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Vol. 2011, No. 13 (25 October 2011)


ARPA-Ed Passes First Hurdle

House Hearing on Slowing the Exodus of Foreigners Who Obtain STEM Degrees in the US

Republicans Propose Significant & Jeopardizing Cuts to Science & Technology

New Legislation to Promote Community Wind Projects


NASA Contest Heralds Dawn of the Electric Plane

"Start Breaking Stuff'": Advice From America’s Top Young Women Scientists

White House Announces Initiative To Help USCIS Obtain Industry Expertise


WEBINAR: What Does it Take to be an IEEE-USA Government Fellow?




Seeking WISE Applications
SUMMER 2012 PROGRAM Monday, 4 June - Friday, 3 August

Each year, outstanding engineering students are selected to spend nine weeks in Washington, D.C., learning about the public policy process, including how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions. WISE seeks applications from outstanding engineering students who display evidence of leadership skills and have a keen interest in public policy. Minority students are encouraged to apply. Applicants should select a sponsoring society(s), fill out an application form (documents linked), write two (2) brief essays in response to questions, arrange for two (2)faculty references, and forward an official transcript. The deadline for 2012 is 31 December 2011.

Seeking 2013 Government Fellows Applications
Linking Science, Technology & Engineering Professionals with Government

Each year, IEEE-USA sponsors three government fellowships for qualified IEEE members. The fellows — chosen by the IEEE-USA Government Fellows Committee and confirmed by the Board — spend a year in Washington serving as advisers to the U.S. Congress and to key U.S. Department of State decision-makers. Known as either a Congressional Fellowship or an Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowship, this program links science, technology and engineering professionals with government, and provides a mechanism for IEEE's U.S. members to learn firsthand about the public policy process while imparting their knowledge and experience to policymakers. The application forms for 2013 are available online. (State; Congressional) The deadline for 2013 is Friday, 16 March 2012. (View upcoming webinar.)



ARPA-Ed Passes First Hurdle

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions - or HELP - Committee held a hearing exploring an overhaul No Child Left Behind. The comprehensive bill reflects 10 months of bipartisan negotiations between Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), and addresses many of the problems created by ESEA’s most recent reauthorization, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), while advancing America’s commitment to helping all children succeed. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced an amendment that would bring ARPA-Ed to life. ARPA-Ed would put competitive grants and contracts in the hands of innovators seeking to develop technologies to revolutionize the way students learn. The amendment (Bennet X:1) was agreed to by voice vote. For compelte info on proposed and passed amendments, as well as archived video of the hearing, visit the committee's site.

House Hearing on Slowing the Exodus of Foreigners Who Obtain STEM Degrees in the US

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing to examine whether the US should do more to encourage STEM graduates of our universities to remain in the US once they've completed their studies.

Witnesses included:

Ms. Darla Whitaker, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, Texas Instruments

Mr. Vivek Wadhwa, Director of Research, Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization

Dr. B Lindsay Lowell, PhD, Director of Policy Studies, Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown Univeristy

Mr. Barmak Nassirian, Associate Executive Director, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Washington, DC

Republicans Propose Significant & Jeopardizing Cuts to Science & Technology

House Science Republicans are proposing $1.5 billion in deficit reduction through cuts to S&T accounts in FY 2012. In an attempt to justify the partisan and questionable move, they say,"“Like you, we recognize the necessary task of controlling our nation’s ballooning deficit and getting our citizens back to work.  We also understand that the long term health of our country depends on our global competitiveness and the ability to continue to innovate.  With that in mind, we are recommending over $1.5 billion in savings in FY12 alone.  We believe that the attached recommendations prioritize research and development programs that protect our national security and leadership, allow private investors and the marketplace to thrive without undue Federal influence, and have the most potential for sustained long-term growth.” Among the proposed cuts or changes:

$600M reduction (33% cut) in DOE energy efficiency and renewable energy budgets.
No new funding for ARPA-E until programmatic improvements to ensure research funded is work that "industry itself is not likely to undertake."
Removal of DOE authority to provide loan guarantees for rprivate sector development of enewable energy facilities and systems.
$1.5M in savings in DOE electricity delivery and energy reliability.
Shifting DOE fossil fuel R&D away from carbon capture back to exploration.
Endorsing appropriators proposed cuts to the overall NASA budget and adding targeted cuts of $177M to NASA space science programs.
Expressing concerns about new "applied research" priorities at NSF (e.g. cybersecurity).
Cuts to NSF climate change programs (technology, research and education).
Endorsing appropriators proposed cuts to NSF education programs and urging funding for new teacher training program be used for Noyce Scholarships and Math/Science Partnerships instead.
Cutting NOAA "climate-focused efforts unrelated to weather forecasting and emergency preparedness functions."
Cutting EPA's global change research budget.
Endorsing proposed approprations cuts to NIST's Industrial Technology Services programs (elimination of Technology Innovation Program, Baldrige quality program and AMTech initiative.)
Giving NIST access to federal broadband spectrum revenues to support work on wireless related activities.

New Legislation to Promote Community Wind Projects

21 OCT: U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation that would promote the local production of wind energy by providing tax credits to more community wind projects across the country. Sens. Franken and Tester introduced the "Community Wind Act," which would expand the existing small wind Investment Tax Credit to projects with capacity up to 20 megawatts (MW). Currently, a 30 percent investment tax credit is available for wind turbines with nameplate capacity up to 100 kilowatts. This legislation amends the credit by expanding it to projects with total capacity of no more than 20 MW. There is no restriction on the size of any individual turbine.

"Locally-owned wind projects are an important part of our nation's energy future and they're a great investment for rural communities in Minnesota because their profits go right back to farmers and members of rural communities," said Sen.
Franken. "Unfortunately, these projects often have difficulty getting financing. This legislation would make it easier for community wind projects to get up and running and help communities all over Minnesota and all over the country invest in the future."

"Montana possesses immense potential for wind energy development," said Sen. Tester. "Initiatives like this put rural communities on a level playing field when developing their own energy sources to create jobs and grow local economies. This bill is an important step forward for gaining energy independence and I hope the Senate passes this common-sense bill as soon as possible."

More information on the Community Wind Act is available here and the full text of the bill can be found here. The legislation has the support of over 40 energy stakeholders in Minnesota and many more across the country. A list of supporting organizations is available here.

Sen. Franken has long been an advocate of wind power and other forms of renewable energy. Earlier this year, he was named to the Senate Energy Committee and since then, he and his staff have held a series of meetings, site visits and listening sessions with energy interests across the state. More information on Sen. Franken's work on wind energy can be found here.


NASA Contest Heralds Dawn of the Electric Plane

NASA has provided a $1.65 million prize for the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation Green Flight Challenge competition, sponsored by Google. The competition took place in early October outside of Santa Rosa, CA. The purse is the largest aviation prize in history and attracted 13 teams, all led by American innovators. Three teams successfully completed aircraft and flight qualification requirements and are competing for the purse. Teams are flying electric and biofueled powered aircraft to prove they have the most fuel efficient, small aircraft in the world.

"Start Breaking Stuff'": Advice From America’s Top Young Women Scientists

What advice do some of the top women scientists and engineers in America have for girls all over the country? “Go ahead and start breaking stuff,” said researcher Gayle Hagler in the above White House video, because that’s how she got her start.

White House Announces Initiative To Help USCIS Obtain Industry Expertise

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas joined the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Pittsburgh this month to announce “Entrepreneurs in Residence.”  This new innovative initiative will use industry expertise to strengthen USCIS policies and practices surrounding immigrant investors, entrepreneurs and workers with specialized skills, knowledge, or abilities. Mayorkas announced the initiative at the Jobs Council’s High Growth Entrepreneurship Listening and Action Session at AlphaLab in Pittsburgh before the Council’s quarterly meeting with President Obama.

“This initiative creates additional opportunities for USCIS to gain insights in areas critical to economic growth,” said Director Mayorkas. “The introduction of expert views from the private and public sector will help us to ensure that our policies and processes fully realize the immigration law’s potential to create and protect American jobs.”

“Entrepreneurs in Residence” launches with a series of informational summits with industry leaders to gather high-level strategic input. Informed by the summits, UCIS will create a tactical team comprised of entrepreneurs and experts, working with USCIS personnel, to design and implement effective solutions. This initiative will strengthen USCIS’s collaboration with industries, at the policy, training, and officer level, while complying with all current Federal statutes and regulations.

The initiative builds upon USCIS’s August announcement of efforts to promote startup enterprises and spur job creation, including enhancements to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program. Since August, USCIS is:

  • Conducting a review of the EB-5 process
  • Working with business analysts to enhance the EB-5 adjudication process
  • Implementing direct access for EB-5 Regional Center applicants to reach adjudicators quickly; and
  • Launching new specialized training modules for USCIS officers on the EB-2 visa classification and L-1B nonimmigrant intra-company transferees.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit and the USCIS blog The Beacon.


IEEE-USA In The News

Recent IEEE-USA Testimony, and Letters to Congress & Administration

IEEE-USA Press Releases

Public Policy Priority Issues(112th Congress, 1st Session, 2011) -- Committees of IEEE volunteers draft IEEE-USA's public policy priorities, as well as all of IEEE-USA's position statements, and IEEE-USA's Board of Directors approves them. IEEE members interested in becoming involved with the development of the priorities, or working towards their implementation, should contact the committee in which they are interested.

Public Policy Position Statements on issues deemed to be of concern to or affecting IEEE's U.S. members. The statements make specific public policy recommendations for the consideration of Congress, the Executive Branch, the Judiciary, representatives of State and Local Government, and other interested groups and individuals, including IEEE members.

IEEE-USA E-Books - To see the latest E-Books, visit our online catalog which includes the 2010 IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefits Survey, the 2010 Profile of IEEE Consultants and two new GovDocs.

Have an Idea For an IEEE-USA E-Book? - If you've got an idea for an e-book that will educate your fellow IEEE members on a particular topic of expertise, e-mail your e-book queries and ideas to IEEE-USA Publishing Manager Georgia Stelluto.

WEBINAR What Does it Take to be an IEEE-USA Government Fellow?

WEBINAR November 22, 2011 at 2:00pm EST

Each year, IEEE-USA sponsors three government fellowships in which each recipient gets to spend a year in Washington serving as advisers to the U.S. Congress and to key U.S. Department of State decision-makers. Known as either a Congressional Fellowship or an Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowship, this program links science, technology and engineering professionals with government, and provides a mechanism for IEEE's U.S. members to learn firsthand about the public policy process while imparting their knowledge and experience to policymakers.

IEEE-USA wants to offer IEEE members some insight into what happens during this year long fellowship. Rebecca Taylor talk about some of the issues she's been able to have an impact on during her time in Washington.

PRESENTER: Ms. Taylor is an IEEE-USA Engineering & Diplomacy Fellow for 2011. Ms. Taylor will discuss the process and benefits of applying and being selected for this fellowship. She is serving the U.S. Department of State as Senior Advisor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State. An inventor and holder of patents in the field of mobile device communications, Ms. Taylor has formed or advised numerous software and hardware technology startups over the past 20 years. She is a speaker on topics related to starting companies, and judges university-led, international business plan competitions. Ms. Taylor has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Iowa State University and a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the University of Texas' LBJ School.

U.S. STATES - If you like to keep up with what's going on in state politics, provides a good overview of the activities in all 50 state legislatures.'s annual report on state trends and policy, "State of the States 2009" is now available. The report is full of helpful graphics and maps, in addition to reports on the most significant developments in the 50 states.


National Science Foundation Recent opportunities can be found here.

AAAS GrantsNet Express - A weekly American Association for the Advancement of Science listing of science funding opportunities from private foundations and organizations, and new U.S. government grant announcements in the sciences. AAAS will send GrantsNet by e-mail to AAAS member subscribers.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solicitations - The majority of EERE financial opportunities are for business, industry, and universities. - The President's 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda established as a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs. The site provides access to approximately $400 billion in annual awards. Most agencies, such as the DOE's Office of Science, use only to list all funding opportunities. Other funding opportunities of interest include the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and NASA.

AAAS: Communicating Science, Tools for Scientists & Engineers - Scientists and engineers who foster information-sharing and respect between science and the public are essential for the public communication of and engagement with science. Although traditional scientific training typically does not prepare scientists and engineers to be effective communicators outside of academia, funding agencies are increasingly encouraging researchers to extend beyond peer-reviewed publishing and communicate their results directly to the greater public. In response to this need in science communications, the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology has partnered with the National Science Foundation to provide resources for scientists and engineers, both online and through in-person workshops to help researchers communicate more broadly with the public.


FIRST LOOK: GREEN TECH SEEN AS FUTURE - The Economist Intelligence Unit released a report, sponsored by GE, on the "Future of U.S. Manufacturing," based on a survey of 360 senior manufacturing executives. Among the findings: "When asked which sectors offered the greatest opportunity for growth over the next three years, they chose green tech (selected by 43% of respondents), energy (42%), high-tech (42%) and pharma/biotech (37%). ...The survey also found that executives favored government investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education over corporate tax cuts."

U.S. House

Recommendations of the House Republican Cybersecurity Task Force

Government Accountability Office

Federal Chief Information Officers: Opportunities Exist to Improve Role in Information Technology Management GAO-11-634, Sep 15, 2011 Summary (HTML) Highlights Page (PDF)  Full Report (PDF, 72 pages) Accessible Text Recommendations (HTML)

Yucca Mountain: Information on Alternative Uses of the Site and Related Challenges GAO-11-847, Sep 16, 2011 Summary (HTML) Highlights Page (PDF)  Full Report (PDF, 57 pages)  Accessible Text

Data Mining: DHS Needs to Improve Executive Oversight of Systems Supporting Counterterrorism GAO-11-742, Sep 7, 2011 Summary (HTML) Highlights Page (PDF) Full Report (PDF, 75 pages) Accessible Text Recommendations (HTML)

Congressional Research Service

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act: Innovation Issues

Fiscal Impacts of the Foreign-Born Population

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program: Reauthorization Efforts

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2012

The FCC’s Authority to Regulate Net Neutrality After Comcast v. FCC

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

Congressional Budget Office

Cost Estimate - S. 1549, American Jobs Act of 2011

U.S. Department of Energy

The First Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR) - launched at the recommendation of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, lays out the principles that DoE will use to answer the question, "How should the department choose among the many technically viable activities it should pursue?"

Top of Page | What's New@IEEE | IEEE-USA

What's New @ IEEE-USA's Eye on Washington highlights important federal legislative and regulatory developments that affect U.S. engineers and their careers. In addition to this biweekly newsletter, subscribers receive legislative bulletins and action alerts on IEEE-USA priority issues, including: retirement security, employment benefits, research & development funding, computers and information policy, immigration reform, intellectual property protection and privacy of health/medical information.

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