FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

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FYI This Month; September 2008

Highlights of Developments in Washington impacting the physics community from FYI, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News

To read the cited FYIs, see the FYI archive

FUTURE ROLE OF OSTP: A report by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars offers several major recommendations to enhance science and technology policymaking in the next Administration. A nationally-respected leader should be appointed early in the Administration as the president's next Assistant for Science and Technology, with this position at the cabinet level. The Office of Science and Technology Policy should be adequately funded, fully staffed, and integrated closely with other White House policy units, and mechanisms established to provide outside guidance. (#88)

YUCCA MOUNTAIN NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the Department of Energy's construction license application submitted in June was found to be "sufficiently complete." This finding allows about one hundred Commission employees to start an up to four-year review of the 8,600 page application. Members of Congress from Nevada expressed their continued opposition to the repository that would be located 100 miles from Las Vegas. (#89)

HEARING ON FAIR COPYRIGHT IN RESEARCH WORKS ACT: Witnesses testified in support of and against a bill to ensure copyright protection for articles in scientific journals resulting from federally-funded research activities. The bill was introduced in response to NIH's policy requiring mandatory deposition of NIH-supported published manuscripts in a free on-line archive. Witnesses opposing the bill contend that taxpayer-supported research should be available without charge. The bill's supporters testified that scientific journal publishers make substantial investments in manuscripts submitted for publications and in associated publication costs. The American Institute of Physics, a publisher of scientific journals, supports this legislation. (#91)

DEFENSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FUNDING: The House and Senate neared completion of an FY 2009 appropriations bill for defense science and technology programs, with total 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3 funding increase recommendations of 1.6 percent and 4.1 percent. (#92)

NEXT PRESIDENT URGED TO DEVELOP, FUND BASIC ENERGY RESEARCH: AIP and the American Physical Society were two of more than 70 scientific, businesses, and higher education organizations calling on the next President to support a comprehensive, multi-agency, basic research energy strategy. (#93)

BRIEFING ON IMPORTANCE OF BASIC RESEARCH TO MEETING ENERGY NEEDS: Four speakers described the important role that basic research will play in solving the world's energy needs. Said MIT President Susan Hockfield: "If we want to own those future [energy] technologies, there is only one path: research." (#94)

FY 2009 FUNDING STALLED: Congress put off until March 2009 the completion of the FY 2009 appropriations cycle, flat funding all departments and agencies except the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, and military construction. (#95)

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics