the Roundtable is available here. If you are interested in notes from the meeting, please e-mail Madeline in the D.C. office.

 AAAS Workshop: Accepting Participation from Societies and Universities

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is accepting applications to participate in the Catalyzing Advocacy for Science and Engineering (CASE) program. The program is open to universities or professional societies that would like to provide an opportunity for upper-class undergraduate and graduate students in STEM disciplines to come to Washington, D.C. to learn about science policy and advocacy. 

Sponsoring institutions may send up to two students and are responsible for a $125 registration fee per student, as well as all associated travel and lodging costs. Further information is available here. If you would like to sponsor students from your institution, please send an email to with the subject line: CASE Sponsoring Institution.  The deadline to sponsor a student is February 12, 2016. If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to reach out to may be directed to Joanne Carney of AAAS.

Legislative Activities

The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, January 26 and consider The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S.2012). Importantly, this legislation includes a section (Sec. 4201), which reauthorizes the Office of Science programs and ARPA-E at the Department of Energy (the energy portion of the America COMPETES Authorization). This legislation, which has been widely endorsed by the higher education and scientific society community, would authorize a four percent annual increase for the Office of Science and ARPA-E, for a total increase of about 22% over five years.
Agency Advisory Committee Meetings of Interest
We recently 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. 
HHS: Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services Meeting
The Advisory Council provides advice on how to prevent or reduce the burden of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias on people with the disease and their caregivers. During the meeting, the Advisory Council will review the process for developing recommendations and developing the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.
The meeting will be held Jan. 25 in Bethesda, MD.

NOAA: Science Advisory Board (SAB)
The meeting will include the following topics: (1) Report from the Environmental Information Services Working Group on a Review of the NOAA Partnership Policy; (2) Discussion of Ways to Optimize SAB and Working Group Operations and Working Group staff support from the Line Offices and (3) Continued Discussion of Strategic Advice to NOAA and Impact on SAB Operations.
The meeting will be held Jan. 28 in Silver Springs, MD.

NIST: Genome in a Bottle Consortium-Progress and Planning Workshop
The Genome in a Bottle Consortium is developing the reference materials, reference methods, and reference data needed to assess confidence in human whole genome variant calls. A principal motivation for this consortium is to enable performance assessment of sequencing and science-based regulatory oversight of clinical sequencing.
The meeting will be held Jan. 28 and 29 in Palo Alto, CA.
Nomination Announcements

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.

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.
Fellowship/Internship Announcements

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting applications for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The SURF Program provides research opportunities for students to work with NIST scientists and engineers in their Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO laboratories. The program runs mid-May through the end of July (Boulder) or beginning of August (Gaithersburg).

Application deadline: Friday, February 12, 2016. Further information is available 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.

OSTP Summer Policy Internship

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is accepting applications for their summer internship program. OSTP interns have the opportunity to work closely with senior White House officials and science and technology policy analysts in OSTP's topic-based divisions.

Application deadline: Friday, February 26 at 11:59 EST. Further information is available here.
News Articles
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Obama administration ready to put $4B toward self-driving cars
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