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May 2017 Public Policy News

5 May 2017: Final FY17 Appropriations: NASA: The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 provides a 3.1 percent increase for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Planetary Science will receive a 12 percent increase and is instructed to proceed with a Europa lander mission. Heliophysics will receive a smaller increase while Earth Science funding will remain unchanged. As work on the James Webb Space Telescope ramps down, total funds allocated to Astrophysics activities will decrease.  Read More

4 May 2017: Final FY17 Appropriations: National Science Foundation: The final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 provides flat funding for the National Science Foundation’s research and education programs. Unlike in previous fiscal years, the bill does not include constraints on how NSF is to distribute funds among its six research directorates.  Read More

3 May 2017: Final FY17 Appropriations: DOE Office of Science: The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 provides a 0.8 percent increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science. Five of the office’s six research programs are set to receive funding increases, while Fusion Energy Sciences will receive a 13 percent cut as further U.S. contributions to the ITER fusion facility are withheld.  Read More

3 May 2017: Executive Order Creating National Space Council Expected Soon: An executive order by President Trump reestablishing the National Space Council is already written and is likely to be formally issued in the near future, a key advisor said 1 May.  Read More

2 May 2017: Congress Stands by Science in Final Budget Deal: Congress has reached a final agreement on a fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill that boosts funding for a few science agencies while holding others steady. The bill stands in stark contrast to a Trump administration proposal that would have imposed deep cuts on federal science to help pay for a defense and border security buildup.  Read More

28 April 2017: House Science Committee Showcases Recent Progress in Astrobiology This week, the House Science Committee held a hearing to discuss new developments in the field of astrobiology, a favorite subject of Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX). Committee members praised work in the field and agreed with the witnesses’ appraisal of its popular appeal and inherent importance.  Read More.

28 April 2017: The First 100 Days: What Trump Has Done on Space So Far: President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office have been busy, but the flurry of activity hasn't extended much into the final frontier.  Read More

27 April 2017: Photonics Volunteers Urge Congressional Support for Funding Science Programs, Higher Education: Volunteers supported by SPIE and other National Photonics Initiative partners joined other scientists, researchers, engineers, and industry professionals in visiting U.S. Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., yesterday to urge support for measures to strengthen America's ability to compete in the world photonics industry.  Read More

26 April 2017: Patenting Invention: Clean Energy Innovation Trends and Priorities for the Trump Administration and Congress: President Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday 27 March intended to shift the direction of U.S. environmental policy and begin the process of undoing some of the most significant Obama-era environmental regulations.  Read More

21 April 2017: First Comprehensive Weather Policy Update Since 1992 Now Law: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has new congressional guidance for its weather research, forecasting, and observations programs, including authorizations for a new seasonal forecasting program, a greater focus on research-to-operations, and improved coordination across the U.S. weather enterprise.  Read More

20 April 2017: Nuclear Posture Review Begins Amid Congressional Debate on Future Needs: This week, the Department of Defense launched a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The review comes at a time when members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about the state of the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise and have begun to debate whether the weapons labs should conduct R&D on new types of nuclear weapons.  Read More

17 April 2017: SPIE Position on Export Controls: On 17 April, SPIE released a position paper on 'Export Controls and its Impact on U.S. Innovation' in response to recent export control reform and the subsequent Notice of Inquiries seeking public opinion of these changes. Public comments period ended 14 March.  Download the Paper

12 April 2017: Data Update: U.S. and E.U. R&D Budgets Remain Flat, Asian Investment Decelerates: Recent data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows stagnant R&D funding profiles in the United States and Europe, while spending in Asian countries declines or grows at a slower pace than previous years.  Read More

12 April 2017: National Academies Releases Sweeping Review of Research Misconduct and ‘Detrimental’ Practices: The National Academies has completed a major study on scientific misconduct and other practices deemed ‘detrimental’ to the integrity of research. Among its recommendations, the study report advocates stricter policies governing scientific authorship attribution, increased openness in scientific work, reporting negative findings, and establishing an independent, non-profit Research Integrity Advisory Board.  Read More

10 April 2017: E.U. Expansion did not Increase Cross-Border Research, Study Finds: The enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and again in 2007 did not increase cross-country research collaboration between new and existing member countries, a study in the 12 April issue of Science Advances reports.  Read More

10 April 2017: Gardner, Peters Request Increase in U.S. Science Funding: United States Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter today to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging the Committee to support a substantial increase in federal funding for science, research, and development at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Read More

6 April 2017: SPIE Joins Other Science Organizations to Sign Science Funding Letter: SPIE joined 287 scientific organizations, universities and research groups on a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging robust investments in R&D. Congress had to complete FY 2017 before the continuing resolution runs out on April 28. At the same time, they must start on FY 2018 funding.  Download the Letter

Read other past issues of the Public Policy News.