FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: July 2012

Richard M. Jones
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NRC Report on Research Universities

A National Research Council committee released a report entitled "Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security."  Several Members of Congress requested the report as a follow-up to the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report. 

Developments in Washington on Helium, Isotopes and Critical Materials

Scientists and policymakers have become increasingly alarmed about current and projected shortages of critical materials such as Helium-3, energy-critical elements, and Molybdenum-99.  Policymakers have moved on several fronts.

DOE User Facilities Praised at House Science Committee Hearing

A recent hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment demonstrated strong support for the Department of Energy’s user facilities.  Republicans and Democrats praised the facilities, with the clearest policy differences between them centering on the federal government’s role in supporting applied research. 

Research and Science Education Subcommittee Examines Challenges Faced by Research Universities

The House Research and Science Education Subcommittee heard from representatives of the research university community to examine the challenges faced by research universities and to discuss their future.  Also addressed were steps that Congress, federal and state governments, research universities and industry can take to improve resource management. 

FY 2013 House Appropriations Committee’s Recommendations for USGS

Total U.S. Geological Survey funding would decline 9.5 percent in FY 2013 under this bill.  Changes to individual programs range from an increase of 25.2 percent to a decrease of 20.2 percent. 

An Update on the Nation's Weather Satellite Program

Two House subcommittees held a joint hearing to examine the costs and performance capabilities of the Joint Polar Satellite System and the Geostationary Observational Environmental Satellite-R Series. 

Subcommittee Examines NASA Derived Technology Transfer Activities

A hearing by the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee highlighted NASA investments which have generated technology with direct economic and social benefits.

House Armed Services Committee Reviews NNSA Management

“We must find a way out of this mess.  Our nuclear deterrent requires an effective and efficient steward.”  So concluded the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces at a recent hearing on the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Physics Community Supports Amendment to Legislation on Critical Minerals

APS Physics, a Member Society of the American Institute of Physics, worked with strategic materials producers, industry, and manufacturing organizations to draft a letter of support for critical minerals legislation.  The letter, endorsed by the AIP and the American Geophysical Union, another Member Society, along with 35 other organizations, was addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

House Hearing on Helium Supply

“We may be heading for a crisis in many industries if we don’t face up to this issue” warned Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), Ranking Member on the House Energy and Minerals Resources Subcommittee at a hearing on the nation’s helium supply. 

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics