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What's New @ IEEE-USA - Eye On Washington

Vol. 2010, No. 6 (15 May 2010)

CAPITOL HILL

Senate Forms Aerospace Caucus

House Votes to Recommit AMERICA COMPETES Act

House Passes S&T Resolutions to Honor NSF and Improve STEM Participation with Bipartisan Support

Engineering Education for Innovation Act (HR 4709/S 3043) by Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Senator Kirsten Gillebrand (D-NY)

THE WHITE HOUSE

Vice President Biden Announces Recovery Act Funding for 37 Transformational Energy Research Projects: New ARPA-E projects in 17 states will accelerate innovation in clean energy technologies, increase America's competitiveness and create jobs

Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Sebelius Announce Selection of 15 Health IT Pilot Communities through Recovery Act Beacon Community Program: Awards to Help Communities Achieve Meaningful Health Care Improvements through Technology, Lay Foundation for Industry Expected to Support Tens of Thousands of Jobs

FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITY

Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Hold Workshop on Promoting Innovation

National Lab Day

LATEST IEEE-USA & IEEE ACTIVITIES

Meet the IEEE 2010 WISE Interns

2010 Congressional Visits Day (CVD)

U.S. STATES

AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS & GRANTS

REPORTS, DOCUMENTS OF NOTE & INFO RESOURCES

US Department of Energy Issues Roadmap for Nuclear R&D

Report Illustrates Companies, Jobs Created Through Federally-Funded Basic Research


CAPITOL HILL

Senate Forms Aerospace Caucus

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kit Bond (R-MO) have announced the formation of a new Aerospace Caucus. Special concerns will include: procurement reform, aerospace workforce development, math and science education, new technology investments, increasing Research and development, and modernizing the nation's aviation infrastructure and air traffic control system.

House Votes to Recommit AMERICA COMPETES Act

The House of Representatives passed a Motion to Recommit (MTR) H.R. 5116, a bill reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act, due to several concerns raised by Republicans.*** Republicans supported many of the programs in the underlying bill but raised concerns regarding increased costs, a shift in priorities, and the use of Federal funding represented in some programs.

"I remain committed to the underlying goals of the America COMPETES Act and believe that we should continue to prioritize investments in basic research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education," said Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX). The Republican MTR called for:

--Eliminating funding authorizations beyond 2013;
--Striking the new programs in the bill;
--Freezing funding for all existing programs at current levels for 2011-2013 unless there is no deficit;
--Providing special consideration to schools that make STEM programs available to disabled veterans and gives special consideration to schools chartered to serve disabled students;
--Prohibiting any Federal employee who has been disciplined for downloading, viewing, or exchanging pornographic material from receiving a salary on the taxpayer dollar; and
--Ensuring that institutions receiving Federal funding allow military recruiters on their campuses.

Additionally, the bill establishes six new programs and initiatives: Department of Energy (DOE) energy innovation hubs, a Department of Commerce (DOC) loan guarantee program, DOC regional innovation clusters, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Pilot Program on Prizes, a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) "Innovative Services Initiative," and a NIST Bioscience Research Program.  Republicans raised concerns that many of these programs signal a shift in focus, funding activities beyond basic science research and development.

The Science & Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) said, "I'm disappointed that politics trumped good policy. The Minority was willing to trade American jobs and our nation's economic competitiveness for the chance to run a good political ad. If at any point during the 48 hearings we've held on this bill, the Minority brought up their concerns with isolated incidents of federal employees viewing pornography, or if they had made an amendment in order during any of the three Subcommittee markups, the Full Committee Markup, or the Floor Consideration, I would have been happy to vote for that amendment. We're all opposed to federal employees watching pornography. That is not a question; but that's not what this was about. The Motion to Recommit was about gutting funding for our science agencies."

***MTR = A motion whereby, after the third reading of a bill on the floor, but before the Speaker orders the House to vote on final passage of the bill, the House returns the bill to the committee which originally reported it.

House Passes S&T Resolutions to Honor NSF and Improve STEM Participation with Bipartisan Support

The House approved H.Res.1307, honoring the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its 60 years of service to the nation, and H.Res.1213,recognizing the need to improve the participation and performance of America's students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, and supporting the ideals of National Lab Day.

Engineering Education for Innovation Act (HR 4709/S 3043)

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION - (by Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Senator Kirsten Gillebrand (D-NY)) To strengthen pre-college math and science teaching by authorizing the Secretary of Education to award planning, implementation and evaluation grants to enable state educational agencies (SEAs) to introduce engineering design concepts and problem solving applications in K-12 classroom curricula and instruction. (Legislative Status Report & List of Supporting Organizations)


THE WHITE HOUSE

Vice President Biden Announces Recovery Act Funding for 37 Transformational Energy Research Projects: New ARPA-E projects in 17 states will accelerate innovation in clean energy technologies, increase America's competitiveness and create jobs

At a recent Recovery Act Cabinet Meeting, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that the U.S. Department of Energy is awarding $106 million in funding for 37 ambitious research projects that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy.  Funded through DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the $106 million is awarded to projects that could produce advanced biofuels more efficiently from renewable electricity instead of sunlight; design completely new types of batteries to make electric vehicles more affordable; and remove the carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants in a more cost-effective way.

Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Sebelius Announce Selection of 15 Health IT Pilot Communities through Recovery Act Beacon Community Program: Awards to Help Communities Achieve Meaningful Health Care Improvements through Technology, Lay Foundation for Industry Expected to Support Tens of Thousands of Jobs

Vice President Biden and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the selection of 15 communities across the country to serve as pilot communities for eventual wide-scale use of health information technology through the Beacon Community program.  The $220 million in Recovery Act awards will not only help achieve meaningful and measurable improvements in health care quality, safety and efficiency in the selected communities, but also help lay the groundwork for an emerging health IT industry that is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs.


FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITY

Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Hold Workshop on Promoting Innovation

The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that they will hold a joint public workshop on May 26th, on the intersection of patent policy and competition policy and its implications for promoting innovation. Assistant Attorney General for the department's Antitrust Division Christine Varney, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David J. Kappos, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will give opening remarks at the morning session of the workshop. FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez will open the afternoon session.

National Lab Day

NSF joined 100s of public and private partners in National Lab Day, an initiative connecting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers with STEM professionals who volunteer to share their expertise--and their passion--for science and engineering with students. It is hoped that May 12 will be the beginning of long-term commitments on the part of those in the wider NSF community to engage in helping our nation's STEM teachers. National Lab Day is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and the McArthur Foundation


LATEST IEEE-USA & IEEE ACTIVITIES

 

  • Public Policy Priority Issues (111th Congress, 2nd Session, 2010)

  • 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.

Meet the IEEE 2010 WISE Interns - Kristie Chin, a Brown University senior with dual civil engineering and architectural studies degrees; and Levi Lyons, a University of Kansas junior majoring in electrical engineering and accounting.

2010 Congressional Visits Day (CVD) - More than 270 scientists, engineers, and educators convened on Capitol Hill for the 15th Annual Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (CVD) on April 28 and 29. Included in the group were 40 IEEE members from all over the country. Each year, the CVD participants visit members of Congress to tout the importance of consistent research and development (R&D) investments in science and technology (S&T), urge further investments in R&D and science education, and to thank Members of Congress for landmark legislation such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

This year, Representatives David Wu (D-OR) and Ralph Hall (R-TX) received the George E. Brown Jr. Science-Engineering-Technology Leadership Award at a reception hosted by CVD organizers which highlighted 2010 as the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser. CVD occurs in the spring of each year.  If you would like to participate in 2011, please check in with your IEEE-USA Washington staff early next year for more information.


IEEE's 2010 CVD participants (far right) Steve Bonk and Marty Sokoloski with Congressman Ben Cardin (center)


2010 IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt (center) with IEEE's CVD participants

New IEEE-USA E-Books Available - Four new E-Books have been added to IEEE-USA's E-Book catalog, including the 2009 IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefits Survey, the 2009 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.


U.S. STATES

The  State R&D Sheets for 2010 are now available. IEEE-USA, along with ACS, MRS, and SPIE, sponsor development of the data and pages which is handled by ASTRA. They may be helpful to your committees and other activities. To access, visit
http://www.usinnovation.org/state/state_rd_list.asp

Stateline.org If you like to keep up with what's going on in state politics, StateLine.org provides a good overview of the activities in all 50 state legislatures. Stateline.org'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.


AWARDS, FELLOWHIPS & GRANTS

National Science Foundation Recent opportunities include:

Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) - SI2 is a long-term investment focused on catalyzing new thinking, paradigms, and practices in using software to understand natural, human, and engineered systems.  SI2's intent is to foster a pervasive cyberinfrastructure to help researchers address problems of unprecedented scale, complexity, resolution, and accuracy by integrating computation, data, networking and experiments in novel ways. It is NSF's expectation that SI2 investment will result in robust, reliable, usable and sustainable software infrastructure that is critical to the CF21 vision and will transform science and engineering. Full Proposal Deadline Date:  June 14, 2010

Computing in the Cloud (CiC) - While the main focus of the Computing in the Cloud (CiC) program is to stimulate basic and applied research in cloud computing through the Microsoft Azure platform, the potential to foster simultaneous advances in other fields of science and engineering is both recognized and encouraged. Full Proposal Deadline Date:  June 15, 2010

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.

Grants.gov - The President's 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda established grants.gov 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 grants.gov 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.


REPORTS, DOCUMENTS OF NOTE & INFO RESOURCES

US Department of Energy Issues Roadmap for Nuclear R&D

Report Illustrates Companies, Jobs Created Through Federally-Funded Basic Research - The Science Coalition - a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of 45 of the nation's leading public and private research universities - released a report titled Sparking Economic Growth: How federally funded university research creates innovation, new companies and jobs identifying 100 companies that are the result of federal investments in basic research, including Google, Genentech, A123 Systems, and Arbor Networks. The companies collectively employ well over 100,000 people and have annual revenues approaching $100 billion. "Investments in basic research lead to innovation and job creation. This report illustrates again the important role federally-funded basic research plays in our national economic competitiveness," said House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). Gordon also stressed that this is a "timely reminder" as the House considers the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. "COMPETES will keep our basic research programs on a path to doubling, spur innovation, and help ensure that all students have a strong grounding in math and science.  We need these investments to help ensure that the next Google is created here in the U.S."  

Government Accountability Office

Helium Program: Key Developments Since the Early 1990s and Future Considerations GAO-10-700T, May 13, 2010 Summary (HTML) Highlights Page (PDF) Full Report (PDF, 20 pages)

Auto Industry: Lessons Learned from Cash for Clunkers Program GAO-10-486, April 29, 2010 Summary (HTML) Highlights Page (PDF) Full Report (PDF, 43 pages)

Defense Infrastructure: Department of Defense Renewable Energy InitiativesGAO-10-681R, April 26, 2010 Summary (HTML)   Full Report (PDF, 89 pages)


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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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