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October 2016 Public Policy News

11 October 2016: Final Rule on Export Control Category XII Released: The Obama Administration released the final rule of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for Category XII, part of the Administration's Export Control Reform effort. Category XII encompasses fire control, laser, imaging, and guidance equipment that the United States considers critical to national security.  Read More

11 October 2016: Making Human Settlement of Space a Reality: The Obama Administration announces two new NASA initiatives that build on the President's vision to enable humans to sustainably live and work in space. Read More

7 October 2016: UN Report Promotes Science as Key to Sustainable Development and Sound Decision-Making: A report published by the U.N. Scientific Advisory Board on 18 September finds a need for greater integration of science into international decision-making. It also calls on the U.N. to establish international targets for national R&D funding, which the board argues will contribute to meeting U.N. sustainable development goals. Read More

5 October 2016: Thomas Zurbuchen Assumes Leadership of NASA's Science Mission Directorate: SPIE Member Thomas Zurbuchen, a specialist in solar and heliospheric physics and a proponent of entrepreneurship, has been named the new head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Read More

4 October 2016: House Committee Takes Aim at Burdensome Academic Research Regulations: At a House Science Committee hearing held last week, members expressed bipartisan support for the goal of reducing regulatory burdens experienced by federally funded university researchers. They asked witnesses to explain how actions such as the creation of a new Research Policy Board could help achieve that goal. Read More

3 October 2016: Hearing Spotlights Defense Lab Needs Under DOD Innovation Strategy: At a hearing 28 September, the House Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee discussed the role and health of the Defense Department's research laboratories in the context of the department's Third Offset Strategy to leverage innovation to preserve U.S. military superiority. Witnesses from the labs focused on administrative obstacles and aging facilities as the primary burdens preventing the labs from fully realizing their potential. Read More

29 September 2016: Congress Extends Government Funding Through 9 December, Punts on Science-Related Legislation: The president signed a stopgap spending bill that extends current fiscal year funding for the federal government through 9 December. With Congress recessing at the end of this week to campaign for the general election, major science-related legislation will not see further movement earlier than mid-November. Read More

27 September 2016: NIST Organizes Challenge to Uncover Impacts of Federal Lab Research: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Journal of Technology Transfer are launching a prize challenge to encourage development of these impact studies. The challenge will develop metrics that measure economic and societal impacts at the local, regional, national or global levels. These metrics will then be available to policy makers and stakeholders to evaluate the net impact of federally developed technologies. Read More

22 September 2016: Cancer Researcher Rebecca Richards-Kortum Awarded MacArthur 'Genius Grant': SPIE Senior Member Rebecca Richards-Kortum is being congratulated by SPIE leaders following today's announcement of her inclusion among the 2016 MacArthur Fellows. Richards-Kortum is a professor and cancer researcher at Rice University, with particular focus on the needs of the developing world. Read More

20 September 2016: National Nanotechnology Initiative Review Urges 'Focus,' Emphasizes Commercialization: The National Academies has issued its latest triennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, focusing many of its recommendations on the need to foster commercialization. The initiative itself has released a draft of its 2016 strategic plan for public comment. Read More

20 September 2016: Presidential Science Debate 2016: The four major candidates for United States president have now responded to ScienceDebate.org's Top 20 Presidential Science, Engineering, Technology, Health and Environmental Questions. On August 10, a blue-ribbon coalition of fifty-six leading U.S. nonpartisan organizations, representing more than 10 million scientists and engineers, called on the to address the questions. Read More

15 September 2016: Congress Is Expected to Boost Research and Development Spending: Congress is on track to increase federal spending for research and development programs by at least $3.1 billion in fiscal 2017 over the previous year, a noteworthy boost at a time when overall federal discretionary spending is slated to remain flat, according to AAAS' latest analysis of federal spending programs. Read More

13 September 2016: 'Severe' Shortages of Key Medical Isotopes Possible, National Academies Report Warns: A congressionally mandated report released yesterday by the National Academies warns that severe shortages of molybdenum-99 and its radioactive decay product technetium-99m, an isotope used in medical imaging procedures, are possible after a key Canadian supplier ceases production in October 2016. Read More

Read other past issues of the Public Policy News.