Archive of FYI reports

FYI has delivered unbiased, authoritative reports on science policy since 1993.

5 Oct 2016

Thomas Zurbuchen, a specialist in solar and heliospheric physics and a proponent of entrepreneurship, has been named the new head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

4 Oct 2016

At a House Science Committee hearing held last week, members expressed bipartisan support for the goal of reducing regulatory burdens experienced by federally funded university researchers. They asked witnesses to explain how actions such as the creation of a new Research Policy Board could help achieve that goal.

3 Oct 2016

At a hearing last week, the House Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee discussed the role and health of the Defense Department’s research laboratories in the context of the department’s Third Offset Strategy to leverage innovation to preserve U.S. military superiority. Witnesses from the labs focused on administrative obstacles and aging facilities as the primary burdens preventing the labs from fully realizing their potential.

3 Oct 2016

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has advanced a NASA authorization bill that focuses on space exploration and seeks to ensure stability at the space agency through the upcoming presidential transition. Unlike the House-passed NASA authorization bill, the Senate bill has only a few provisions specific to NASA’s science divisions.

29 Sep 2016

Today, the president signed a stopgap spending bill that extends current fiscal year funding for the federal government through Dec. 9. With Congress recessing at the end of this week to campaign for the general election, major science-related legislation will not see further movement earlier than mid-November.

29 Sep 2016

Federally funded research projects that seemed obscure or sounded odd yet turned out to have a significant positive impact on society were celebrated last week at the fifth annual Golden Goose Award ceremony.

28 Sep 2016

As Barack Obama’s presidency draws to a close, his administration is continuing to improve the nation’s apparatuses for assessing and responding to climate change impacts. Recent actions to deepen the connection between climate research and planning include initiating a sustained National Climate Assessment, creating a new public-private climate data sharing partnership, and instructing the government to incorporate climate threats into national security planning.

27 Sep 2016

Last Friday, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling on nations to maintain their moratoria on nuclear weapons testing pending ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Leading up to the resolution, current and former policymakers reflected on the 20-year-old treaty’s prospects, including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who referred to ratification of the treaty as “unfinished business,” and former senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who argued that the U.S. should never ratify the treaty.

26 Sep 2016

In an open letter published last week, 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences reasserted the scientific consensus on climate change, chided U.S. politicians who remain naysayers, and warned against U.S. withdrawal from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate.

23 Sep 2016

This week, the House Science Committee held a hearing to investigate the firing of a Department of Energy scientist following a briefing that she and two other DOE scientists gave to congressional staff on the department’s Low Dose Radiation Research Program. Republican committee members linked the incident to what they allege is a larger “pattern of intentional misinformation from Obama Administration officials.”

22 Sep 2016

At a Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the “future of nuclear power,” senators expressed a mixture of concern and hope about the future vitality of the U.S. nuclear industry and nuclear innovation enterprise.

20 Sep 2016

The National Academies has issued its latest triennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, focusing many of its recommendation on the need to foster commercialization. The initiative itself has released a draft of its 2016 strategic plan for public comment.

19 Sep 2016

The bipartisan caucus will seek “strong and sustained” funding for the Earth and space sciences at a time when the House has targeted geosciences research for cuts.

16 Sep 2016

The chair of the House Science Committee convened a controversial hearing this week to establish the committee’s legal authority to issue subpoenas relating to state fraud investigations of ExxonMobil. At the hearing, Republican committee members and sympathetic legal scholars outlined a broad authority based on the committee’s right to gather information relevant to its jurisdiction over federal science and technology policy.

16 Sep 2016

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NASA held an event this week to explain the rationale for the administration’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission. Congress has been skeptical about the mission's value, and this skepticism was further confirmed in a new Senate NASA reauthorization bill released yesterday.

15 Sep 2016

AIP is seeking qualified scientists to apply for the 2017-2018 AIP State Department fellowship, which will provide a fellow the opportunity to serve for a year at the U.S. Department of State. Applications are due November 1.

14 Sep 2016

In a new report, Neal Lane, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is calling on the next president to put a “laser focus” on science and technology early on in the next administration. The report makes five recommendations for the next president and five more for the president’s next science advisor on how S&T policy should be dealt with in the White House.

13 Sep 2016

A congressionally mandated report released yesterday by the National Academies warns that severe shortages of molybdenum-99 and its radioactive decay product technetium-99m, an isotope used in medical imaging procedures, are possible after a key Canadian supplier ceases production in October 2016.

13 Sep 2016

The National Academies has released a report on the senior reviews that NASA conducts to recommend extensions of its science missions beyond their planned end dates. The report praises NASA’s management of its extended-mission portfolio and offers recommendations for augmenting the review process.

12 Sep 2016

If the energy bill is to become law before the end of this Congress, the conference committee led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski will have to successfully hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, including on research and advanced nuclear reactor development at the Energy Department and critical minerals exploration at the Interior Department.

9 Sep 2016

The Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing this week on aging facilities and deferred maintenance within the National Nuclear Security Administration.

8 Sep 2016

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing yesterday to discuss the Obama Administration’s pursuit of a United Nations Security Council resolution that would reaffirm the commitments of signatories to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

1 Sep 2016

President Obama will host a White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh in October and guest-edit the November edition of WIRED magazine, both focusing on the president’s five “frontiers of innovation.”

1 Sep 2016

This week, the National Science Foundation issued a progress update on facility management reforms that were spurred by deficiencies revealed through turmoil at the National Ecological Observatory Network.

25 Aug 2016

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is poised to move from preliminary studies of licensing requirements for advanced nuclear reactors to the development of an actual licensing program. A number of bills currently making their way through Congress provide funding and authorization for such a program, but a final legislative framework has not yet emerged.

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