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September 2012 Public Policy News

September 20, 2012: ITIF releases new competitiveness report: A comprehensive strategy aimed at strengthening U.S. establishments competing in global markets is needed for the United States to boost short-term recovery and long-term prosperity, according to a report released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The report, Fifty Ways to Leave Your Competitiveness Woes Behind: A National Traded Sector Competitiveness Strategy, presents 50 federal-level policy recommendations to help restore U.S. traded sector competitiveness, along with 13 state-level recommendations.

September 14, 2012: Office of Management and Budget releases report on possible sequestration effects: On Friday the Office of Management and Budget released a report detailing the budget cuts that would go into effect in January because of budget sequestration, or automatic reduction of funding, a prospect that is looking increasingly likely according to some defense analysts. "[It] leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions," warns the report. OMB acknowledged that the report provides "only preliminary estimates of the sequestration's impact on more than 1,200 budget accounts." In addition, the report did not identify any "programs, projects and activities" that will be cut, because OMB needs more time to identify these. Different agencies are affected at different levels. Here's a report on NASA's potential funding cuts. The AAAS has published estimates of sequestration impacts on the science budgets of other agencies through 2017. You can read background on sequestration and the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

September 12, 2012: Business group releases State-by-State STEM Vital Signs: Change the Equation has released the 2012 STEM Vital Signs, which provide state and national data on the current condition of STEM teaching and learning. The 2012 Vital Signs provide state and national information on the demand for STEM skills and knowledge, student achievement in STEM, academic standards and expectations, access to STEM skills and knowledge, teacher preparation, and school support. You can find the state reports and summaries here

September 11, 2012: Former Intel head says optics and photonics research investment is needed for U.S. to compete globally: Identifying optics and photonics as key technologies -- a direction already being followed by many economies around the world -- is a necessary step for the U.S. to take in ensuring that it remains a strong player, former CEO/Chairman of the Board for Intel Corporation Craig Barrett said in an interview Monday with SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs for the SPIE Newsroom website. "I think the key issue here is really singling out photonics and optics as one of the key technologies of the 21st century," Barrett said. "Just about every other major economic power has done the same thing already. Unless the US continues to aggressively pursue research and basic technology development in this area, we'll fall behind." Read the full interview here.

September 6, 2012: National Academies 'Optics and Photonics' report to receive high-level launch in D.C.: High-level speakers at an exclusive launch event for a new National Academies (NA) report will help underscore the importance of optics and photonics to the U.S. economy as well as to technological progress. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and retired CEO/Chairman of the Board for Intel Corporation Craig Barrett will be the keynote speakers at an invitation-only briefing on the newly released report "Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for our Nation," authored by a committee of the National Research Council of the NA. The briefing will be held Wednesday, September 12, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is a sponsor of the event along with a second briefing on Capitol Hill later in the afternoon as part of the House R&D Caucus. Speakers at the afternoon event will include Martin Richardson, University of Central Florida; Greg Olsen, Princeton University; Tom Baer, Stanford University; and SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. Read more here.

September 3, 2012: U.S. Presidential candidates answer questions on science policy: ScienceDebate - a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative to get presidential candidates to address science and technology issues along the campaign trail has released the responses from President Obama and Governor Romney to fourteen different science-related questions. Their answers can be compared at http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/. Topics include: climate change, vaccinations, food safety, energy, education, space.