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Washington Update
Week of November 2 - 6
Office of Research

Research Coalitions Urge Appropriators to Increase Research Funding

On November 2, coalitions representing more than 500 industry, higher education, and scientific organizations sent a letter to Congressional appropriators urging them to make "strong investments in America's innovation ecosystem one of your highest priorities by increasing federal research funding by at least 5.2 percent above FY 2015 levels -- the same level of increase to discretionary spending." The University of Michigan is a member of many of the coalitions that signed the letter. 

Dr. John DeCicco Testifies Before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Dr. John DeCicco, a research professor at the U-M Energy Institute testified on Tuesday before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee about the Renewable Fuel Standard: A Ten Year Review of Costs and Benefits.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program was created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and requires an increasing percentage of biofuels to be added into the nation’s gasoline supply.  The hearing looked at how that law has worked since its passage ten years ago. Dr. DeCicco, whose research examines transportation energy use, testified that the RFS has been harmful to the environment. He discussed his research, which has found the RFS cannot claim any significant reduction in CO2. Dr. DeCicco’s work uses real-world data to show the flaws in the model that was used to develop the RFS.

In addition, Dr. DeCicco mentions the work of fellow U-M researchers who have found that corn ethanol production has destroyed habit for waterfowl and other wildlife and worsened water pollution, contributing to algae blooms. Several members of the committee expressed their interest in Dr. DeCicco’s research during the course of the hearing, including Subcommittee Chairman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) who asked about Dr. DeCicco’s assertion that “under some circumstances, the emissions (using corn ethanol) could be as much as 70% higher than those of gasoline.” The Committee will use the testimony of all the witnesses to inform their work as they examine the RFS and the role of biofuels. 

To watch a video of the hearing, please click
here.

COGR Responds to NAS Report on Research Regulation

As you may know, an ad hoc committee under the auspices of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law (CSTL) and the Board of Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) at the the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) are conducting a study of federal regulations and reporting requirements with specific attention to those directed at research universities. On September 22, the committee released part one of their two-part report. The report urges the federal government to streamline and harmonize its regulation of federally funded academic research. Part two will be released in early 2016.

Last week, the Council on Government Relations (COGR) issued their response to part one of the report here (on the right-hand side under latest news).
If you have any comments on the report's recommendations or would like to provide feedback to NAS, please let Madeline know.

Wolverines in Washington, D.C. --

This section highlights some of the important work happening in our nation’s capital by University of Michigan alumni. These alums are a testament to the university's commitment to educating future leaders and policy makers who seek roles in which they can serve the nation. We hope you enjoy getting to know these people as much as we enjoy being able to shine a light on these bright stars. If you have any suggestions on alums you would like featured, please let Madeline know.
Lisa Ellman - B.A., History

What do you do for work?:

I am a partner at Hogan Lovells, where I co-chair the law firm’s Global Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS,” or “drones”) Practice Group — a “one-stop shop” for drones manufacturers, operators and users. I have counseled universities, businesses and trade groups in industries ranging from news gathering and television production, to aerial photography and energy. I was thrilled to assist my alma mater in applying for permission to use drones on campus and navigating the UAS regulatory terrain.

Before entering private practice, I held a variety of positions at top levels of the Executive branch — both at the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In a series of presidential appointments, I led work on high-priority policy initiatives for the Obama administration on issues ranging from open and transparent government to domestic use of UAS. Most recently, I led the DOJ's effort to develop policy that would govern the use of UAS within the United States. I also represented the DOJ in the federal interagency process considering UAS-related policy issues that are shared across departments and agencies.

Previously in the Obama administration, I served in senior positions within three White House agencies: the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget/Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and the Office of Presidential Personnel.

How does this tie in with the University’s mission of developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future?:

The University of Michigan gave me an incredible foundation that has helped me at every step along the way. From the teamwork I built within the school’s club volleyball team to the critical thinking skills fostered by each and every one of my professors, University of Michigan provided me with the life skills needed to succeed at the highest level. The school also provides a deep and talented network of alumni with whom I regularly interact and find ways to collaborate.

How do you bring your experience and what you learned at U-M into your current role in Washington, D.C.?:

My current role brings diverse communities together – Silicon Valley and the federal agencies of Washington, DC; universities and technology companies; policymakers and innovators; and others – to move federal policymaking forward. The overall goal is to integrate drones into our national airspace in a way that wins the public’s trust and keeps us safe. On the policy side, we learn from the past – what has worked in aviation, in technology policy, in the privacy debate – in order to consider what rules may be appropriate to govern the future. All of these skills were enhanced at the University of Michigan – both the study of history, but also the spirit of collaboration and innovation.

What did you study at U-M?:

I was a history major, which provided the perfect basis for my law school / public policy education a few years later and my career more generally. Every day I spent as a policymaker at the White House and DOJ, I drew upon what I learned about the history of our country at the University of Michigan. You can’t understand what’s to come if you don’t have a grasp on where we all come from.

What is your favorite memory from your time at U-M? What do you miss most about Ann Arbor?:

I miss the community fostered within the university. I miss fall Saturdays, when my friends and I would attend every football game at the Big House and sing the Victors along with 100,000+ other fans, knowing that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. I miss Pizza House and Zingerman’s. I miss playing club volleyball with an incredible group of women, many of whom I still see whenever I can.  From professors to sorority sisters to my fellow students, I felt supported at every level of the University.

 
Legislative Activities
 
The House is in recess next week, the week of November 9 - 13.

Beginning Monday, November 9, the Senate will resume consideration of the Military Construction/VA Appropriations bill.

 
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

NASA Advisory Council Science Committee

NASA is seeking nominations for service on the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) Science Committee subcommittees. Five science subcommittees report to the Science Committee of the NAC. 

Nomination deadline: Monday, November 23. Further information is available here
 
Fellowship Announcements

 
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.


 
National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship Program

The NSF EAPSI fellowship program is accepting applications for Summer 2016. The fellowship provides graduate students in science and engineering with a $5,000 stipend and roundtrip airfare to the host location to spend eight weeks conducting research. 

Application deadline: November 12. For more information, please click here
News Articles
Amazon Offers Up Research Money for ‘Crazy’ Ideas That Just Might Work
How to Help Researchers' Discoveries Go Viral
 
Lawmakers move to study car hacking
Many Colleges Now See Centers for Teaching With Technology as Part of ‘Innovation Infrastructure’
Dems push for gun violence research
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If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).