Archive of FYI reports

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

29 Feb 2016

Longtime NASA supporter and powerful appropriator Rep. John Culberson testified in support of legislation which would overhaul governance of the space agency to help insulate it from turnovers in presidential administrations and Congress. Committee members viewed the legislation as well-intentioned, but some questioned the details and argued that Congress, not the Administration, has ultimate responsibility for ensuring stability of purpose at NASA.

26 Feb 2016

At a hearing marked by bipartisan praise and positive exchanges about physics interspersed with laughter, members of the House Science Committee commended witnesses from the National Science Foundation, Caltech, Louisiana State University, and MIT, for leadership on a long-term scientific collaboration that led to the groundbreaking discovery of gravitational waves.

25 Feb 2016

The priorities of the committee majority in 2016 include continued focus on transparency and accountability of federal research, directorate-level funding for the National Science Foundation, and sustained funding for NASA space missions. Alternatively, the committee’s minority members are prioritizing an overall increase in and stability for federal research and development funding.

24 Feb 2016

The Department of Energy and two of its advisory bodies largely concur with the findings of the congressionally-chartered Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories. The Commission’s report is the latest in a long series of studies which have discovered a dysfunctional relationship between the Department and the national labs.

24 Feb 2016

The House voted mostly along party lines to approve a bill sponsored by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith that aims to bring National Science Foundation research in line with the “national interest,” but the bill faces strong opposition from the White House and many House Democrats, including committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson.

22 Feb 2016

Funding for research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would see a 7.8 percent leap forward under the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, most of which is aimed at restoring deep cuts to climate research that began in fiscal year 2011. 

19 Feb 2016

Although the Department of Defense’s overall spending on research, development, testing, and evaluation would grow 2.6 percent to $71.8 billion under the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, spending on the Science and Technology Program would decrease by 4.1 percent to $12.5 billion.

18 Feb 2016

One element of the President’s request for a 2.9 percent funding increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration has already received considerable congressional attention: the proposed termination of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina.

18 Feb 2016

Following a 7.1 percent spending increase in fiscal year 2016, the President is proposing to cut NASA’s discretionary budget by 5.3 percent in fiscal year 2017, with the largest reductions falling on the agency’s exploration and, to a lesser extent, science programs.

17 Feb 2016

In a year when overall spending is being held steady, the Department of Energy and its science programs stand out as winners in the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, with discretionary funding increases of 4.2 percent for the Office of Science and 20.3 percent for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy that grow even larger when the Administration’s proposals for mandatory funding are included.

12 Feb 2016

The President is requesting a 5.2 percent increase in discretionary funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology for fiscal year 2017, which would raise its budget to just over $1 billion. The President also is proposing $1.99 billion in new mandatory funding, of which $1.89 billion is for 27 new manufacturing innovation institutes by 2025.

11 Feb 2016

The President requests a 6.7 percent funding increase for the National Science Foundation in fiscal year 2017, raising the agency’s budget to just under $8 billion. However, without a proposed new mandatory funding stream requiring additional legislative approval, the foundation would only see a 1.3 percent increase.

11 Feb 2016

The President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request is a mixed bag for science, with proposed increases for some science agencies hinging on new mandatory spending that Congress is unlikely to embrace. 

9 Feb 2016

The House is poised to consider stand-alone legislation sponsored by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith that would require recipients of National Science Foundation grant funding to justify research as “in the national interest,” based on a definition related to NSF’s mission and founding charter.

5 Feb 2016

During what a participant described as “one of the more facilities centric-days on the science board in recent memory,” board members spent a lion’s share of the public sessions discussing ways to improve their understanding and oversight of the National Science Foundation’s portfolio of large-scale research facilities.

2 Feb 2016

A joint NASA-DOE effort to restart production of plutonium-238 has borne its first fruit: a 50 gram demonstration batch created at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Although this development comes as a relief to those concerned about the U.S.’ dwindling supply of plutonium-238 essential for powering deep space missions, some in Congress are still seeking details on potential ways to reduce demand for the material by using more efficient technologies such as advanced Stirling generators.

1 Feb 2016

The 2016 edition of the biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report depicts a world in which U.S. dominance in science and engineering on the world stage is fading as the U.S. federal investment in R&D declines while China and other competing nations rapidly grow their science and engineering capacities.

28 Jan 2016

In a wide-ranging conversation, a panel of science policy makers and scholars attempt to diagnose why both politicians and the public disagree on scientific issues.

28 Jan 2016

At a House Armed Service Committee hearing, representatives and witnesses focused on arguments for and against a National Academies study panel’s recommendation that the labs perform a series of nuclear weapon design competitions as a means of maintaining a skilled weapons design workforce.

27 Jan 2016

The Senate begins debate on a major energy policy bill that would authorize increases in basic research funding at the Department of Energy Office of Science, boost technology transfer activities at the national laboratories, advance exascale computing, and modernize national critical mineral policy.

27 Jan 2016

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama provided an upbeat vision for the nation’s future that prominently includes American scientific discovery and leadership, also a strong theme of Obama’s past addresses.

20 Jan 2016

Rep. Bill Foster follows in the footsteps of a previous Ph.D. physicist-turned-politician, former Rep. Rush Holt, by leading another effort to reestablish the long-mourned Office of Technology Assessment.

15 Jan 2016

With numerous charts on hand, Senator Cruz hosts a heated hearing in which he dismisses the conclusions of mainstream climate science as the product of politically-motivated dogma and provides a platform for skeptics to air their views.

14 Jan 2016

A selection of 15 sets of quotations from national leaders, policymakers, scientific community leaders, and scientists, captures some of the science policy debates and outcomes of 2015.

12 Jan 2016

In 2015, the scientific community faced new challenges in a fractious federal landscape and responded by stepping up its policy engagement and advocacy. While some federal science agencies faced high levels of scrutiny from Congress most received significant budget increases in FY 2016.


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