Washington Update
Week of June 6 - 10
U-M Professor Jessy Grizzle Featured at National Robitics Initiative Event on Capitol Hill
U-M Professor Jessy Grizzle Posing for a Picture with House Science Committee Member Rep. Hultgren (R-IL)

On Thursday, U-M Professor Dr. Jessy Grizzle took part in a full day of events celebrating the fifth anniversary of the National Robotics Initiative (NRI). The NRI is a multi-agency effort to accelerate the development and use of robots that work beside or cooperatively with people. The series of events on the Hill highlighted some of the advances the NRI has stimulated and discussed the importance of U.S. leadership in robotics.

Dr. Grizzle began the day by meeting with some of the offices within the Michigan delegation. Afterwards, there was a lunch briefing and exhibition featuring some of the NRI grant recipients. On display at the exhibition was the collaborative effort between U-M, Georgia Tech and Carnegie Mellon. The team focuses on bipedal and wearable robots that can be used as lower limb prosthetics. The U-M team was interviewed on PBS News Hour, which can be viewed here (starting ~ 1:45).

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill

On Thursday, June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2017 Labor-HHS-Eduation (L-HHS-E) Appropriations bill by a vote of 29 to 1. The Senate bill would fund NIH at $34.1 billion, a $2 billion, or 6.2 percent, increase above the FY16 enacted level. The legislation also added funding that would be targeted to such areas as Alzheimer's disease research, the Precision Medicine Initiative, the BRAIN Initiative, and antibiotic resistant bacteria research. The bill also recommends $261 million, a $126 million or 93 percent increase above FY2016, for programs targeted at fighting opioid abuse.

L-HHS-E Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) said: “First, the bill provides a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health for research efforts that give hope to families battling life-threatening diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, and to help more Americans live longer, healthier lives."

Further details of the bill are below, from the Appropriations Committee's website:

NIH Highlights:
•    $300 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, an increase of $100 million;
•    $1.39 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, an increase of $400 million;
•    $250 million, an increase of $100 million, for the BRAIN Initiative to map the human brain;
•    $333.4 million, an increase of $12.5 million, for the Institutional Development Award;
•    $463 million, an increase of $50 million, to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria;
•    $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act;
•    Increases to every Institute and Center to continue investments in innovative research that will advance fundamental knowledge and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and preventive measures to improve the health of all Americans.

Senate Considers National Defense Authorization Act

This week, the Senate began consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 2943). Of note, on June 7, the Senate approved an amendment offered by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to protect medical research supported by the Department of Defense (DOD). The vote was 66 to 32. The amendment stripped language from the bill that would have limited congressionally directed medical research funded by DOD to those areas the Secretary of Defense determined were directly relevant to the military.

Earlier this morning, the Senate voted to end debate on the NDAA and set up a final vote, which will likely be next week. Consideration of amendments to the measure remain stalled due to objections from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who has blocked unanimous consent agreements because the Senate hasn't taken up his own amendment.

NIH Invites Input on National Institute of Mental Health Director Selection

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is in the process of selecting the next Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). On May 20, NIMH issued a request for information (RFI), "NIMH Request for Brief Perspectives on the State of Mental Illness Research" (NOT-MH-16-015), which calls for input from the extramural scientific community in developing "briefing materials that represent the full diversity of perspectives on mental illness research in preparation for the next NIMH director."

NIMH is soliciting comments on topics such as, but not limited to: basic neuroscience, translational, intervention, clinical, and services research; Research Domain criteria initiative (RDoc), global mental health, diversity and training of the workforce; advocacy and outreach efforts; and translational biomarkers. Electronic comments are due June 30, 2016 and can be submitted here.

Legislative Activities
Both the House and Senate will reconvene on Monday, June 13. The Senate will consider the FY2017 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill.
Committee Hearings

Tuesday, June 14

House Energy and Commerce Committee
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing: Combatting Superbugs: U.S. Public Health Responses to Antibiotic Resistance
10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn

Wednesday, June 15

Committee on Science Space and Technology
Energy Subcommittee Hearing: Innovation in Solar Fuels, Electricity Storage, and Advanced Materials
10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn

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.
Nomination Announcements

Federal Advisory Committees:
HHS Advisory Committee on Minority Health
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Minority Health (OMH), is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health. The Committee provides advice to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on improving the health of racial and ethnic minority groups, and on the development of goals and specific program activities of OMH designed to improve the health status and outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities.
Further information is available here. Nominations are due September 8.
NSF Advisory Committee Openings
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting nominations for positions available on its scientific and technical federal advisory committees. There are 13 advisory committees accepting nominations including:
  • Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences
  • Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure
  • Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources
  • Advisory Committee for Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Geosciences
  • Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
  • Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering
  • Advisory Committee for Business and Operations
  • Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee
The federal register notice, with details on how to submit names, is available here. Nominations for membership are maintained for one year.
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.

The deadline for receipt of all application materials (for consideration for term beginning July 1, 2017) is June 30, 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 revelations of undergraduate research
New chair of science board helps make NSF’s case to U.S. Congress
European research universities form a new lobby organization—but did they need it?
Op Ed: Federal Funding Drives U.S. Innovation
CDC director: Funding delay hurts fight against Zika
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