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Washington Update
Week of May 16 - 20
U-M Associate Professor Justin Kasper Discusses Space Weather Research on Capitol Hill
U-M Associate Professor, Justin Kasper Meets with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) in Washington, D.C.
 

On Tuesday, May 17, U-M Associate Professor in the College of Engineering, Justin Kasper, presented at a briefing on Capitol Hill titled "A Mission to Touch the Sun". Dr. Kasper provided an overview of NASA's Solar Probe mission to the Sun's outer atmosphere, the first human object to enter the extended atmosphere of our Sun. Dr. Kasper is the Principal Investigator for the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation on Solar Probe Plus. SWEAP is the set of instruments on the spacecraft that will directly measure the properties of the plasma in the solar atmosphere. A special component of SWEAP is a small instrument that will look around the protective heat shield of the spacecraft directly at the Sun. This will allow SWEAP to sweep up a sample of the atmosphere and touch the Sun for the first time.

After the briefing, Dr. Kasper visited with some of the Michigan delegation offices, including a meeting with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). Senator Peters is the Ranking Member of the Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. This Subcommittee has oversight over NASA, among other federal science agencies. Dr. Kasper provided an overview about the mission and discussed heliophysics research ongoing at U-M.


Department of Labor Issues Overtime Rule

This week, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued their final rule on exemptions to overtime. The rule will go into effect on December 1, 2016. The rule increases the minimum income threshold for exemptions to $47,476, it was previously $23,660. The salary threshold will adjust every three years based on the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region.

The DOL released guidance for higher education institutions. In addition, NIH Director Frances Collins and DOL Secretary Tom Perez published a joint op-ed commenting on the impact of this rule on postdoctoral researchers. In the op-ed, they state that in response to the rule, NIH will increase the awards for the Ruth Kirstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) to levels above the new income threshold. The current award level for NRSAs begin at $43,692. In addition, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer published a blog stating, "Given the current challenging funding situation, we recognize that increased salaries will impact other financial and staffing operations at grantee institutions."

We expect further guidance and information to be forthcoming. The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) is hosting a webinar on this topic, titled: "FLSA Overtime Final Rule: What You Need to Know and Do Now". This webinar is open to anyone who is interested and will be held on Wednesday, May 25 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Registration is required.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Approves FY2017 Commerce-Justice-Science Bill


This week, the House Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee approved the FY17 CJS funding bill, which was 0.5 percent above its FY16 enacted level.

 

The bill would fund NSF at $7.4 billion, a $57 million decrease below the FY16 enacted level. Within that total, funding for Research and Related Activities would receive an increase of $46 million to $6.08 billion, and Education and Human Resources would be level-funded at $880 million. Funding for the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account would reduce to $87.1 million, a decrease of $113 million below the FY16 enacted level of $200 million.


Overall, this legislation would fund NASA at $19.5 billion, an increase of $223 million over the FY2016 level of $19.285 billion. Funding for the Science Mission Directorate would be $5.597 billion, an increase of $7.6 million or 0.14% above FY2016. This amount includes $260 million for the Europa mission. Aeronautics would receive $712 million, an increase of $72 million or ~11% above FY2016. Space Technology would receive $739.2 million, an increase of $52.7 million or ~8% above FY2016. This legislation would flat fund Space Grant at the FY2016 level, $40M.

 

Program details will be made available in the committee report following full committee consideration, which is scheduled for this Tuesday, May 24.


DOD I-Corps Funding Opportunity Announcement

 

There's a new Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for a program called 'Innovation Corps @ DoD' (I Corps @ DoD) and the BAA number is W911NF-16-R-0003. This program is executed in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps™ program.
 
This program is designed to help researchers who want to commercialize their successful research efforts, and is open to current and former (last 5 years) DoD basic research grantees.  The program provides up to $70K for 12 months for a three person team (PI, Entrepreneurial Lead, and Mentor) to get training and support to start a company to commercialize a previously funded research effort.  The Entrepreneurial Lead is intended to be a Post-Doc or Graduate Student who wants to take the lead on commercializing the research and the Mentor can be either someone you know who meets the criteria or someone assigned through the NSF I-Corps Mentor Network.

More information about this opportunity can be found at www.grants.gov and searching the BAA number (W911NF-16-R-0003). Please feel free to contact Rebecca Parkhurst (rebecca.r.parkhurst.ctr@mail.mil) with any questions.

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.

Legislative Activities

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will reconvene on Monday, May 23.
 
Committee Activities

Tuesday, May 24

House Appropriations Committee
Full Committee Hearing: FY2017 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill & FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bill
10:30 a.m., 2359 Rayburn

Senate Appropriations Committee
Defense Subcommittee Business Meeting to Markup: FY2017 Dept. of Defense Appropriations
10:00 a.m., 192 Dirksen
Nomination Announcements

Federal Advisory Committees:

 
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.

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
Overtime for Some
 
Analysis: Senator’s attack on ‘cheerleading’ study obscures government’s role in training scientists
 
New U.S. overtime rules will bump up postdoc pay, but could hurt research budgets
 
Fair Pay for Postdocs: Why We Support New Federal Overtime Rules
House bill offers $19.5 billion for NASA in 2017
House bill offers $19.5 billion for NASA in 2017
House bill offers $19.5 billion for NASA in 2017
House bill offers $19.5 billion for NASA in 2017
Clash in GOP over Zika funding
 
How New US Overtime Provisions Will Affect Postdoctoral Researchers
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If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).






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