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January 2017 Public Policy News

13 January 2017: Comment Period Open for Notice of Inquiry Affecting Optics and Photonics Export Controls: Notice of Inquiry seeking public opinion about reinstating technical parameters where “specially designed” is used in export control regulations revised late last year was released today for public inspection via the Federal Register. Leaders of SPIE are advising the community that the level of public comment received will influence whether the wording is retained.  Read More

11 January 2017: Strong Role for Optics and Photonics in American Innovation and Competitiveness Act Hailed by SPIE: The photonics industry and STEM advocates associated with SPIE are commending the U.S. Congress and President Obama for their recognition of the importance of optics and photonics, following the signing Friday by the President of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA).  Read More

9 January 2017: President Obama Honors Federally-Funded Early-Career Scientists: President Obama named 102 scientists and researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.  Read More

6 January 2017: National Science and Technology Council Sprinting to the Finish Line with New Releases: The National Science and Technology Council has increased the pace of its report releases during the waning days of the Obama administration. Recent releases address national disaster preparedness and resilience, open access to federally supported research, Arctic research, and the use of alternatives to radioisotopic sources, among other policy priorities.  Read More

5 January 2017: Unfinished Business: Energy Policy Bill Runs Out of Fuel: The House and Senate failed to reach a compromise on a sweeping energy policy bill with numerous R&D-related provisions before the end of the 114th Congress. The effort may be revived in the new Congress, but the character of the bill could change considerably since the Republicans will control the White House as well as both chambers of Congress.  Read More

27 December 2016: Unfinished Business: NASA Authorization Bill Fails to Clear Final Hurdles: In the final days of the 114th Congress, the Senate passed legislation providing NASA with new policy guidance for the first time since 2010. But, by the time the bill arrived in the House, lawmakers had already left Washington for the year. While the original version of the bill introduced in September addressed NASA’s science activities only briefly, the final version contained a number of additional science-related provisions.  Read More

23 December 2016: Statement by the President on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act: The Office of the Press Secretary released the statement by President Obama on signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.  Read the Statement

21 December 2016: Obama Administration Announces New Manufacturing USA Institute, Third Institute Awarded in Three Weeks: The Department of Defense awarded the new Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing USA institute, which brings together a consortium of 87 partners from across industry, academia, and government to develop the manufacturing technologies for life-saving cells, tissues, and organs. Led by The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), Inc., headquartered in Manchester, NH, brings nearly $300 million in public-private investment from leading manufacturers and universities to develop the cells, tissues, and organs that may one day restore form and function to wounded warriors and civilians.  Read the Fact Sheet

20 December 2016: Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy: The White House released a new report on the ways that artificial intelligence will transform our economy over the coming years and decades.  Read More

20 December 2016: NIST Asks Public to Help Future-Proof Electronic Information: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is officially asking the public for help heading off a looming threat to information security: quantum computers, which could potentially break the encryption codes used to protect privacy in digital systems. NIST is requesting methods and strategies from the world’s cryptographers, with the deadline less than a year away.  Read More

19 December 2016: Trump Selects Rick Perry, a Critic of Federal Bureaucracy, for Energy Secretary: President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Texas Governor Rick Perry as his nominee for Secretary of Energy. Perry is a critic of the federal bureaucracy who has advocated for DOE’s elimination and derided climate science as systematically biased, but he is also an advocate for innovation in clean energy.  Read More

16 December 2016: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Announces Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Institute Joining Manufacturing USA Network: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced an award of $70 million to the new National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), the eleventh institute in the Manufacturing USA network. This is the first institute with a focus area proposed by industry and the first funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). NIIMBL will help to advance U.S. leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry, foster economic development, improve medical treatments and ensure a qualified workforce by collaborating with educational institutions to develop new training programs matched to specific biopharma skill needs.  Read More

Read other past issues of the Public Policy News.