FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: February 2014

Richard M. Jones
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Positive Hearing on Critical Minerals Bill

Uniform and enthusiastic support was expressed at a hearing for the goals of a Senate bill to increase the domestic supply of critical minerals that are used in a wide range of high-technology products.  The bipartisan nature of the Senate bill contrasts with a House bill passed last September on a largely party-line basis.  

DOE Office of Science Anticipates Reduced Award Success Rate

“The Office of Science anticipates that applications for new and renewal grants and cooperative agreements will be awarded at reduced success rates over the next three to five years.  After this transition period, success rates should return to historic norms.”  So writes Patricia Dehmer, Acting Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science in a memorandum to Office of Science Grant and Cooperative Agreement Applicants and Recipients.

National Research Council Assesses the Status and Future Direction of High Magnetic Field Science

The National Research Council was asked by the National Science Foundation to assess the needs of the high magnetic fields research community to determine what are the drivers, opportunities and challenges in high magnetic field science.  The report is an update to a review of the high magnetic field science last published in 2003.

President’s Council of Advisors Releases Reports on Education Information Technology

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology submitted a 9-page letter report to the President addressing the development of massive open online courses and the role of technology in education.

Important Reading: Science and Engineering Indicators 2014

The National Science Board 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.

Space Subcommittee Discusses Updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Space held a hearing to discuss potential updates to the Commercial Space Launch Act.

Representative Rush Holt to Retire

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced that he will retire at the end of this session of Congress.  Holt is one of the two physicists in Congress, representing New Jersey’s 12th District for eight terms.

Senator Mikulski on the Outlook for Webb Space Telescope and NASA

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as its subcommittee having jurisdiction over NASA.  Mikulski gave an upbeat report to NASA employees about funding for the agency and the James Webb Space Telescope.

House Passes Drought Information System Reauthorization Act

The House of Representatives passed with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote a bill reauthorizing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration drought warning and information services program. 

Tracking the Budget Process

The AIP Government Relations web site organizes FYI, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News to assist readers in following the appropriations process for selected federal science agencies.  The site also offers guidance to readers wishing to interact with Members of Congress. 

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics