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Washington Update
Week of April 4 - 8
Senate Begins Consideration of FAA Reauthorization
 
This week, the Senate began consideration of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. This legislation is being considered using H.R.636 as the legislative vehicle.

This legislation includes language (section 2155) that was offered as an amendment by Senator Peters (D-MI) during the Senate Committee markup. Senator Peters' provision is a modified version of S.2626, the Higher Education UAS Modernization Act. The provision puts the FAA on a timeline for establishing a process to expedite and make more flexible the safe operation of UAS by institutions of higher education for educational or research purposes. If the FAA is unable to establish this process within 270 days, an institution of higher education can immediately begin operating small UAS at model aircraft fields approved by the Academy of Model Aeronautics or seek approval from the FAA to utilize an alternative designated outdoor flight field.

On Monday, April 11, the Senate will resume consideration of the FAA reauthorization. You may be interested in reading an Op-Ed featured in The Conversation about the need for a national conversation about sensible drone laws.

Senate Committee Approves Biomedical Innovation Legislation
 
On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a package of five biomedical innovation bills focused on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The bills include:
  • FDA and NIH Workforce Authorities Modernization Act (S.2700): This legislation is aimed at helping the FDA and the NIH attract and retain the talent they need to handle all the exciting developments headed their way for research and review—a top priority for the heads of both agencies.
  • Promise for Antibiotics and Therapeutics for Health Act (S.185): This bill will shorten the development of new treatments to help those infected with these life-threatening superbugs.
  • Advancing Precision Medicine Act of 2016 (S. 2713): This will support the president’s Precision Medicine Initiative to map 1 million genomes and make the information available to researchers who in turn will be required to share their research – all to help find treatments for diseases sooner.
  • Advancing NIH Strategic Planning and Representation in Medical Research Act (S.2745): This bill requires NIH to come up with a strategic plan every 6 years, and also helps ensure that scientists are including women and minorities in their research and reporting on the differences they find.
  • Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act (S.2742): This bill aims to reduce regulatory burdens at NIH by consolidating and eliminating reporting requirements. It would also require OMB to establish a board to examine the impact of federal regulations on scientific research and to recommend improvements.

In February, the Senate HELP Committee began consideration of its version of the 21st Century Cures legislation (passed in the House of Representatives last year). In February, the HELP Committee approved seven bipartisan bills. In March, the committee passed another seven bipartisan bills.


Regulatory Reform Bill Introduced in the House

Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) released a draft of his regulatory reform bill, which aims to reduce regulatory burdens on all scientific research funded by the federal government. The draft legislation would implement recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences report on the impact of federal research regulations. Specifically, the legislation would establish a panel of experts from the university research community to review existing regulations on research and recommend improvements.

The draft legislation, known as the University Regulations Streamlining and Harmonization Act of 2016, can be found here. A section-by-section summary is available here. Representative Lipinski plans to introduce the legislation in the coming weeks and has asked for feedback from members of the research community. If you have any feedback, please send it to Madeline.

This legislation has been endorsed by the Association of American Universities and the Council on Governmental Relations.

The Lincoln Project Holds Press Event to Highlight Latest Report on Public Research Universities
U-M President Emerita Dr. Mary Sue Coleman Speaks at Lincoln Project Report Event


The Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education, a project which is run out of the American Academy of Arts & Sciencies, released its final report on public research universities. The project is co-chaied by Former U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and Former Chancellor of UC Berkeley Robert Birgeneau.

The final report, Public Research Universities: Recommitting to Lincoln’s Vision—An Educational Compact for the 21st Century, makes three recommendations to ensure a bright future for public research universities:

For more information, please click here.


NSF Seeking Input in Candidate Search for Assistant Director for Three Directorates

Geosciences

NSF is initiating a national search for the NSF's Assistant Director for Geosciences and is seeking assistance in the identification of candidates.

The Assistant Director, GEO, leads a directorate comprised of four divisions: Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS), Earth Sciences (EAR), Ocean Sciences (OCE), and Polar Programs (PLR). Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, will head the search committee. NSF seeks your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the geosciences in the areas of research and education; experience developing and overseeing complex scientific facilities; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. Recommendations of individuals from any sector - academic, industry, or government - are welcome.

Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/GEO Search Committee via e-mail (geosrch@nsf.gov) or at the following address: NSF, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Please send any recommendations by May 20, 2016.

Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 
NSF is conducting a search for NSF Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and seeks your assistance in the identification of candidates. The Assistant Director, MPS, leads a directorate comprised of five divisions — Astronomical Sciences (AST), Chemistry (CHE), Materials Research (DMR), Mathematical Sciences (DMS), Physics (PHY) —and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA). Dr. Saul Perlmutter, Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Professor at the U. California, Berkeley, will head the search committee. NSF seeks your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the mathematical and physical sciences in the areas of research and education; experience developing and overseeing complex scientific facilities; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. Recommendations of individuals from any sector — academic, industry, or government — are welcome. Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/MPS Search Committee via e-mail (mpssrch@nsf.gov) or at the following address: NSF, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Please send your recommendations by May 13, 2016.

Engineering
 
NSF is initiating a search for Assistant Director for Engineering (ENG) and seeks your assistance identifying candidates. The Assistant Director, ENG, leads a directorate comprised of five divisions — Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET); Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI); Electrical, Communications, and Cyber Systems (ECCS); Engineering Education and Centers (EEC); and Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) — as well as the Office of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities (EFMA). Enclosed is an information sheet that summarizes the directorate's activities and the responsibilities of the position, together with the criteria that will be used in the search. Dr. C. Daniel Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering, will head the search committee. We seek your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the engineering disciplines in the areas of research, education, and innovation; and the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF management team. Recommendations of individuals from any sector — academic, industry, or government — are welcome. Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you can provide, to the AD/ENG Search Committee via e-mail (engsrch@nsf.gov) or at the following address: NSF, Office of the Director, Suite 1205, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Recommendations made by May 27, 2016 would be appreciated.

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
The Senate will reconvene on Monday, April 11 and resume consideration of the FAA Reauthorization Act. The House of Representatives will reconvene on Tues., April 12.

Committee Activities

Tuesday, April 12

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Full Committee Hearing: "Hearing to Examine the Status of Innovative Technologies in Advanced Manufacturing"
10:00 a.m., 366 Dirksen

Wednesday, April 13

House Committee on Appropriations
Energy and Water Subcommittee Markup: FY17 E&W Appropriations Bill
1:30 p.m., 2362-B Rayburn

House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Full Committee Hearing: Flint Water Crisis: Impacts and Lessons Learned
10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn
Nomination Announcements

Fellowships:
 
ARPA-E Spring 2016 Fellowship

ARPA-E is looking for the next generation of scientific leaders to help solve the most pressing and exciting challenges in energy. The Fellows assist the agency in identifying possible breakthrough energy technologies through technical and economic analyses. During their two-year tenure, ARPA-E Fellows influence the direction of American energy innovation, engaging with world-class researchers in academia and industry, entrepreneurs, and government officials. Prior experience in energy and/or commercialization is not necessary.

Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. in science or engineering. Students who expect to complete their Ph.D. within the next year are also encouraged to apply.
  • Strong analytical, research, and communication skills.
  • Ability to initiate independent projects and work across disciplines.
  • Passion to change the world through energy technology research and development.
  • U.S. citizenship.
Further information is available here. Applications accepted through April 15, 2015.
 
Federal Advisory Committees:

EPA National Environmental Education Advisory Council

 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting applications for environmental education professionals for consideration to serve on the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). There are nine vacancies on the Advisory Council that must be filled.

Nominations will be accepted until April 15. Further information here.
 
EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee & Science Advisory Board
 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations of scientific experts from a diverse range of disciplines to be considered for appointment to the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and five SAB committees. Appointments are anticipated to be filled by the start of Fiscal Year 2017 (October 2016).
 
Nominations are due Friday, May 6. Further information 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.
 
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
Groups protest House demands for names of fetal tissue researchers
 
White House backs down on Zika funding request

 
The Shrinking Ph.D. Job Market
 
U.S. senators advance biomedical innovation bills, but key NIH funding issue unresolved
House appropriators vow to seek more NASA funding
We need a national conversation about sensible drone laws
House appropriators vow to seek more NASA funding
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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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