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Latest Public Policy News

Public Policy Spotlight

CFIUS Outbound Technology Review Removed from Proposed Legislation during Committee Consideration

U.S. interagency emerging and foundational technology review added
22 May 2018

Today both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives considered the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) in their respective committees of jurisdiction, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and House Financial Services Committee.

As originally introduced by Senator Cornyn and Representative Pittenger, FIRRMA would have added authority to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFUIS) to conduct an outbound technology review for any type of arrangement with a foreign person, such as a joint venture. Many companies and industry representatives, including SPIE, expressed strong concerns with this proposed new layer of review outside of the current process for export controls.

As a result of this input and negotiation, both committees removed this outbound technology provision during markup today, and instead establish an “emerging” and “foundational” technology review as part of the current export control process. Though there are some differences between the House and Senate bills, the basic concept is the same.

The emerging and foundational technology review would begin with an interagency process, including the Department of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and State, to identify the list of technologies considered emerging and foundational. The Department of Commerce would retain primary authority over deciding the level of control imposed on the technology identified in this new review process. However, Congress prescribes some minimum control levels in the bill, requiring a license for items identified as “emerging” or “foundational” to any “country subject to an embargo, including an arms embargo, imposed by the United States.” This notably includes China, as they are an arms embargoed country.

Both Senate and House amendments call for different kinds of reports following enactment. The Senate amendment calls on the Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to review within 180 days on “key national security technology capability advantages, competitions, and gaps between the United States and ‘‘near peer’’ nations” in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA).

While the House amendment calls for a review within 180 days on whether 744.21 of U.S. regulations should be expanded to all arms embargoed countries. Currently, this section only affects China, Venezuela and Russia. Also, the language calls for the review of unlicensed items on the Commerce Control List going to countries with an arms embargo.

SPIE will continue to track this legislation as it moves through Congress and advocate for SPIE member companies.

Unleashing American Innovation symposium
A government panel at the April 19, 2018, Unleashing American Innovation symposium
Photo credit: Peter Cutts

NIST Seeks Public Input to Help Increase Return on Investment from Federal Research
2 May 2018 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on May 1, 2018 to gather information about the current state of Federal technology transfer and the public’s ability to engage with Federal laboratories and access federally funded R&D through collaborations, licensing, and other mechanisms. The announcement includes four public forums that NIST will hold on May 17 in San Jose, California; May 21 in Denver, Colorado; May 31 in Chicago, Illinois; and June 14 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Registration is now open for these public forums.

The approximately $150 billion invested annually in Federal research and development (R&D) funding plays a crucial supporting role in U.S. economic growth and national security. To ensure that investment reaps the largest commercial, economic, and national security returns possible, NIST and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are co-leading the Lab-to-Market cross agency priority (CAP) goal in the recently released President’s Management Agenda. To carry out these efforts, NIST has launched the Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative to streamline and accelerate the transfer of technology from Federal Laboratories and federally-funded R&D at universities.

Through the RFI and the public forums, NIST is seeking broad input from Federal R&D, intellectual property, and technology transfer stakeholders in the public and private sectors to identify critically-needed improvements to Federal technology transfer efforts.  Read More


Other Policy News

Photonics21 publishes vision paper on how photonics will power growth and innovation
31 December 2017

Photonics21 presented their vision of the European photonics community in the document, "Europe's Age of Light! How photonics will power growth and innovation." The paper reports on outcomes from eight strategic workshops conducted in the European photonics community, each addressing a challenge facing Europe and the greater global community. The vision outlines how photonics technologies hope to solve these issues by 2030.  Read More

National Photonics Initiative and the National Academies Promote Study to Rally US Research in High-Intensity Ultrafast Lasers
23 December 2017 - Updated

A report published by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) outlines the steps the United States must take to regain global leadership in intense ultrafast laser technologies. SPIE congratulates the committee on its work and participated in the briefing sponsored by the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) on its findings on 14 December in Washington DC.  Read the SPIE press release

NPI also released a statement in support of the NAS report, “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light” in preparation for the 14 December briefing.  Read the NPI statement

Watch the recording of the briefing including comments from SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

National Photonics Initiative representatives meet with the new director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
14 December 2017 

SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs and OSA CEO Liz Rogan gathered in the Washington DC office of new NIST Director Walter Copan to represent the interests of the NPI. Dr. Arthurs offered a background on the NPI and the important role measurements and standards play in the growth of the optics and photonics industry, stressing the need to establish the US as a leader in creating standards for emerging areas. Dr. Rogan gave an overview of the new multi-society coalition effort on behalf of NIST, but also highlighting the important work NIST staff have contributed to date to the optics and photonics community. 

Arthurs and Rogan, in addition to proposing a NIST plan for advocacy, also reported on other initiatives of interest including the NPI Cancer Moonshot, the NPI Quantum Initiative, and opportunities for measurements and standards for medical imaging.

The National Academies hosts webinar on the Frontiers of Materials Research
8 December 2017

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a virtual town hall as part of the Decadal Survey on the Frontiers of Materials Research 12 December at 2pm EST. The webinar provided an overview of the survey on the sponsored by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. The survey committee's final report identifies key research priorities for federal agencies that support materials research, science policymakers, and researchers in the field. Learn more about the study and share your comments with the committee:  nas.edu/materials

SPIE Position Statement
30 November 2017

SPIE has great concern with language contained in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) that would repeal existing graduate student tax benefit provisions, such as the student loan interest deduction, graduate student tuition waivers, the Hope Scholarship Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit and educational assistance programs.

These tax provisions help provide financial relief to hard-working students seeking to further their education in STEM fields. Increasing the financial burden on students will drive many away from pursuing higher education, which works against goals to increase the level of citizens capable of fulfilling the needs of innovative companies and research laboratories throughout the United States. U.S. innovation is built upon the capable minds of those who contribute to it, and are critical to the future of U.S. economic growth.

NSF Selects Astrophysicist Anne Kinney to Lead Math and Physical Sciences Directorate
8 November 2017

The National Science Foundation has chosen Anne Kinney, currently chief scientist of the Keck Observatory, to lead NSF’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate. AIP spoke with Kinney about how she expects to draw on her past experiences as a science administrator once she takes on her new role in January.  Read More

University Leaders Warn Appropriators on Proposed Research Overhead Cuts
1 November 2017

Appropriators of both parties appear increasingly united in opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed 10 percent cap on research overhead reimbursements at the National Institutes of Health.  Read More

The European Commission launched the €30 billion ($35 billion) 2018–2020 Work Program for Horizon 2020
27 October 2017

The European Commission presented the final Work Programme for Horizon 2020, covering the budgetary years 2018, 2019 and 2020 and representing an investment of around €30 billion. The vast majority of this funding is allocated on the basis of competitive calls which are open to applications from researchers, businesses and other interested organizations located in any of the EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020. Organisations from third countries can also participate in the projects, subject to certain conditions.  Read the European Commission Fact Sheet

National Photonics Initiative Testifies During House Science Committee Hearing on Quantum
24 October 2017

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology and Subcommittee on Energy held a joint hearing, "American Leadership in Quantum Technology," featuring testimony from experts including Dr. Christopher Monroe, professor of physics at the University of Maryland and founder and chief scientist at IonQ, Inc., who testified on behalf of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) – an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics.
Read More

Watch the hearing. [Or read the written testimony by clicking on the various speakers' names on the hearing landing page.]

For more information, read the white paper published earlier this year titled, A Call for a National Quantum Initiative, where the NPI details how US investment in a National Quantum Initiative will accelerate the development of commercially available quantum-based technologies to facilitate growth in the US economy and keep pace with accelerating international competition.
Read the white paper

For further coverage of the hearing and to understand the power of quantum computing, read the article 'The Computer That Could Rule the World' written by Arthur Herman, author and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, for the Wall Street Journal on 27 October 2017.  Read the article

Dr. Walter Copan Confirmed as NIST Director
11 October 2017

Dr. Walter Copan was confirmed by Congress as Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director on 5 October 2017. Dr. Copan has had a distinguished and diverse career as a science and technology executive in large and small corporations, US government, nonprofit and other public-sector settings.  Read More

Moonshot Acceleration Factor: Medical Imaging
10 October 2017

Medical imaging is essential to screening, early diagnosis, and monitoring responses to cancer treatments and, when used with other diagnostics, provides guidance for clinicians in choosing the most effective patient management plan that maximizes survivorship and quality of life. At a gathering of agency officials, patient advocacy organizations, industry/professional stakeholder groups, and clinical/basic science academicians, recommendations were made on why and how one should build a “cancer knowledge network” that includes imaging. Steps to accelerate the translation and clinical adoption of cancer discoveries to meet the goals of the Cancer Moonshot include harnessing computational power and architectures, developing data sharing policies, and standardizing medical imaging and in vitro diagnostics.  Read the Report

Photonics will Power Industry 4.0, says Photonics21 Work Group
5 October 2017

Photonics devices and their applications have revolutionized society through innovative industrial production processes and working conditions, asserted participants in a meeting 11 September in Frankfurt of the Photonics 21 Work Group on Industrial Manufacturing and Quality.  Read More

National Photonics Initiative, Edmund Optics Host US Congresswoman Martha McSally
21 September 2017

The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, and Edmund Optics (EO), the premier provider of optical components, today welcomed US Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ) to the company's Tucson Research and Design Center to showcase Southern Arizona's strength in optics and photonics – the science and application of light.  Read More

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