October 5, 2018
Capitol Update

In this issue:


APPLY FOR A 2019-2020 ASME CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWSHIP! OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE IN ENERGY, BIOENGINEERING AND ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

Since 1973, ASME has sponsored over 100 Federal Fellows providing them with an opportunity to serve a one-year term in the Administration or U.S. Congress. Fellows serve as independent, non-biased advisors in engineering, science and technology, bringing a nonpartisan, pragmatic approach to analysis and input which has a profound impact on the decision making process. The result is effective and technologically appropriate public policy based on sound engineering principles.

Applications for our “2019-2020 ASME Congressional Fellowships” are now being accepted until January 31, 2019. Applicants for these Fellowships must have a strong background in energy, bioengineering and/or advanced manufacturing.

General information about the ASME Federal Government Fellowship Program is available at https://www.asme.org/about-asme/get-involved/advocacy-government-relations/federal-fellows-program

To apply, please visit: https://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations/federal-fellows-program/new-20182019-congressional-fellowship-energy


QUANTUM INFORMATION SCIENCE BECOMES ADMINISTRATION-WIDE TOP PRIORITY

The White House recently hosted a summit on Advancing American Leadership in Quantum Information Science. The event brought together leading experts in quantum information science (QIS) to discuss how the U.S. can maintain its position as a leader in QIS, while also continuing to grow its skill base and expertise. Speakers at the event included National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Cordova, Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary of Science Paul Dabbar, and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Walter Copan.

The event was geared towards 4 industries:

  • Supply Chain Providers
  • Quantum Companies and Startups
  • Venture and Investment Firms
  • End Users
    • Big Data and Machine Learning
    • Operations Research
    • Chemistry and Materials Science
    • Financial Tech

Along these lines, the primary discussions during the event focused on Developing a Quantum-Smart Workforce; Building out Key QIS Infrastructure and Support; Expanding Opportunities with the Global QIS Community; and the Science of QIS: The 10-Year Horizon.

In conjunction with the White House Summit, the DOE announced $218 million in research funding for QIS. The awards are being administered by three program offices within DOE’s Office of Science: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR); Basic Energy Sciences (BES); and High Energy Physics (HEP); and are led by researchers at 28 academic institutions and nine DOE national laboratories.

The awards cover a range of topics from developing hardware and software for a new generation of quantum computers, to the synthesis and characterization of new materials with special quantum properties, to probing the ways in which quantum computing and information processing provide insights into such cosmic phenomena as Dark Matter and black holes.

The NSF also announced $31 million in new awards for “fundamental quantum research that will enable the United States to lead a new quantum technology revolution.” These awards will are being broken up into two categories:

  • $25 million for exploratory quantum research as part of the Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)-Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (TAQS) effort.
  • $6 million for quantum research and technology development as part of the RAISE-Engineering Quantum Integrated Platforms for Quantum Communication (EQuIP) effort.

For a full list of DOE ASCR awards, click here: https://science.energy.gov/ascr/

For a full list of DOE BES awards, click here: https://science.energy.gov/bes/

For a full list of DOE HEP awards, click here: https://science.energy.gov/hep/

For further information regarding the NSF awards, click here: https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=296699


ADMINISTRATION FINALIZES ITS PLANS TO SCALE BACK OFFSHORE DRILLING REGULATIONS

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement recently finalized its proposal to scale back offshore drilling regulations that were implemented following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. These rollbacks come as part of President Trump’s plans to encourage domestic energy production.

The New York Times reports that some of the biggest changes in the new proposal include:

  • The elimination of a provision requiring independent verification of safety measures and equipment used on offshore platforms;
  • The elimination of the need for a professional engineer’s certification of the safety of the design of some pieces of offshore drilling equipment for new wells;
  • The elimination of a requirement that oil companies design their equipment to function in “most extreme” scenarios involving weather, high heat, strong winds or high pressure from within the undersea oil wells.
The new rules themselves explain that the old regulations “created potentially unduly burdensome requirements for oil and natural gas production operators on the Outer Continental Shelf, without meaningfully increasing safety of the workers or protection of the environment.” However, the new rule “supports the administration’s objective of facilitating energy dominance by encouraging increased domestic oil and gas production and reducing unnecessary burdens on stakeholders, while ensuring safety and environmental protection”

The new rule will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.


CONGRESSIONAL HEARING FOCUSES ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NUCLEAR ENERGY INNOVATION CAPABILITIES ACT

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Energy Subcommittee recently held a hearing on the potential benefits of focusing more on nuclear energy. The hearing examined potential challenges in exploring nuclear energy here in the U.S.

Led by full committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), and Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-TX), the hearing also explored implementation of S. 97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) which just recently passed the House and moved to the President’s desk for signature into law. Below is the full list of witnesses that testified:

  • Mr. Edward McGinnis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Mr. Harlan Bowers, President, X-energy
  • Dr. John Parsons, Co-Chair, MIT Study on the Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon Constrained World
  • Dr. John Wagner, Associate Laboratory Director, Nuclear Science & Technology, Idaho National Laboratory
The work and capabilities of the DOE National Labs received multiple rounds of praise with full committee Chairman Smith stating, “Because of technical challenges and the high regulatory costs associated with licensing commercial reactors, the DOE national laboratory system plays an important role in supporting nuclear innovation. National labs can host critical research infrastructure, while DOE researchers can investigate the fundamental scientific questions that are key to the development of next-generation nuclear fuels and reactor designs.”

In addition, Public-Private partnerships in advancing nuclear energy technologies was a popular topic, with Subcommittee Chairman Weber noting, “[S.97] directs DOE to partner with industry to construct and operate reactor prototypes at DOE national labs, and authorizes key research infrastructure needed for next generation nuclear R&D. We know that DOE has the expertise to lead in this arena.”

To view the hearing in full, click here: https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/subcommittee-energy-hearing-advancing-nuclear-energy-powering-future?utm_medium=email&utm_source=FYI&dm_i=1ZJN,5VNE2,E29O8W,MZT6B,1


NEW REPORT EXPLORES HOW TO BOOST U.S. COMPETITIVENESS IN HIGH ENTROPY ALLOYS MANUFACTURING

Breakthroughs in new materials technologies are a critical component of the technological advances needed to bolster next-generation manufacturing. MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight recently convened experts from industry, academia, and government, to identify challenges and gather insights on the prospects of High Entropy Alloys (HEA). This information is compiled in a new report on Manufacturing High Entropy Alloys: Pathway to Industrial Competitiveness.

Through their research, MForesight developed a roadmap to boosting U.S. competitiveness in HEA manufacturing. Included in this roadmap are four recommendations to increasing the U.S.’s prowess:

  1. Invest in critical translational research for HEA manufacturing, from the earliest alloy identification to processes enabling final part production. HEA processing technologies need to be developed past the prototype stage to enable scalable manufacturing.
  2. Establish a National Testing Center for HEAs focused on high-throughput testing to enable rapid discovery, testing, and validation of HEAs and manufacturing processes.
  3. Develop a central database for HEA data to minimize duplicative efforts and accelerate innovations by U.S. researchers and manufacturers.
  4. Enhance collaborative efforts through increased access to federal facilities and expertise and through the establishment of an interdisciplinary working group. Leveraging and aligning existing federal resources and efforts are essential to HEA manufacturing progress

To learn more about the challenges to achieving this goal, read the full report found here: http://mforesight.org/


NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION RELEASES NEW SEXUAL HARRASMENT POLICY, PLEDGING ONGOING EFFORTS IN THIS AREA

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released its new policy on harassment by personnel working on NSF-funded projects. The new policy requires awardee organizations to notify the NSF of:

  • Any findings or determinations that an NSF-funded principal investigator or co-principal investigator committed harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault.
  • The placement of the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on administrative leave, or of the imposition of any administrative action relating to a harassment or sexual assault finding or investigation.
In addition, to this policy, the NSF allows affected individuals to submit complaints directly to the NSF Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The webpage also includes information such as “promising practices” on policies, effective codes of conduct and standards of behavior that may be applied everywhere NSF-supported research is conducted.

In discussing the new policy, NSF Director France Cordova noted “NSF’s actions on this complex and challenging issue will not stop here. There are sure to be unforeseen challenges, even with all the discussion with and support from our partners. In the coming months, we will continue to listen to the research community and monitor our progress.”

To view the new policy in full, click here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/09/21/2018-20574/notification-requirements-regarding-findings-of-sexual-harassment-other-forms-of-harassment-or.

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