Copy
Washington Update
Week of December 14 - 18
Office of Research

Congress Approves FY2016 Omnibus; President Expected to Sign into Law
 
The FY2016 Omnibus and tax extenders package are overall good news for scientific research. On Thursday, December 16, the House passed the tax bill by a vote of 318 to 109. Earlier today, the House passed the Omnibus FY2016 appropriations bill by a vote of 316 to 113. Afterwards, the Senate passed the coupled Omnibus/tax bill by a vote of 65 to 33. The President is expected to sign both measures.
 
This $1.15 trillion spending measure includes all twelve individual appropriations bills. Overall, the Omnibus would provide nearly $150 billion for research and development, about 8.1% more than in FY2015. Because of the October budget deal which lifted the caps to allow for increased spending, the majority of the funding levels are higher than what was originally contained in the individual House and Senate appropriations bills.

The budget agreement allowed for $50 billion in additional discretionary spending for FY2016, split evenly between defense and non-defense. This allowed for, on average, a 5.2% increase in domestic discretionary spending. Going forward, the deal allows for $30 billion in additional discretionary spending for FY2017, also split evenly between defense and non-defense. As a result, the increases seen in the Omnibus will be higher this year than what is possible for FY2017.

 
Highlights of the Omnibus Appropriations Act 2016
 
Agency FY 2014 Enacted FY 2015 Enacted FY2016 Omnibus Change
(FY16 Omnibus over FY2015 Enacted)
 Dept. of Commerce        
 NIST  $850 million  $864 million  $964 million  +$100 million
 NSF  $7.17 billion  $7.34 billion  $7.45 billion  +$110 million
 NASA  $17.65 billion  $18.01 billion  $19.29 billion  +$1.28 billion
 NOAA  $5.3 billion  $5.4 billion  $5.8 billion  +$400 million
 Dept. of Energy        
 Office of Science  $5.07 billion  $5.07 billion  $5.35 billion  +$280 million
 ARPA-E  $280 million  $290 million  $291 million  +$1 million
 EERE  $1.825 billion  $1.924 billion  $2.703 billion  +$779 million
 Dept. of Health &    Human Services        
 NIH  $29.9 billion  $30.1 billion  $32.1 billion  +$2 billion
 Dept. of Transportation        
 Highways  $41 billion  $40.3 billion  $42.4 billion  +$2.1 billion
 NHTSA  $819 million  $830 million  $869 million  +$39 million

Additionally, included in the tax package accompanying this legislation is a provision that makes permanent the research and development tax credit, which gives companies who invest in research and development a tax break.

AAAS has a roundup of the funding levels for several science agencies and their programs here. The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) has a detailed analysis of the Omnibus and its implications on social and behavioral science research, which can be found here. Additionally, for detailed summaries of the 12 Appropriations bills within the Omnibus, including funding levels and policy items, please visit the following:
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Madeline Nykaza.

NIH Releases Agency-Wide Strategic Plan

For the first time in more than 20 years, the NIH released an agency-wide strategic plan for five years, spanning FY2016 to FY2020. Individual institutes and centers will put forward a strategic plan, but this is a collective agency-wide plan. The plan outlines four objectives:
  • Advance Opportunities in Biomedical Research;
  • Foster Innovation by Setting NIH Priorities;
  • Enhance Scientific Stewardship; and
  • Excel as a Federal Science Agency by Managing for Results
At the end of the report (page 45), the NIH lays out what they deem "bold predictions" for the future. The fourteen "ambitious outcome objectives" are items "that NIH will strive to deliver for the benefit of the American people and all humankind" over the next five years. A copy of the strategic plan can be found here.
NEH Announces $21.8 Million for 295 Humanities Projects

On December 14, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced $21.8 million in grants for 295 humanities projects. These projects are the first grant awards under three new grant programs, under the NEH initiative: The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to find innovative ways to make scholarship relevant to our modern world. The University of Michigan received three grants, which can be found here
Nomination Announcements

National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting nominations for vacancies on the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. The Council provides advice to the EPA Administrator on a broad range of environmental policy, management and technology issues. EPA is seeking nominees with a strong background in citizen science, crowd source monitoring and technologies, community sustainability, environmental justice and economic initiatives, ecology and biodiversity, public health, social science, and environmental policy and management.

Nomination deadline: Friday, January 15, 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.

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 15, 2016. 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.
 
Fellowship Announcements

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) is accepting applications for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The SURF Program provides research opportunities for students to work with NIST scientists and engineers in their Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO laboratories. The program runs mid-May through the end of July (Boulder) or beginning of August (Gaithersburg).

Application deadline: Friday, February 12, 2016. Further information is available here.

American Institute of Physics Congressional Fellowship Program

Qualified scientists at any age of their career are encouraged to apply for the American Institute of Physics Congressional Fellowship Program. Applicants must have a PH.D. in physics or a closely related field. AIP Fellows have the opportunity to work at the US State Department or in Congress for one year beginning in the fall of 2016.

Application deadline: Friday, January 15. Further information is available here and here.


 
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.
 
Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Science Internships
 
The DoE Office of Science and the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists are accepting applications for the 2016 Summer Term Internship/Fellowship Programs. There are two programs accepting applications:
  • The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program encourages undergraduate students to pursue STEM careers by providing research experiences, under the guidance of laboratory/facility staff scientists or engineers, on projects supporting the DOE mission.  More information and the online application is available here
  • The Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) seeks to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce vital to the DOE mission areas. In this program, selected university/college faculty members collaborate with DOE laboratory research staff on a research project of mutual interest. Faculty member participants may invite up to two students (one of which may be a graduate student) to participate in the research project. More information and the online application is available here.
Application deadline for both programs: 5:00 PM EST on Friday, January 8, 2016.
News Articles
Budget agreement boosts U.S. science
 
Enrollment at U.S. Colleges Drops by 1.7%
NIH releases first agency-wide strategic plan in 2 decades
2 Critiques of Federally Funded Medical Research: Not Enough Diversity, Not Enough Trials
 
UM DC Office
UM DC Office
@UM_DCOffice
@UM_DCOffice
UMOR DC Website
UMOR DC Website
If you would like to be added to the Washington Update, please contact Madeline Nykaza (mnykaza@umich.edu).