Organizations representing astronomers and Earth scientists are raising concerns that new telecommunications technologies could interfere with scientific use of previously quiet parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
President Trump has ordered federal agencies to eliminate at least one-third of their non-statutory advisory committees created under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Many science agencies use such committees as a mechanism for liaising with the research community.
The Department of Energy has issued a directive prohibiting its employees and most contractor personnel from participating in certain talent recruitment programs operated by rival nations. The new policy is one of several actions federal agencies are taking in response to alleged exploitation of the U.S. research environment by foreign governments, particularly China.
The White House convened a roundtable of federal agency and university leaders last week to discuss how best to structure new research centers and workforce development efforts created through the National Quantum Initiative.
The National Science Foundation’s sponsoring official for the latest materials research decadal survey recently said she is disappointed it did not offer specific direction on emerging research areas and that the research community’s participation was inadequate. However, she also said she agrees with its broad emphasis on the need for coordination and to bolster mid-scale research infrastructure.
The Trump administration seeks to shave about $1 billion from the National Science Foundation’s budget in fiscal year 2020. Within the constrained topline, NSF proposes to embark on a major upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider and press ahead with its ten “Big Ideas,” advancing new programs dedicated to mid-scale infrastructure and convergence research.
The National Science Foundation’s budget will increase 4 percent to $8.1 billion under the final spending legislation for fiscal year 2019. The measure provides funding for the agency’s proposed “Big Ideas” and facility construction projects, while also explicitly maintaining support for “core” research and existing infrastructure.
Several federal agencies are working to curb foreign nations, particularly China, from using talent recruitment programs and other methods to capitalize on the fruits of U.S.-financed R&D. In the latest major development, the Department of Energy announced last week that it will restrict its employees and future grantees from participating in recruitment programs operated by “sensitive” countries.
Over the past two years, Congress passed legislation updating and endorsing a wide range of federal R&D activities, including marquee bills focused on quantum information science, energy research, weather forecasting, and hazard preparedness.