Recent Developments:DOE Education, Export Control Reform, NASA Reauthorization, DOE AdvisoryBoard, NIST Reorganization

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Publication date: 
1 September 2010

DOE Education and Workforce Development:

The Department of Energy is seeking community input to a Request for Information (RFI) on “Energy Education and Workforce Development.”  Academic associations, academia, energy associations, non-profits, the private sector, and others have until September 17 to respond.  DOE states  “The information collected may be used for internal DOE planning and decision-making purposes to align future education and workforce development activities with the Administration's goals for leading the world in science, technology and engineering; building a competitive, low-carbon economy; securing America’s energy future; and creating domestic jobs.” The RFI can be viewed here; see the top right corner of the page.  DOE recently announced that the previous September 3 response date has been extended to September 17.

Export Controls:

The White House has released a summary of changes it will make “to fundamentally reform the export control system” in areas such as control lists, licensing policies, export enforcement, and the administration of these controls using a single information technology system.    The announcement was praised by leaders of the Association of American Universities, one of whom co-chaired a National Academies’ committee that wrote the report “Beyond ‘Fortress America’: National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World.”

NASA Reauthorization Bill Passed by Senate:

Before going on its recess, the Senate approved a three-year NASA reauthorization bill that is largely unchanged from the measure passed by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee .   S. 3729 was approved by voice vote with almost no discussion.  The House Science and Transportation Committee passed its version of a reauthorization bill that largely parallels the Senate legislation.

Secretary of Energy Advisory Board:

During the Bush Administration the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) was eliminated.  Chartered in 1990, SEAB advised the Secretary on topics such as the future of DOE science programs.  Earlier this month DOE announced the reestablishment of SEAB, explaining “The Board will provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on the Department's basic and applied research, economic and national security policy, educational issues, operational issues and other activities as directed by the Secretary.”A list of the twelve SEAB members is available here.

NIST Laboratory Realignment:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently announced that its proposed realignment of its laboratory structure was approved by Congress.  The number of NIST laboratories and user facilities will be reduced from ten to the following six: Physical Measurement Laboratory, Material Measurement Laboratory, Engineering Laboratory, Information Technology Laboratory, NIST Center for Neutron Research, and Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology.  NIST Director Pat Gallagher commented “The realignment promises to help improve delivery of our services and strengthen the connections between our research programs and our congressional assigned mission goals.  The end goal is a better NIST.”

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