D.C. Research Weekly Report

America Competes Act Marked Up in House Science Committee
The America COMPETES Act, the reauthorization bill for NSF, NIST, and DoE research programs, passed on a party line vote (19 to 16) after a more than five-hour drafting session Wednesday in the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. The bill increases funding for the Biological Sciences (BIO), Engineering (ENG), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) directorates at the expense of other NSF accounts, including Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), which would receive a 45% cut. You can read about the bill here.

The bill’s next stop is the House floor. That date has not yet been set. There is no current Senate counterpart, although the chair of the equivalent Senate panel, Senator John Thune (R–SD), issued a joint statement with Chairman Smith saying he and Smith “share” the goal of getting Congress to pass legislation reauthorizing programs at those agencies. You can read their joint statement here.

House Appropriations Approves FY16 Energy and Water Bill
The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY16 Energy and Water Bill. The measure totals $35.4 billion, which is $1.2 billion above the FY15 enacted level but $633 million below the President's FY16 request. 

The bill would boost spending by 0.6% for DOE's basic research arm, the Office of Science, to $5.10 billion. It would maintain the current budget of $280 million for DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The President's budget requested a 5.3% increase for the Office of Science and a 16% hike for ARPA-E.

The largest discrepancy between the White House request and House Republican bill is for DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program. The House bill would cut its current budget by 13.8%, to $1.66 billion, while the Obama administration wants a 41.5% boost, to $2.72 billion. You can read more about the details of the bill here.


Upcoming Hearings
Tuesday, April 28
Continuing America's Leadership: The Future of Medical Innovation for Patients
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Hearings to examine the future of medical innovation for patients, 10am

Wednesday, April 29
Zero Accountability: The Consequences of Politically Driven Science
House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Hearings to examine the role politics plays in scientific research, 2pm

Thursday, April 30
Legislative Hearing on 21st Century Cures
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health
Hearings to discuss the 21st Century Cures bill, which is in the writing process , 10am

NIH Appropriations Hearing
Senate Committee on Appropriations, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
Hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2016 funding request and budget justification for the National Institutes of Health, 10am
Nomination Announcements
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award
The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award is bestowed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy to mid-career scientists and engineers in recognition of exceptional scientific, technical, and/or engineering achievements related to the broad missions of the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Lawrence Award is administered by the Department of Energy's Office of Science. The Award consists of a citation signed by the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal, and a $20,000 honorarium. An award is given in each of the following eight categories: Atomic, Molecular, and Chemical Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Computer, Information, and Knowledge Sciences, Condensed Matter and Materials Sciences, Energy Science and Innovation, Fusion and Plasma Sciences, High Energy Physics, National Security and Nonproliferation, and Nuclear Physics.
Enrico Fermi Award
The Enrico Fermi Award is one of the longest running and most prestigious science and technology awards given by the US Government. The award recognizes outstanding contributions and achievements that are particularly distinguished and demonstrate scientific, technical, management or policy leadership that are related to all basic and applied research, science, and technology supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Award consists of a citation signed by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Energy, a gold-plated medal, and a $50,000 honorarium.

National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Nominations are currently being accepted for the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The National Medal of Science is awarded by the President to individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding cumulative contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or behavioral or social sciences, in service to the nation. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is awarded to individuals, teams, companies, or divisions of companies for contributions to America's economic, environmental, and social well-being.
Nominations for the National Medal of Science are due on April 27, 2015. More information on the nomination process is available here. Nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation must be received by June 1, 2015. More information is available here.

Research Articles
NIH Expands Medical Scholars Program, Announces New Class
Revisiting the STEM Workforce: National Science Board Report
Energy Department Announces New Awards for Advanced Nuclear Energy Development
US House Panel would Slash Department of Energy's Applied Research
Smith Makes Small Concession in Markup of COMPETES Bill
National Endowment for the Humanities Announces New 'Common Heritage' Grant Program
Federally Funded R&D Center Spending Declined, Latest Figures Say
Peer Review Works, Says New Research on Citations and Patents
Rays of Bipartisanship as Health Chief Faces Panel
Newt Gingrich: Double the NIH Budget
Congress Questions Balance of NASA's Proposed Budget
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