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July 2012 Public Policy News

July 28, 2012: NSF expands program to teach researchers to be entrepreneurs: The National Science Foundation outlined plans on Wednesday to aggressively expand a program for teaching entrepreneurial skills to faculty members and graduate students, saying the initiative's first year has shown it to be a cost-effective pathway to commercializing discoveries. The program, called I-Corps, involves teaching scientists the basic skills of marketing their inventions. "The United States has a long history of investing in--and deploying--technological advances derived from a foundation of basic research," says NSF Director Subra Suresh. "And the NSF mission connects advancing the nation's prosperity and welfare with our passionate pursuit of scientific knowledge. I-Corps will help strengthen a national innovation ecosystem that firmly unites industry with scientific discoveries for the benefit of society." Read more here.

July 23, 2012: Navy establishes Rapid Innovation Fund for small companies: The Navy is looking for research and development projects that can bring new technologies quickly to bear. The projects need to be completed within 24-months but preference will be given to projects that bring the innovation to the warfighter within 12 months. The service will give up to $3 million to small businesses. The fund has a budget of $50 million for the Rapid Innovation Fund. The areas of interest include: energy security and independence, developing advanced materials, improving manufacturing technology and advancing microelectronics. White papers outlining individual proposals are due January 20, 2013. Read the pre-solicitation notice here.

July 18, 2012: Obama Administration launches new STEM initiative: The White House announced plans for the creation of a new STEM program that would build a Master Teacher Corp, which will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers. These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration will launch this Teacher Corps with the $1 billion from the President's 2013 budget request currently before Congress. Read the press release and President Obama's comments here.

July 13, 2012: Small Business Administration proposes changes to SBIR program: The Small Business Administration is currently drafting a policy directive that could potentially significantly change the way the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research program, the most successful federal research and development program in America, is managed. However, there is a brief window for citizens to submit comments to the SBA and influence the direction of this crucial program. To take action, simply visit this page and click on the green link to the right that says, "Submit a formal comment." The deadline for submitting comments is Monday, July 16th.

July 11, 2012: Small Business Administration releases funding announcement for regional innovation cluster program: The SBA will announce up to seven Regional Innovation Cluster (RICs) awards intended to support public-private partnerships that bring together businesses, academic institutions, economic development organizations and other local actors to lay the foundations of sustainable growth and economic competitiveness. Three of the awards will be set aside to support small businesses that provide cluster-related services. Proposals must be submitted by August 6, 2012. Read the announcement here.

July 5, 2012: Update on FY 2013 R&D appropriations: The AAAS has put together an overview table on the status of Congressional funding for research and development in the 2013 federal budget. You can access the table here. Additionally, you can find detailed summaries and agency-specific R&D appropriation tables for the following agencies on the AAAS R&D website: Transportation-HUD; Interior; USDA; Labor-HHS; Homeland Security; Energy & Water; Defense; Commerce-Justice-Science.