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Washington Update
Week of February 29 - March 3
Office of Research

Dr. Mark Fendrick, UM Center for Value-Based Insurance Design Director Testifies before Congress
On Tuesday, February 23, Dr. Mark Fendrick, director of the U-M Center for Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID), testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Personnel. Dr. Fendrick was invited to testify on the potential role of V-BID in reforming the TRICARE system. TRICARE is the health care program of the United States Department of Defense Military Health System. It provides civilian health benefits to nearly 10 million active and retired military members, as well as their families.

A written copy of Dr. Fendrick's testimony is available here, or you can watch it online here (his testimony begins at 14:10, and he answers additional questions at 37:45 and 46:45).

House Committee Holds Hearing on Fetal Tissue Research
 
On Wednesday, March 2, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives held their first hearing on Bioethics and Fetal Tissue. Testimony was heard from six witnesses: four selected by the Republican majority and two by the Democratic minority. As expected, the hearing featured a partisan clash over both the scale of the document requests made by the panel's majority, which included subpoenas to three organizations, and the timing of the hearing to coincide with the Supreme Court's hearing of an abortion case.

During the hearing, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) expressed opposition to the panel's demands to know the names of researchers and medical students who conduct research on fetal tissue. He made a motion to quash the panel's subpoenas, which he fears could endanger the lives of those involved in fetal tissue research, by an attack from anti-abortion extremists. The motion failed on a party-line vote. The panel has not announced its next steps.


A complete list of witnesses and a recording of the hearing is available here
House Approves 'Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act'
 
On Monday, February 29, the House of Representatives approved the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R.4084). This bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced by Representative Randy Weber (R-TX), who is the Chair of the House Science Committee's Energy Subcommittee. This legislation calls on the Department of Energy (DoE) to further collaborate with universities and the private sector to advance new fission and fusion nuclear reactor technologies through new initiatives at the national labs.

This legislation would require DoE, by the end of the year, to" determine the mission need for a versatile reactor-based fast neutron source, which shall operate as a national user facility." Upon determination, this legislation requires DoE to come up with a plan to establish the user facility. In addition, this legislation would require DoE to (1) utilize high-performance computational resources to support development of new reactor technologies and (2) to facilitate private sector testing and demonstration of nuclear reactor concepts as part of a “National Reactor Innovation Center.”


This legislation was approved as an amendment in the Senate's 'Energy Modernization Act of 2015'. However, that legislation's fate remains uncertain.

Legislative Activities
 
The Senate will reconvene on Monday, March 7 and will resume consideration of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S.524). The House will be in recess next week (March 7 - 11).

Committee Activities

Tuesday, March 8

House Committee on Small Business
Contracting the Workforce Subcommittee Hearing: Commercializing on Innovation: Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Part II
1:00 p.m., Lynn, Massachusetts

Wednesday, March 9

Senate Appropriations Committee
Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Hearing: FY17 Budget for the Department of Energy
2:30 p.m., 138 Dirksen

Thursday, March 10

Senate Appropriations Committee
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Hearing: FY17 Budget for the Dept. of Education
10:00 a.m., 138 Dirksen

Senate Appropriations Committee
Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee Hearing: FY17 Budget for NASA
10:30 a.m., 192 Dirksen

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.
 

NOAA: National Sea Grant Advisory Board Meeting
A detailed agenda is available here.
The meeting wil be held on Monday, March 7 from 8:30 until 5 p.m. EST and Tuesday, March 8 from 8:30 a.m. until noon in Washington, D.C.


DHS: Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee Meeting
Day 1:
  • The morning session will cover the HSSTAC deliverables, specifically a whitepaper on an interdisciplinary approach to resilience.
  • The second morning session will be a panel discussion on the new face of research and development and emerging issues in the science and technology field,
  • The afternoon session will consist of discussions with Dr. Reginald Brothers, Under Secretary for Science and Technology.
  • The rest of the afternoon will consist of breakout sessions for discussion on the issues presented earlier by S&T leadership.
Day 2:
  • The morning session will begin with a small working group session focused on developing whitepapers, implementation plans, and tangible recommendations from the HSSTAC.
  • The afternoon session will include a continuation of the breakout session, followed by a presentation of an executive summary of the group's discussions.
  • The committee will then deliberate on any preliminary recommendations, and formulate initial recommendations on the science and technology issues presented earlier.
The meeting will take place March 10 from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and March 11 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. EST in Washington, D.C. A live webinar of the meeting is also available.

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. until 4:00 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.

 
Nomination Announcements

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:

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
Republicans promise ‘sustained’ NIH funding hikes without budget gimmicks
Panel members clash over fetal tissue subpoenas
 
What’s the face of U.S innovation? Don’t think Bill Gates
 
House science committee demands that NOAA widen its internal search for climate change emails
 
Why Tech Degrees Are Not Putting More Blacks and Hispanics Into Tech Jobs
White House proposes $19 billion NASA budget
White House proposes $19 billion NASA budgetWh
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If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).