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July 2014 Public Policy News

31 July: Rockefeller, Durbin, Nelson, Pryor, Coons, Markey Introduce America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014: 
The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 builds on the goals and successes of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and its reauthorization in 2010. The Senators' billwould authorize stable and sustained increases in federal research and development (R&D) funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The bill would also promote the economic benefits of promising R&D and address agency efforts, including at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to increase participation in STEM fields, including among women and minorities. Read more

Optics and photonics language in the COMPETES bill by the Senate Commerce Committee:

Subtitle A—Innovation Ecosystems
Sec. 611. Regional innovation program.
Sec. 612. Workforce studies.
Sec. 613. National strategic plan for advanced manufacturing.
Sec. 614. Sense of Congress; optics and photonics innovations.


It is the sense of Congress that—
(1) optics and photonics research and technologies promote U.S. global competitiveness in industry sectors, including telecommunications and information technology, energy, healthcare and medicine, manufacturing, and defense;

Federal science agencies, industry, and academia should seek partnerships to develop basic research in optics and photonics into more mature technologies and capabilities; and Federal science agencies, as appropriate, should—
(A) identify optics and photonics-related programs within their agencies;
(B) partner with the private sector and academia to leverage knowledge and resources and to promote innovation in optics and photonics.

29 July: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council issue a Request for Information: Strategy for American Innovation:
The RFI is looking for "proposals for promising new initiatives or pressing needs for renewed investment to be included in next year's updated strategy." Deadline for submission is September 23. Read more

22 July: White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Issues a Request for Information: Critical and Strategic Materials: The focus of the RFI is on raw materials needs for new supply chains and processing technologies. As the global economy grows, there are increasing concerns regarding the availability and access to the raw materials that will be necessary to sustain U.S. economic growth and advance other national policies. As the criticality of materials shifts over time, studying the early warning signs and the underlying forces of potential material supply disruption can inform proactive policy development for emerging critical materials. The views of U.S. industry and other stakeholders are important to inform both an understanding of current conditions and the characterization of anticipated future demand for critical materials.  Deadline for submissions is 31 August. Read more (PDF 1 MB)

22- 31 July: The Senate Appropriations Committee has released draft versions of the reports accompanying the various FY 2015 Appropriations Bills:

18 July: House Passes Research and Development Bills: The House of Representatives passed three bi-partisan bills relevant to the scientific community.  A fourth, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Policy Reauthorization Act was pulled from consideration but is expected to be voted on shortly by the House. Read more

15 July: NPI District Visits Week
: The National Photonics Initiative is organizing a District Visits Week for the week of August 11-15. During the week of August 11-15, have one of your Congressional representatives tour your facility and see firsthand the work in photonics taking place in their district. Read more

8 July: Uncertain Outlook for FY 2015 Appropriations Bills:
The House and Senate have returned to Washington after the July 4 recess with relatively few legislative days to pass FY 2015 funding bills before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. After a surprisingly promising start to this year's appropriations process with senior congressional leaders predicting that at least some of the twelve bills would be enacted to avoid stop-gap funding legislation, the outlook is now highly uncertain. Read more

2 July: The State Department's Science and Technology Advisor, Dr. William Colglazier, is stepping down late this month at the end of his three year term, and the Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment is convening a meeting of science and engineering society representatives on 24 July to discuss the role of the science advisor and the qualities that should be emphasized in the recruitment process.

State is also accepting nominations by email through 31 July. Read more (PDF 1 MB) and view the position description (PDF 1 MB)

The White House Office of Science and Technoloyg Policy blog
-- latest posts:

  • Maximizing the Impact of Social Spending Using Evidence-Based Policy and the Low-cost Randomized Controlled Trial Competition
  • Announcing the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative Demo Day
  • More than Ten Thousand Citizens Hack for Good at the Second-Annual National Day of Civic Hacking
  • US Ignite Fosters Technology for the Next Generation
  • Executive Actions to Accelerate Impact Investing to Create Jobs and Strengthen Communities