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

7 Nov 2017

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), the nominee for NASA administrator, cast himself as a consensus builder during a contentious confirmation hearing on Nov. 1. While receiving unanimous support from Republicans, Democrats portrayed him as insufficiently qualified and too politically divisive to lead the agency.

3 Nov 2017

Mike Griffin has been selected to become the first under secretary of defense for research and engineering since 1986. Griffin was NASA administrator from 2005 to 2009 and has extensive experience in government and private industry. If confirmed, he will be tasked with instilling the Defense Department’s science and technology activities with a more innovative, risk-tolerant culture.

3 Nov 2017

The European Commission is seeking U.S. research community engagement as it launches the final phase of the Horizon 2020 research funding program. At the kickoff event, EU and U.S. officials identified collaboration opportunities and said they intend to renew a long-standing agreement governing U.S.-European science and technology cooperation.

2 Nov 2017

At an Oct. 24 hearing, House Science Committee members and witnesses voiced concern that the U.S. could fall behind countries that are rapidly ramping up investments in quantum R&D, with some calling for a national initiative to bolster current efforts.

1 Nov 2017

Appropriators of both parties appear increasingly united in opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed 10 percent cap on research overhead reimbursements at the National Institutes of Health.

27 Oct 2017

The Government Accountability Office has agreed to evaluate the state of scientific integrity at federal agencies at the request of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who says he is concerned about reports of political interference in scientific work. Some Republicans, meanwhile, are pressing reforms to agency procedures that they claim will bolster the quality of agency science.

25 Oct 2017

William Easterling, who began a four-year appointment at the helm of the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Directorate this summer, recently outlined how he plans to steer the organization through budgetary and political headwinds.

24 Oct 2017

While a few leaders in the scientific community have expressed concern that U.S. withdrawal from the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will obstruct long-term international scientific collaboration, the U.S. plans to continue supporting and participating in UNESCO science programs as well as other international science efforts.

20 Oct 2017

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a bill that would make significant changes to peer review and public access policies for federally funded research, such as requiring that a “taxpayer advocate” sit on every grant review panel. Coincident with the bill introduction, Paul convened a hearing at which he asserted that the amount of “silly” studies funded by federal agencies is evidence of a need to reform the system.

19 Oct 2017

Scientists are hailing the observation of gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation from a collision of two neutron stars as marking a new era of multi-messenger astrophysics. It is a field of research enabled by expansive international collaboration between facilities of all sizes, and its first success is likely to lead to the further development of its infrastructure.

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