Archive of FYI reports

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

17 Aug 2016

The National Academies has released its midterm assessment of the 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics. A key theme is that increasingly expensive top-priority projects are responsible for outstanding breakthroughs, but are also putting pressure on high-priority medium-scale projects.

16 Aug 2016

At the August National Science Board meeting, leadership of the board and the National Science Foundation outlined plans for both organizations to become more proactive in their engagement with stakeholders and presented further details on the “big ideas” for future investment the foundation unveiled at the last board meeting.

12 Aug 2016

In two recent rulings against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, federal judges have expanded the reach of critics of the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change into government records. 

11 Aug 2016

A group of industry, higher education, and scientific organizations has reissued a statement calling for Congress to increase federal support of basic research, streamline research regulations, and reaffirm merit-based review, among other actions.

9 Aug 2016

The Obama Administration has released two reports on the state of quantum computing and related R&D projects. Among other issues addressed, the reports call attention to the organizational difficulties the field is facing as it grows and as other countries ramp up counterpart efforts.

5 Aug 2016

With all 12 appropriations bills now drafted, the outcome of funding for the federal science agencies in fiscal year 2017 is coming into focus, with appropriations on track in many cases to diverge from the president’s discretionary funding requests.

4 Aug 2016

Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a bill that, if enacted, would authorize a multibillion-dollar increase in energy research funding while eliminating the wind production tax credit. These provisions reflect the senator’s longstanding priorities in the development of new clean energy options.

2 Aug 2016

If history is any guide, Congress will almost certainly pass one or more stopgap spending measures before reaching a final agreement on funding for fiscal year 2017. The question now becomes whether the current Congress and outgoing president will finalize an agreement in the lame-duck session or instead hand off responsibility for the final negotiations to the 115th Congress and the incoming administration.

1 Aug 2016

NSF’s education programs would see steady funding under current spending bills, while the Department of Education’s STEM programs are undergoing major statutory realignment, leading to disagreement between the president, House, and Senate on the best level of support.

29 Jul 2016

State attorneys are using their subpoena power against ExxonMobil to investigate whether the company committed fraud by publicly contradicting its inside knowledge of risks that climate change poses to its business. Meanwhile, Rep. Lamar Smith is attempting to use his subpoena power as chairman of the House Science Committee to intervene in those investigations, claiming as legal justification a committee responsibility to defend scientific freedom. With a showdown looming in that battle, Senate Democrats are using the bully pulpit to condemn organizations that they allege conspire to undermine the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.

27 Jul 2016

House and Senate appropriators are seeking to reverse the administration’s proposed 3.1 percent discretionary funding cut to the National Institutes of Health and instead boost the agency’s budget by as much as $2 billion above current levels. Under their proposals, all NIH research institutes would see increases.

25 Jul 2016

Committee members and witnesses reflected on the feasibility of consent-based approaches to siting nuclear waste facilities and on whether scientific safety reviews and expanded nuclear R&D in Nevada could prove instrumental in securing public support for Yucca Mountain serving as a nuclear waste repository.

21 Jul 2016

In its research and development planning, the Defense Department is currently following a strategy referred to as the Third Offset, which focuses heavily on technological innovation and implementation. Congress, though, has pushed back on DOD’s Third Offset priorities, allocating higher than requested funding for early-stage research while looking to keep a tighter rein on special innovation initiatives personally backed by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

19 Jul 2016

Last week the House passed two bills which would establish new basic energy research initiatives at the Department of Energy, as well as a bill which would update policies for certain NIST programs and direct a comprehensive National Academies review of NIST laboratories.

15 Jul 2016

Leaders in astronomy, astrophysics, and astrobiology received a warm welcome at a joint subcommittee hearing this week. The witnesses fielded a wide range of questions, including on how new projects are prioritized and funded, how the scientific workforce is being developed and diversified, and the search for extraterrestrial life.

14 Jul 2016

The statement, signed by 31 U.S. scientific societies and coalitions, reaffirms the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and human activities are the primary driver.

13 Jul 2016

A House Science subcommittee hearing brought together leaders of the weather community to explore the preferred balance between the three sectors - government, academic, and private – that make up the U.S. weather enterprise.

13 Jul 2016

Among its most significant science-related provisions, the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate would assign management of Department of Defense R&D to a reconstituted Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. The bill also contains multiple measures to improve DOD’s ability to hire top technical talent, and the authoring committee expresses interest in “comprehensive defense lab governance reform.”

11 Jul 2016

The House will soon vote on two bills that would create basic research initiatives at the Department of Energy focused on solar fuels and electricity storage, respectively. Although the House Science Committee cleared both with bipartisan support, committee members expressed divergent views at the markup on the proper role of the federal government in supporting energy R&D.

11 Jul 2016

House Environment Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jim Bridenstine has convened another in a series of hearings on the nation’s weather satellite programs, building on his ongoing interest in the programs’ management and future.

6 Jul 2016

In Part 2 of its report on research regulations, a National Academies committee reiterates its call for Congress to create a Research Policy Board and urges the administration to not revise human subjects research regulations until a new national commission weighs in on the subject. Congress has begun to act on the Research Policy Board recommendation.

30 Jun 2016

The House Science Committee convened thought leaders in space exploration last month for a hearing on the capabilities needed for NASA’s proposed human journey to Mars. Wide-ranging discussions touched on in-space propulsion, deep space habitation, and artificial gravity.

29 Jun 2016

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the "American Innovation and Competitiveness Act" after amending it to authorize a four percent funding increase for NSF and NIST. However, a push to identify offsets for these increases may delay or derail passage of the bill by the Senate.

23 Jun 2016

The Senate’s bipartisan bill, released today, differs significantly from the House-passed America COMPETES bill, dropping the COMPETES name altogether and striking a different tone on scientific merit review.

21 Jun 2016

Two committees are staking out divergent stances on funding for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs—with the House and Senate Small Business Committees both advancing bipartisan proposals to increase the fraction of agencies’ extramural R&D budgets allocated to these programs, while the House Science Committee appears united in opposing increases that would take resources away from other R&D programs.

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