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Washington Update
Week of September 28 - October 2
Office of Research

Congress Approves Continuing Resolution to Avert Government Shutdown; Budget Discussions Continue
 
On Wednesday, September 30, Congress sent to President Obama's desk legislation to fund the government for ten weeks, through December 11, 2015. This legislation does not include the provision to defund Planned Parenthood, which some Republicans originally demanded. President Obama signed this legislation (H.R.719), narrowly averting a government shutdown, which would have begun the first day of fiscal year 2016, October 1.

In the meantime, the White House, Speaker Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell are in discussions to potentially come up with a two-year deal which would lift the caps put into place by the Budget Control Act (BCA). This deal would include riders that Democrats oppose, at the expense of having higher spending levels. If a deal is struck, it is unclear if both parties would agree to it. It would largely depend on the riders included and if enough Republicans would be okay with lifting the BCA caps.

U-M Alum & Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton Discusses 21st Century Cures Legislation
U-M Alum and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) spoke to a group on Wednesday, September 30, about his bipartisan 21st Century Cures legislation. Representative Upton was joined by his colleague, Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), who is working with him to advance this legislation. The 21st Century Cures legislation (H.R.6), which passed the House of Representatives in July, with 344 votes, would authorize a mandatory $10 billion increase in NIH funding over five years, among other provisions. A two-page summary is available here.

Rep. Upton discussed the doubling of the NIH in the 1990s, and expressed concern about the loss in purchasing power of the agency ever since. Rep. DeGette emphasized the problem with uncertainty of funding and stated her desire to provide long-term, stable funding since "research can't be done in a fiscal year." The Representatives have met with the leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the committee of jurisdiction in the Senate, and are continuing to work with stakeholders to build support for this bill. If you are interested in hearing further details about the discussion, please e-mail Madeline.
NIH Invests $85 Million for BRAIN Initiative
On October 1, the NIH announced additional grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The NIH investment for FY2015 totaled $85 million. Sixty-seven new awards are available. For a list of the new grants and more information about the BRAIN Initiative, click here.
House Approves NDAA Conference Report; Legislation's Fate Remains Unkown
On October 1, the House of Representatives approved the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.1735) by a vote of 270 to 156. The Senate is also expected to approve the measure. The White House has threatened to veto the legislation, which it argues "fails to authorize sufficient funding for our military’s priorities, and instead uses Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding in ways that leaders of both parties have made clear are inappropriate". At this point, the legislation's fate remains unclear.

The conference report includes:
  • Basic Research (6.1)- $2.26 billion or 0.7 percent less than the FY15 levels ($2.27 billion) and 8.3 percent more than the FY16 PBR ($2.08 billion)
  • Applied Research (6.2)-$4.74 billion or about 2 percent higher than FY15 levels ($4.65 billion) and a half a percent higher than the FY16 PBR ($4.71 billion)
  • Advanced Research (6.3)- $5.35 billion or 0.4 percent higher than the FY15 levels ($5.33 billion) and 2 percent less than the FY16 PBR ($5.46 billion)
  • RDT&E- $70.8 billion or 10.6 percent higher than FY15 levels ($64 billion) and 1.2 percent higher than the FY16 PBR ($69.9 billion)

Golden Goose Award Accepting Nominations for 2016
The 2015 Golden Goose Award took place Thursday, September 17. The event seeks to honor researchers whose work may have sounded odd or impractical at the time, but led to major human and economic benefits in the end. The fifth annual event will take place is September 2016. The steering committee is now accepting nominations. If you have a researcher or team of researchers in mind who you would like to nominate, please do so here.

**NEW SECTION**
We recently introduced a new section to the DC update that we hope will highlight the impact wolverines are making in the nation's capital. 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.
 
Wolverines in Washington, D.C. --
Highlighting some of the important work happening in our nation’s capital by University of Michigan alumni
Eric Feldman - Class of 2002 (LSA)

What do you do for work?:
 
I serve as the Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan.
 
How does this tie in with the University’s mission of developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future?:
 
In Senator Peters’ office, we work hard every day to improve the lives of Michiganders across the state.  Senator Peters is focused on creating new educational and employment opportunities in our state that will make Michigan a magnet for talent.  We work closely with the University of Michigan and other institutions of higher learning to institute policies that will make our economy more dynamic and help us train, educate and attract new leaders and the best workers.
 
How do you bring your experience and what you learned at U-M into your current role in Washington, D.C.?
 
One of the things that I carry forward from my time at Michigan is that the public sector can provide excellence to its citizens.  My education from the University of Michigan and my broader experiences while on campus were every bit as challenging as my colleagues who attended elite private colleges.  Likewise, we want to ensure that the federal government provides services and opportunities that go above and beyond expectations.  I also learned at Michigan how important it is to work and learn from people who have diverse experiences and backgrounds.  Those are examples of how I strive to bring the Michigan Difference to work every day.
 
What did you study at U-M?:
 
I received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan with a focus on American Politics.
 
What is your favorite memory from your time at U-M? or What do you miss most about Ann Arbor?:
 
Growing up an avid Wolverine fan I miss spending Saturdays in the Big House. A favorite memory was traveling down to the Orange Bowl in 2000 to see Michigan beat Alabama in overtime.  I miss the Diag, Pizza House and the friends who made my years at Michigan so special.

 
Committee Activities
Tuesday, October 6
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Closed meeting:
Innovation and Competitiveness Working Group Joint Meeting
2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 7
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Hearing: National Institutes of Health: Investing in a Healthier Future.

10:00 a.m., 124 Dirksen
Nomination Announcements

National Science Board
The six-year terms of eight Members (one-third) of the National Science Board (NSB) will expire on May 10, 2016. Recommendations for highly qualified individuals to serve on the NSB are being accepted.

The NSB is responsible for overseeing the activities of and establishing policies for the National Science Foundation, as well as serving as an advisory body to the President and Congress on individual policy matters related to science and engineering and education in science and engineering.

Nomination deadline: Friday, October 30. Nominations must be submitted through the online portal here. Further information is available here

Alan T. Waterman Award
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Alan T. Waterman Award. Each year, the Foundation bestows the Waterman Award in recognition of the talent, creativity, and influence of a singular young researcher. Nominees are accepted from all sources, and from any field of science and engineering that NSF supports. The award recipient will receive a medal and an invitation to the formal awards ceremony in Washington, DC. In addition, the recipient will receive a grant of $1,000,000 over a five-year period for scientific research or advanced study in any field of science or engineering supported by the NSF, at any institution of the recipient's choice. The NSF is especially interested in nominations for women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities.

Nomination deadline: Friday, October 23. To submit an application, please visit here. Please contact Dr. Sherrie Green, Program Manager for the Alan T. Waterman Award at waterman@nsf.gov or 703-292-8040 if you have any questions. You may also visit here for more information.
 
National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee
The Department of Commerce is requesting nominations for individuals to serve on the National Medal of Technology and Innovation Nomination Evaluation Committee. This committee is responsible for reviewing nominations and making recommendations for the Nation's highest honor for technological innovation, awarded periodically by the President of the United States.

Application deadline: Friday, October 16. Read the full announcement here.

 
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking nominations of qualified individuals to be considered for appointment as members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA will provide advice, information and recommendations to the HHS Secretary regarding programs and policies intended to promote effective prevention and care of HIV disease and AIDS.
 
Application deadline: Friday, October 9. Read the full announcement here.
 
Fellowship Announcements
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 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is accepting applications for 2016 class. The GRFP accepts outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and in STEM education. This program provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who demonstrate the potential for significant research achievements in these areas. 

Application deadline: October 26 - 30 (varies based on directorate). Further information available here
News Articles
What Basic Research Means to You
Translational research focus of NIDA organizational shift
Budget Priorities Don’t Bode Well for Future
 
Former U-M President Mary Sue Coleman takes role as head of AAU
 
Higher Education: Starting Your Economic Engines
 
Colleges help student startups navigate the legal landscape
 
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If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).