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November 2013 Public Policy News

27 November: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Examines Manufacturing Hubs:
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to discuss the role that manufacturing hubs play in strengthening the innovation economy. Dialogue during the hearing focused on government and industry collaborations and mechanisms to bridge the "valley of death," the stage between scientific research and product production prior to entering an economic market. Manufacturing programs and investments in U.S.-based innovation and research were discussed by this committee in a recent hearing on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.  Read more

22 November: House Energy Subcommittee Holds Hearing on STEM Education and Manufacturing:
The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing examining global competitiveness as it relates to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. Policy makers have heard from companies concerned about meeting their future STEM workforce needs and subcommittee Members were interested in learning which manufacturing industries are most affected by the shortage of skilled workers, whether redesigning the education and workforce model could be necessary, and how this shortage relates to U.S. economic growth. Read more  

20 November: White House Announces Nominations for Senior Department of Energy Positions:
The White House recently announced its intention to make nominations for three senior Department of Energy positions: the newly established Under Secretary for Science and Energy, Director of the Office of Science, and Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy.  Read more

18 November: House Committee Holds Hearing on Draft COMPETES Legislation: 
The Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing to discuss research activities at the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Topics of discussion at the hearing included transparency in grant review, technology transfer, open access, and federal investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

Members were interested to hear witnesses comment on a discussion draft of the Frontiers in Innovative Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act. This draft legislation is part of the larger effort to reauthorize the 2010 America COMPETES Act. Read more

15 November: New Reports: Impact of Sequestration on University Research, Importance of Federal R&D Funding for New Companies: At a recent hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee there was considerable discussion about the impact of mandatory budget reductions (sequestration) on research supported by the federal government. Senators and witnesses also spoke of the important role federally-sponsored university research plays in the creation of new companies. A survey released earlier this week and an October 30 report provide insight on both matters. Read more

14 November: Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Reauthorization of America COMPETES Legislation:
Recent two-hour hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation revealed much support for federal funding of basic research but few details about the committee's plans to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. Read more

8 November: House Science Subcommittee Hearing on New DOE Office of Science Bill: Recent hearing of the Subcommittee on Energy of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology not only offered the opportunity for subcommittee members, a senior official of the DOE Office of Science, and two other witnesses to describe the importance of the research that the Office supports; but also gave the Members and witnesses a chance to offer first comments on a draft discussion bill to authorize programs and funding levels for the Office of Science in FY 2014 and FY 2015. Read more

8 November: Ranking Member Johnson Introduces COMPETES Legislation: 
House Science, Space and Technology Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) circulated a Democratic discussion draft of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2013. The draft bill reauthorizes the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 and includes sections on government wide science; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity; the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); innovation; and the Department of Energy (DOE).  Read more

4 November: Budget Update:
The most recent budget agreement passed by Congress in October reopened the government but set up a series of new deadlines for developing a "grand bargain" that will a) turn off the next round of across-the-board (or sequester) cuts, and b) set a new topline number for discretionary spending that House and Senate appropriators can use to complete the remaining spending bills. Read the full update (PDF 1 MB)

4 November: National  Science Board releases STEM Education Data and trends:
The National Science Board (NSB) recently released two tools relevant to the biennial report Science and Engineering Indicators. A website, based on the Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI) allows users to access data from the report related to student learning. The NSB also recently released another tool, a Science and Engineering Indicators app for iPad which provides mobile access to the SEI report, the Science and Engineering Indicators Digest and two recent NSP policy companion reports. The free app is available here.

The website provides information about educational progress, state-level spending on schools and childhood development. The online tool provides information about science and engineering learning at the pre-kindergarten, primary school, middle school, high school, and college levels of education. A section of the website is also designated for information about the science and engineering workforce, including information about the science and engineering job market, labor force and worker salaries. Read more

4 November: New Study on Student Performance in Math and Science:
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is a subject of discussion among many policy makers on and off Capitol Hill. STEM education is seen as being directly associated with U.S. competitiveness and is closely tied to employment trends. While many studies show student performances, the results of a recent study paint a picture of where U.S. students place on an international scale.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) released the NAEP-TIMMS Linking Study for use by U.S. states to compare the performance of their students with that of students from other countries. Read more

1 November: Congressional Committees Start Work on Reauthorization on COMPETES Legislation:
House and Senate committees are taking first steps towards the reauthorization of the America COMPETES (America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act) legislation. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee is active on several fronts and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will be having a hearing the second week of November. Read more