12 February: Important Reading: Science and Engineering Indicators 2014: The National Science Board has released a report that has long been viewed as "the gold standard" on the state of science and engineering in the United States and other countries. This report, Science and Engineering Indicators 2014, is important reading for anyone interested in STEM topics, including education, workforce, national and international R&D trends, academic R&D, the global knowledge and technology marketplace, public attitudes and understanding, and state performance. Read more
11 February: President’s Council of Advisors Releases Reports on Education Information Technology: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) submitted a recent 9-page letter report to the President addressing the development of massive open online courses (MOOC) and the role of technology in education. The development of information technology for use in higher education is of particular interest to PCAST and to the Administration as they seek to address the rise in higher education costs. Read more
31 January: International Space Station to be Extended Until 2024; Asteroid Mission Reaffirmed: “We are pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2024,” wrote Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden earlier this month. This announcement extends the station for four additional years beyond its previous schedule. Read more
29 January: FY 2014 Budget Cycle Complete; FY 2015 Budget Cycle Ahead: The FY 2014 budget cycle came to an end on January 17 when President Obama signed H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, providing $1.012 trillion dollars in funding for this year. An official copy of the Explanatory Statement accompanying this bill has not yet been released.
See "Latest Congressional Budget Action—FY 2014" for a review of the FY 2014 final appropriations for the Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy – National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy – Office of Science, NASA, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey. An FYI on the NOAA - National Weather Service appropriation is available here. In addition to program funding levels, these ten FYIs contain selections from the working copy of the Explanatory Statement and other materials. Several Members of Congress released statements regarding the appropriations bill and science. Read more
29 January: State of the Union: Basic Research, Innovation, High-Tech Jobs, Climate Change, STEM Education: Early in his State of the Union address last night, President Obama highlighted the importance of basic research to American competitiveness. Obama has mentioned the importance of research in his previous State of the Union addresses, as did President George W. Bush in his own addresses, dating to 2006. Read excerpts from the 28 January State of Union regarding basic research and innovation, high technology jobs, climate change, and STEM education.
29 January: Science Committee Discusses Engaging Students and the Public in STEM: The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a January 9 hearing to discuss engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The subcommittee discussed research at the Smithsonian during a January 14 hearing. The STEM education initiatives under discussion at the January 9 hearing were conducted by private organizations. Members were interested to learn how the federal government could leverage the resources of private sector STEM education investments. Improving STEM education activities beyond the scope of those of the federal government has been a longstanding interest of the subcommittee. Members heard about private sector efforts aimed at strengthening the STEM workforce and the relationship between those and government programs. Read more
28 January: Concerns Expressed About Possible Relocation of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR): Reaction has been swift to the Air Force’s request for public input on the possible relocation of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) from Arlington, Virginia to Dayton, Ohio. The President of the American Physical Society, a Member Society of the American Institute of Physics, and fifteen senior university officials have sent separate letters to the Air Force expressing significant concerns about the impacts of the relocation.
Air Force released a Request for Information seeking public input; asking responders to rank on a four-point scale, ranging from “4 = Significantly Impacts” to “1 = No Impact” “the degree of impact the location of AFOSR has on your organization’s confidence in the Air Force’s ability to manage basic research.” In addition, “If desired, comments may be provided regarding the basis for your organization’s assessed impact.” The deadline for comment was January 29. Read more
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