FYI Bulletin is a news service covering science policy developments in Washington, DC, with a focus on the physical sciences.

11 Jan 2018

The U.S. scientific community will face challenges new and old in 2018 as the Trump administration and Congress continue to advance their agendas and install new leaders at federal agencies. The science agencies are facing extraordinary levels of budgetary and administrative uncertainty, while scientific community leaders are grappling with fundamental issues relating to the conduct of science and its value. Looking further out, the 2018 election could shake up the political and policy landscape once again.

9 Jan 2018

A new National Academies report warns that withdrawing from ITER, a mammoth international fusion project under construction in France, could jeopardize the U.S.’s pursuit of commercial fusion energy. The report also calls for a national strategic fusion plan to resolve issues that will not be addressed through ITER.

8 Jan 2018

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is kicking off a series of hearings related to its ongoing efforts to reform the Department of Energy. The first hearing will focus on DOE’s primary mission areas and “opportunities to unleash the full potential of DOE’s scientific, engineering and technological capabilities.” The committee’s efforts will add to a growing set of changes, proposals, and discussions concerning how DOE structures, manages, and prioritizes its laboratory and other R&D activities.

4 Jan 2018

At a recent stakeholder forum, National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Walter Copan said he plans for NIST to lead a review of the laws underpinning federal technology transfer policy. He also said expanding the agency’s work in quantum science and engineering is among his priorities.

22 Dec 2017

Congress concluded its 2017 session with a week of productive legislating that included final passage of the Republican tax reform bill and an extension of federal spending through Jan. 19. The House also passed three bipartisan STEM education bills and a disaster relief spending package that, if enacted, would provide a one-time funding boost to several science agencies.

21 Dec 2017

A new committee assembled to study reproducibility and replicability in the sciences began its work this month. At its kickoff meeting, speakers representing a variety of disciplines offered markedly different portraits of how these issues are viewed across fields, including physics, engineering, and the social sciences.

20 Dec 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt recently argued that the agency used a flawed process in 2009 when it determined that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public. He also said he still hopes to scrutinize the underlying climate science through a “red team/blue team” review.

14 Dec 2017

A recent House Science Committee hearing on NASA’s in-development and future space telescopes probed the agency’s mission management practices and revealed substantial concerns that the James Webb Space Telescope may experience new schedule delays. NASA announced at the hearing it is planning an independent review of the mission’s pre-launch preparations.

12 Dec 2017

As part of its recently unveiled industrial strategy, the UK will invest an additional £7 billion ($9.3 billion) in R&D spending over the next five years as a step in a longer-term plan to nearly double the nation’s investment in R&D as a fraction of its GDP.

8 Dec 2017

A new National Academies study warns the U.S. has lost leadership in high-intensity ultrafast laser research to Europe. To regain ground, it recommends the Department of Energy invest in at least one new large-scale facility and lead the development of a coordinated national research strategy.

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