FYI THIS MONTH: JANUARY 2006
HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Audrey T. Leath, Richard M. Jones
fyithismonth@aip.org
AIP SCIENCE POLICY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: Please see our web site at http://www.aip.org/gov/ for information on services, programs and products intended to help members of the physics community stay informed about government policy-making, and see the tentative congressional calendar to plan a visit with your Member of Congress.

A LOOK BACK AT 2006: Review the major science policy developments of 2005, the notable quotations, and the results of the FY06 appropriations process. Congress completed some final appropriations bills just before leaving for the holidays, including the Labor-HHS-Education bill.

NSF STRATEGIC PLAN: NSF is preparing a strategic plan, describing investment strategies and criteria for priority-setting, to guide the Foundation through fiscal year 2011.

PRIVATE FUNDING FOR PARTICLE COLLIDER: While the FY06 appropriation for energy and water development programs forced drastic cuts in the run times at two DOE physics facilities, one of those facilities - the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory - received a $13 million private contribution that will enable it to operate for more time this year.

NANOTECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT: Several recent reports and a congressional hearing examined the state of current knowledge about possible side effects of nanotechnology products, and recommended greater federal research in this area and a more coherent regulatory framework.

U.S. COMPETITIVENESS EFFORTS: Warnings about threats to the U.S.'s global S&T leadership resulted in the President's announcement of a new American Competitiveness Initiative in his State of the Union address. Comments by the White House Chief of Staff provided an early indication of Administration interest. Members of Congress have already introduced several bills on this topic, and a series of new grants to encourage college undergraduates to study science and engineering was included in the budget reconciliation agreement.

NUCLEAR FUEL REPROCESSING: According to reports, Sen. Pete Domenici (R- NM) will introduce a White House-supported plan to expand nuclear power generation and to reprocess nuclear fuel from other nations.

NASA CLIMATE SCIENTIST REMARKS: Reports of NASA efforts to control the public remarks of a leading climate researcher prompted a concerned letter from House Science Committee chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) to NASA Administrator Mike Griffin.