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DC Brief: Office Of Federal Relations

AAU Submits Comments to Senate on Possible America Competes Legislation

The Association of American Universities (AAU) on Aug. 18 submitted a comment letter to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.  

The letter responds to an invitation for recommendations from stakeholders issued by Senators Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., who are leading the committee's effort to develop reauthorization legislation.

The AAU letter recommends that Congress reauthorize the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology for five years, at an annual growth rate of four percent. The letter also encourages the committee to take legislative action to reduce unnecessary or duplicative federal regulations and reporting requirements. It cites some of the detailed recommendations for reducing regulatory burden contained in the 2014 National Science Board report “Reducing Investigators’ Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research.” The AAU letter also contains recommendations in a number of other areas, including STEM education and commercialization of research.

Earlier this summer, the senators hosted two roundtable discussions on maximizing basic research and improving STEM education. AAU President Hunter Rawlings participated in the discussion on STEM education and noted the role that the AAU STEM Education Initiative is playing in improving teaching of undergraduates in STEM disciplines. A third roundtable discussion on the commercialization of research might occur in September 2015. (Association of American Universities - Aug. 19, 2015)


White House Looking for Help on Personalized Medicine Technology

[The Obama] administration is collecting suggestions from the general public about improving personalized medicine. In a new blog post, White House chief data officer DJ Patil and [Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI)] project manager Stephanie Devaney said they wanted ideas about topics including: how to include underserved populations in precision medicine research; developing new [application programming interfaces] in electronic health record systems to help patients access their clinical data and then donate it for research; improving information sharing between organizations; data storage technology; [and] using open competitions and technology challenges to generate more new ideas. The PMI team is collecting feedback until Sep. 21. (Nextgov - Aug. 24, 2015)


President Obama Announces More Than a Billion Dollars in Energy Department Initiatives to Advance Innovative Clean Energy Technologies

President Obama today announced more than one billion dollars in Department of Energy (DOE) initiatives to drive innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy. [T]hrough the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that could lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic power systems. (U.S. Department of Energy - Aug. 24, 2015)


In the NSF's Priciest Grant-Fraud Settlement, Northeastern U. Will Pay $2.7 Million

Northeastern University has agreed to pay $2.7 million to cover nine years of mishandling federal research funds, in the largest-ever civil settlement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). The case stems from the management of NSF grant money awarded to Northeastern for work at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, from 2001 to 2010. (Chronicle of Higher Education - Aug. 21, 2015)

For more information, please visit:

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/emails/omni/federal-relations/dcbrief.html

Innovations from the wild world of optics and photonics

Princeton research team explores ways of communicating and processing signals with light waves

image showing a silicon photonic platform

A silicon photonics platform connecting excitable lasers to form a photonic neural network.
Credit and Larger Version

July 31, 2015

Traditional computers manipulate electrons to turn our keystrokes and Google searches into meaningful actions. But as components of the computer processor shrink to only a few atoms across, those same electrons become unpredictable and our ability to shuttle them across long and short distances diminishes.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), theLightwave Communications Laboratory at Princeton University, led by Paul Prucnal, seeks to understand, build, and design the next generation of communication systems that process information far faster than today's devices using photonics, or the manipulation of light.

The field of photonics began, roughly, with the invention of the laser in the late 1950s and found widespread applications in the 1990s with the explosive growth of the Internet.

Photonics not only made high-speed long-distance data transmission via fiber optic cables feasible and affordable, it has also enabled advances in laser manufacturing, chemical sensing, medical diagnostics, display technologies and many other fields.

But scientists are betting that not all of light's secret abilities have been discovered yet.

In his lab at Princeton, Prucnal and his team have been experimenting with a variety of optics and photonics-based applications, creating systems to carry hidden messages, detect malicious cyber-attacks and improve the quality and capacity of wireless communications using light.

They are even exploring whether it may be possible to create a network of photonic "neurons" to perform functions our brain does well--like pattern recognition--but significantly faster. Through partnership with industry, their innovations are moving quickly from the lab to the factory.

Coping with billions of devices

Currently, there are more mobile communication devices than humans on the planet, and this proliferation is expected to continue. However, the radio bandwidth on which wireless communications depend is a limited resource.

As more and more devices compete for bandwidth, we can expect more bottlenecks and more interference from nearby competing antennas, said Matthew Chang, a Ph.D. student in Prucnal's lab. To handle the constant growth in demand for capacity and bandwidth, optical solutions are needed.

"With a frequency 1 million times bigger than radio waves, optics sees the entire current radio-wave spectrum as practically a single frequency," Chang said. "In terms of its ability to provide the bandwidth for a growing army of mobile phones, we say it's future proof."

In the near term, the lab is working on technologies that harness optical signal processing to improve the efficiency of the cell towers and mobile antennas already in place.

One such technology the lab developed is called photonicbeamforming. It involves encoding wireless signals on light waves to allow antennas to selectively detect signals from a desired spatial direction, operating with precision and over bandwidths that exceed what is possible with electronics.

The phenomenon is akin to "the cocktail party effect," where one is able to tune in to the frequency and direction of a friend's voice in a crowded room.

The human brain is adept at de-noising signals, Chang explained. "We know what direction the voice is coming from and can train our ears to sense in that direction."

We also know what a friend's voice sounds like and can even read lips if we need to, he said. Radio antennas can't do that.

"We want to design processors that give radio antennas the ability to sense a signal, lock on its spatial direction, and follow it to the source," Chang said.

The technology that the team developed utilizes an array of antennas coupled to an adaptive processor to filter signals in both space and frequency. The technology allows the processor to steer the beam of radio waves while rejecting interfering directional noise sources.

Their techniques can even apply algorithms that let the antenna system adapt to rapidly changing environments in order to track fast moving targets or rapidly switch between a wide-angle search and detailed inspection.

Not surprisingly, many of the group's technologies are current of interest to the military. However, they imagine that one day every cell phone will contain a beamforming chip to better manage wireless inputs and outputs, the way many of today's phones contain a small component to switch between different wireless channels.

Working with partners L3 Telemetry East and Bascom Hunter Technologies, which Prucnal helped found, the researchers are transferring the beamforming technology from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Bascom Hunter received Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) support from NSF in 2013 and 2015 to adapt their technologies for public safety radio networks and to improve the intermediate links between the core networks. They hope to see the technology improving the performance of cellphone towers and military applications within one or two years.

More importantly, as data rates climb exponentially, the group sees optics and photonics as a way to provide gigabit or faster Internet to everyone, without the use of optical fiber.

"The current processing of radio signals is akin to trying to sense and map the changing surface of the ocean by slowly sucking water through a single straw," said Prucnal. "Photonic processing makes it possible to process radio signals with greater precision and parallelism, and with greater speed, than electronics."

Building a laser-fast brain

If light-encoded Wi-Fi signals sounds far-out, another of the projects in Prucnal's lab is truly at the distant frontiers of research: the photonic neuron.

The project came out of conversations between Prucnal and David Rosenbluth, a neuroscientist at Lockheed Martin, with which the lab collaborates. Prucnal noticed that the differential equations that describe the behavior of neurons have the same forms as the equations for lasers.

Furthermore, in biological neurons, each has an internal voltage. If that voltage reaches a certain point, the neuron emits a spike, signaling the neurons to which it is connected.

Likewise, a laser gets pumped with current, exciting more electrons from one state to another; at a certain point, the laser reaches its threshold and outputs an optical spike.

The dynamics, they noted, were astonishingly similar, but lasers have the potential to perform the same action a billion times faster than the chemical signaling in the brain.

This led the researchers to wonder if it was possible to design a synthetic system made of optical and photonic materials that could perform some of the functions of a physiological neuron.

After developing a single photonic neuron in 2009, the research team has been working to build sophisticated, ultrafast signal processing circuits that mimic the visual, auditory, and motor functions found in biological organisms.

Their initial implementation was inspired by the crayfish tailflip response--a natural wonder of high-speed sensing.

Crayfish have a neuronal circuit in their brain that is networked in such a way that, if it senses danger, a specific set of neurons fire simultaneously, causing the creature to flip its tail to swim away with amazing speed.

With this biological model in mind, Prucnal and his team designed a system that uses several excitable lasers, pre-loaded in such a way that if a particular signal comes in, the lasers recognize the specific pattern and fire a spike together.

In the future, the researchers say such a device could be capable of making nearly instantaneous calculations in life-or-death situations, such as deciding whether to eject a fighter pilot from a jet.

"When thousands of photonic neurons are networked together and working in unison, we believe we can build a processor that can sense patterns and cues with an almost human-like quality, but a billion times faster," said Bhavin Shastri, a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton working on the project.

For example, the team imagines being able to peer into all the wireless signals around you, lock onto one of interest, and take action on it--all in an instant as the signal zooms across your antenna.

The lab's research was featured on the cover of the IEEE Photonics Society Newsletter in June 2014; and in November 2014, the group published an article in IEEE's Journal of Lightwave Technology describing how to scale the signal-processing platform to large numbers of neurons.

By finding new ways to encode and process light and by applying these methods to existing and brand new applications, Prucnal's group is helping to solve the looming bandwidth shortage while imagining entirely new capabilities for photonic systems.

"With all the information that can be obtained using photonic processing of the radio image, we could track signals coming from all directions and all frequencies, separating multiple signals of interest from multiple interferers, quickly finding holes in the radio spectrum available for transmission, and mapping out spatial features of the radio environment in real-time," Prucnal said. "This vision is not only exciting, but will be necessary as the use of wireless communications proliferates in the future."

--  Aaron Dubrow, NSF (703) 292-4489 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Large Facilities Manual (June 2015)

Summary:
A major responsibility of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is the support of scientific facilities as an essential part of science and engineering enterprise. NSF makes awards to external Recipient entities – primarily universities, consortia of universities or non-profit organizations – to undertake construction, management, and operation of facilities. Such awards frequently take the form of cooperative agreements.1 Generally speaking, NSF does not directly construct or operate the facilities it supports. However, NSF retains responsibility for overseeing the Recipient’s development and management of the facility as well as assuring the successful performance of the funded activities. Facilities are defined as shared-use infrastructure, instrumentation and equipment that are accessible to a broad community of researchers and/or educators.

Facilities supported by NSF may be centralized or may consist of distributed-but-integrated installations. They may incorporate large-scale networking or computational infrastructure, multi-user instruments or networks of such instruments, or other infrastructure, instrumentation, and equipment having a major impact on a broad segment of a scientific or engineering discipline. Historically, awards have been made for such diverse projects as accelerators, telescopes, research vessels, aircraft, and geographically distributed but networked observatory systems.

The Large Facilities Manual contains NSF policy on the planning and management of large facilities. The purpose of the Manual is to provide guidance for NSF staff and awardees to:
• Carry out effective project planning, management, assistance, assurance, and oversight of large facilities,
• Clearly state the policies, requirements, and recommended procedures pertinent at each stage of a facility’s life cycle, and
• Document best practices that ensure accountability and effectiveness of the program.
The policies in the Large Facilities Manual apply to all large facility projects funded by NSF, including:
• Large facilities that have been or will be constructed or acquired with funds from the Major Research Equipment and Facility Construction (MREFC) Account;
• Facilities or infrastructure projects that have been or will be constructed or acquired with funds provided through the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) and/or leveraged with Education and Human Resources (EHR) Accounts and that require National Science Board (NSB) approval; and
• Existing facilities for which operation and replacement cost would be similar in size to MREFC-funded and MREFC-eligible projects.

NSF typically supports facility construction from two appropriations accounts: the MREFC Account and the R&RA Account. The MREFC Account was created in 1995 to fund the acquisition, construction, commissioning, and upgrading of major science and engineering infrastructure projects that could not be otherwise supported by Directorate level budgets without a severe negative impact on funded science. MREFC projects generally range in cost from one hundred to several hundred million dollars expended over a multi-year period. The R&RA account can be used to support other activities involving an MREFC-funded facility that the MREFC Account cannot support, including planning, conceptual design, development, operations and maintenance, and scientific research. Construction and acquisition projects at a smaller scale, usually of a scale ranging from millions to tens of millions of dollars, are also normally supported from the R&RA Account. The provisions and principles in the Large Facilities Manual also apply to these smaller-scale facilities funded through the R&RA Account, but procedures should be modified appropriately to fit the needs of each facility.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15089/nsf15089.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_109

Federal funding for science and engineering at universities down 6 percent

Latest figures show obligations down for R&D and facilities that support science and engineering

image of hand holding a pipette and petri dish in a lab

Of the six federal agencies that provide science and engineering funds, only one showed an increase.
Credit and Larger Version

June 30, 2015

Federal agencies obligated $29 billion to 995 science and engineering academic institutions in fiscal year 2013, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). The figure represents a 6 percent decline in current dollars from the previous year, when agencies provided $31 billion to 1,073 institutions.

After adjustment for inflation, federal science and engineering obligations to academic institutions dropped by $1 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2012, and by $2 billion between FY 2012 and FY 2013. The obligations fall into six categories:

  • Research and development;
  • R&D plant (facilities and fixed equipment, such as reactors, wind tunnels and particle accelerators);
  • Facilities and equipment for instruction in science and engineering;
  • Fellowships, traineeships and training grants;
  • General support for science and engineering;
  • Other science and engineering activities.

Of those categories, research and development accounted for 89 percent of total federal obligations during the past three years.

The three largest providers of federal funding in fiscal 2013 were the Department of Health and Human Services (58 percent), NSF (17 percent) and the Department of Defense (12 percent). The Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture and NASA provided the remainder of funding (11 percent, combined). Of these six agencies, only the Department of Energy showed increased obligations between FY 2012 and FY 2013.

The leading 20 universities, ranked in terms of federal academic S&E obligations, accounted for 37 percent of the FY 2013 federal total. The Johns Hopkins University continued to receive the most federal obligations of any university, at $1.5 billion.

NCSES collects information about federal obligations to independent nonprofit institutions in two categories: research and development, and R&D plant. The $6.6 billion provided to 1,068 institutions in FY 2013 represented a 2 percent decrease from $6.8 billion the previous year. The leading 10 nonprofits accounted for 36 percent of fiscal 2013 funding, with the MITRE Corporation receiving the largest total, at $485 million.

The statistics are from the NCSES Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges and Nonprofit Institutions.

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=135570&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

Creating the Next Generation of Nanoscientists and Engineers

Dear Colleague:

Education and workforce development are critical to the advancement of nanotechnology and are encompassed within one of the four goals of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI): “Develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and a dynamic infrastructure and toolset to advance nanotechnology.” As new knowledge is created through exploratory research and development, it is a challenge to translate this understanding into the educational system and to the broader public.

A recent post focused on providing first year students with greater opportunities to participate in STEM research courses. In its role to support the NNI, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office would like to hear from you on these topics. Does your university have (or would you like to have) a nano or emerging technologies club, and would you like to join the conversation regarding a national network of student groups? Have you developed specific resources to help you teach nanoscale concepts in your classroom? Are you offering research opportunities in your introductory-level undergraduate courses? Share your thoughts, comments, stories, and experiences with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,
Michael A. Meador
Director, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
National Science and Technology Council
4201 Wilson Blvd, Stafford II Suite 405
Arlington, VA 22230
www.nano.gov

Chemists demonstrate assembly of new molecular structures

A star-shaped molecule, called "cyanostar," on the surface of graphite

Researchers at Indiana University (IU) study the ability of small molecules to organize themselves into patterns on surfaces, which may open opportunities for new types of materials. This image shows a star-shaped molecule, called "cyanostar," on the surface of graphite. The colored surface texture is experimental data from a scanning tunneling microscope, which uses a sharp metal tip (illustrated in the upper left) to probe the surface so that researchers can form an image of the surface with molecular resolution. The data was converted to 3-D isosurfaces using MeshLab-Visual Computing Lab and Autodesk Maya and Adobe Photoshop were used to render the final image.

This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 
To learn more about this research, see the IU news story . (Date of Image: July 2014)

For more information, please visit:
http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=78192

 

 

 

2015 Quadrennial Technology Review

On March 4, 2015, the Department of Energy released additional details about the strategic priorities of the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR), which is scheduled to be released in May 2015.


The QTR will focus on 6 main research areas:

1) advancing systems and technologies to produce cleaner fuels,
2) enabling modernization of electric power systems,
3) advancing clean electric power technologies,
4) increasing building efficiency,
5) increasing manufacturing efficiency, and
6) advancing clean transportation and vehicle systems and technologies.

The QTR will provide significant detail on the remaining challenges in each of these research areas and the research, development, demonstration, and deployment priorities over the next 4 years. Of particular note are a few areas of research which have gained more attention and focus in the QTR: direct solar fuels, additive manufacturing, energy storage for stationary systems, supercritical carbon dioxide power cycles, and energy-water issues, such as advanced cooling, water treatment and biomass water requirements.

The resulting analysis and recommendations will guide DOE’s programs and capabilities, budgeting priorities, and interactions with academia, industry, and the national labs. The QTR will primarily affect DOE’s applied programs, including fossil, nuclear, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electricity delivery programs.

The research and development recommendations will focus on technologies that have the potential for significant advancement over the next 10 years, leading to commercialization within 15 years. The QTR will not address basic research or technologies, like fusion, that are more than 10 years away.

Background: The first QTR was issued in 2011 under Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Dr. Steven Koonin, as the Undersecretary for Science, led the effort. The current Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz tasked the Department with updating the document in 2014. The 2015 QTR will build upon the first QTR. The new QTR will describe the country’s energy landscape and the changes that have taken place in the last 4 years. It will also identify the research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities, opportunities, and pathways needed to address the current energy challenges.

Nanoscience tops basic research priorities in Presidential FY16 budget

President Obama released his FY 2016 budget request on February 2nd, a submission to Congress which contains many bipartisan ideas but also requires significant changes in top level spending caps to be realized.   

The budget request presents a mostly positive agenda for research and education organizations, both by proposing increases for core funding agencies and by launching new initiatives and emphasis areas, such as an increase in the maximum Pell grant award and programs in the food‐energy‐water nexus, precision medicine and infectious diseases, agricultural research, and disaster resilience.  Moreover, several of the biggest topics for investment and opportunity reflect areas of bipartisan support, such as cybersecurity and exascale computing, advanced manufacturing, and neuroscience.  The President has also re‐ proposed a major new investment in public infrastructure, building on successful programs used in the economic stimulus legislation five years ago to enable states and local communities to derive new capital for major infrastructure needs.  Initiatives such as this, an emphasis on expanded trade authority for the Asia‐Pacific region, and proposed changes to higher education financing come in a year when Congress is expected to consider related legislation, increasing the likelihood that some of these proposals will be accepted.   

In parallel, the request continues to place pressure on the performance of institutions through previous proposals to make substantial cuts to provider payments such as indirect medical education in favor of new policies associated with health care delivery, the request would squeeze defense basic research accounts in favor of more applied or translational initiatives, and the request continues to emphasize college access and completion as part of changes proposed for higher education.

In contrast to the last two years in which Congress and the President had adhered to overall defense and domestic discretionary spending levels, the FY 2016 budget request is being presented to a Congress which has not yet decided how to account for budgetary caps agreed to in a bipartisan 2011 budget deal.  The existing caps, along with sequester levels, would disallow substantial new funding as proposed by the President above FY 2015 levels.  Reflecting a tone set by the President in his most recent State of the Union speech, the Obama Administration’s budget request reflects funding thresholds that assume sequestration is largely offset by changes in tax policy and other savings requiring congressional approval.  These changes requested by the White House are meant to alleviate overall budget pressures and foster an environment for new legislation by Congress to increase the existing spending limits.  While the Congress may disagree with several of his proposed savings, the debate over the overall spending levels is expected to occur early in 2016 and will have significant implications on how many of the proposed increases Congress can provide for individual agencies, accounts, or programs in the annual appropriations process.

Regardless, the annual budget request reflects months of planning and negotiations by the White House and provides a telling window into forthcoming plans and priorities.  The proposed increases for research, education, and infrastructure reflect areas of emphasis for the remaining two years of the Obama Administration and benchmarks for which congressional champions will advocate throughout the appropriations process.

For more information, please visit:

pdf Nanoscience tops basic research priorities in Presidential FY16 budget

Big Data in Materials Research and Development: Summary of a Workshop

Summary:
Early this year the Defense Materials Manufacturing and Infrastructure Standing Committee, acting under the auspices of the National Research Council, convened a two-day workshop to examine “the impact of big data on materials and manufacturing.” A 77-page report was recently issued summarizing the discussions of the 50 workshop participants. Challenges and potential improvements in the following six themes were discussed: “data availability; data size: ‘big data’ vs. data; quality and veracity of data and models; data and metadata ontology and formats; metadata and model availability; and culture.”

In summarizing the workshop’s objective, the report states: “Much of the workshop discussion was driven by an overarching assumption: The materials science community would benefit from appropriate access to data and metadata for materials development, processing, application development, and application life cycles. Currently, that access does not appear to be sufficiently widespread, and many participants captured the constraints and identified potential improvements to enable broader access to materials and manufacturing data and metadata.”

For more information, please visit:
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/18760/big-data-in-materials-research-and-development-summary-of-a?dm_i=1ZJN,31LKM,E29SBB,AXV5N,1

President Obama Launches Competitions for New Manufacturing Innovation Hubs and American Apprenticeship Grants

In case you haven’t seen, President Obama earlier today announced the next two competitions for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).  The new institutes will be in the following areas:

·         Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing: Advanced Sensors, Controls, Platforms, and Modeling for Manufacturing – supported by the Department of Energy (DOE)

·         Flexible Electronics – supported by the Department of Defense (DOD)

 Funding of $70 million will be available for each Institute with matching funding required.  Details for the competitions are not yet available; Lewis-Burke will provide an analysis when the solicitations are published.

The White House announcement of the new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes is available at:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/11/fact-sheet-president-obama-launches-competitions-new-manufacturing-innov

 

New Biographical Sketch Format Required for NIH and AHRQ Grant Applications Submitted for Due Dates on or After January 25, 2015

This Notice confirms that NIH and AHRQ will require use of a new biosketch format in applications for research grants submitted for due dates on or after January 25, 2015. Between now and that time, applicants will have the choice of using the old or new biosketch format.

The transition to the new biosketch format follows a Request for Information and a series of pilot Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) using the new format over the last year. Input from the pilots suggests that the instructions for the new forms were clear and that a majority of the applicants and reviewers felt that the new format would be helpful in describing the past experience and qualifications of researchers.

For more information, please visit:

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-024.html

Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT)

Summary:

The Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (Committee) shall review and make recommendations regarding general policy for NIST, its organization, its budget, and its programs, within the framework of applicable national policies as set forth by the President and the Congress.

 

The Committee shall consist of 15 members appointed by the Director of NIST, at least 10 of whom shall be from United States industry. Members shall be selected solely on the basis of established records of distinguished service; shall provide representation of a cross-section of traditional and emerging United States industries; and shall be eminent in fields such as business, research, new product development, engineering, labor, education, management consulting, environment, and international relations. Nominations for a particular category should come from organizations or individuals within that category. No employee of the Federal Government shall serve as a member of the Committee.

 

The term of office of each member of the Committee shall be three years, except that vacancy appointments shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacancy.

 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the nominee agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on VCAT, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks VCAT; and 

·         A summary of the candidate's qualifications, including (where applicable) current or former service on Federal advisory boards and Federal employment.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Karen Lellock, Executive Director, VCAT, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1060, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1060; via fax to 301-216-0529; or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

NOTICE: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-26317

 

APPLICATIONS DUE: Nominations for all NIST committees will be accepted on an ongoing basis and will be considered as and when vacancies arise.

NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee

Summary:

The Committee shall provide input to NIST on the Smart Grid Standards, Priorities, and Gaps, on the overall direction, status and health of the Smart Grid implementation by the Smart Grid industry including identification of issues and needs, on Smart Grid Interoperability Panel activities and on the direction of research and standards activities.

 

The Committee shall consist of no less than nine and no more than 15 members. Members shall be selected on the basis of established records of distinguished service in their professional community and their knowledge of issues affecting Smart Grid deployment and operations. Members shall reflect the wide diversity of technical disciplines and competencies involved in the Smart Grid deployment and operations and will come from a cross section of organizations. Nominations for a particular field should come from organizations or individuals within that field. 

 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the nominee agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on the Committee, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks of the Committee; and 

·         A summary of the candidate's qualifications, including (where applicable) current or former service on Federal advisory boards and Federal employment.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Mr. Cuong Nguyen, Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8200, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8200; or via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

National Institute of Standards and Technology Federal Advisory Committees

AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

 

BACKGROUND: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites and requests nomination of individuals for appointment to eight existing Federal Advisory Committees: Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board, National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee, Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee, and Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. NIST will consider nominations received in response to this notice for appointment to the Committees, in addition to nominations already received. Specific information for each committee can be found below.

 

Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

 

The Board shall review the work of the private sector contractor(s), which assists the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in administering the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (Award). The Board will make such suggestions for the improvement of the Award process as it deems necessary.

 

The Board shall make an annual report on the results of Award activities to the Director of NIST, along with its recommendations for the improvement of the Award process.

 

The Board will consist of approximately 11 members selected on a clear, standardized basis, in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce guidance, and for their preeminence in the field of organizational performance excellence. There will be a balanced representation from U.S. service, manufacturing, nonprofit, education, and health care industries. The Board will include members familiar with the quality improvement operations and competitiveness issues of manufacturing companies, service companies, small businesses, health care providers, and educational institutions. Members will also be chosen who have broad experience in for-profit and nonprofit areas. Nominations for a person involved in any of the above categories should come from organizations or individuals within that category.

 

Board members will be appointed by the Secretary of Commerce for three-year terms and will serve at the discretion of the Secretary. All terms will commence on March 1 and end on February 28 of the appropriate years, or February 29 in a leap year.

 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the nominee agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on the Board, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks of the Board; and 

·         A summary of the candidate's qualifications, including (where applicable) current or former service on Federal advisory boards and Federal employment.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Robert Fangmeyer, Director, Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1020, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020; or via fax to 301-975-4967. 

 

Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

 

The Panel will ensure the integrity of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (Award) selection process. Based on a review of results of examiners' scoring of written applications, Panel members will vote on which applicants merit site visits by examiners to verify the accuracy of quality improvements claimed by applicants. The Panel will also review recommendations from site visits, and recommend Award recipients.

 

The Panel will consist of approximately nine, and not more than 12, members selected on a clear, standardized basis, in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce guidance. There will be a balanced representation from U.S. service, manufacturing, nonprofit, education, and health care industries. The Panel will include members familiar with the quality improvement operations and competitiveness issues of manufacturing companies, service companies, small businesses, health care providers, and educational institutions. Members will also be chosen who have broad experience in for-profit and nonprofit areas.

 

Panel members will be appointed by the Secretary of Commerce for three-year terms and will serve at the discretion of the Secretary. All terms will commence on March 1 and end on February 28 of the appropriate years, or February 29 in a leap year.

 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the nominee agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on the Panel, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks of the Panel; and 

·         A summary of the candidate's qualifications, including (where applicable) current or former service on Federal advisory boards and Federal employment.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Robert Fangmeyer, Director, Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1020, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020; or via fax to 301-975-4967. 

 

International Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB)

 

The Board will identify emerging managerial, technical, administrative, and physical safeguard issues relative to information security and privacy.

 

The Board will advise the NIST and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on information security and privacy issues pertaining to Federal Government information systems, including thorough review of proposed standards and guidelines developed by NIST.

 

The ISPAB will consist of a total of 12 members and a Chairperson.

  • The Board will include four members from outside the Federal Government who are eminent in the information technology industry, at least one of whom is representative of small or medium sized companies in such industries.
  • The Board will include four members from outside the Federal Government who are eminent in the fields of information technology, or related disciplines, but who are not employed by or representative of a producer of information technology.
  • The Board will include four members from the Federal Government who have information system management experience, including experience in information security and privacy, at least one of whom shall be from the National Security Agency.

 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the person agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on ISPAB, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks of the ISPAB; and 

·         A summary of the candidate's qualifications, including (where applicable) current or former service on Federal advisory boards and Federal employment.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Annie Sokol, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8930, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8930; or via fax to: 301-975-8670, Attn: ISPAB Nominations.

 

Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Advisory Board

 

The Board will provide advice on MEP programs, plans, and policies; assess the soundness of MEP plans and strategies; and assess current performance against MEP program plans.

 

The Board shall consist of 10 members, broadly representative of stakeholders, appointed by the Director of NIST. At least two members shall be employed by or on an advisory board for the MEP Centers, and at least five other members shall be from United States small businesses in the manufacturing sector. No member shall be an employee of the Federal Government.

 

The term of office of each member of the Board shall be three years, except that vacancy appointments shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacancy. Any person who has completed two consecutive full terms of service on the Board shall thereafter be ineligible for appointment during the one-year period following the expiration of the second term.

 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the person agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on the MEP Advisory Board, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks of the MEP Advisory Board.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Ms. Kari Reidy, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 4800, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800; or via fax to: 301-963-6556.

 

National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Advisory Committee

 

The Committee shall advise the Director of the NIST on carrying out the National Construction Safety Team Act, review and provide advice on the procedures developed under section 2(c)(1) of the Act, and review and provide advice on the reports issued under section 8 of the Act.

 

On January 1 of each year, the Committee shall transmit to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report that includes: (1) An evaluation of National Construction Safety Team (Team) activities, along with recommendations to improve the operation and effectiveness of Teams, and (2) an assessment of the implementation of the recommendations of Teams and of the Committee.

 

The Committee shall consist of not fewer than five nor more than 10 members. Members shall reflect the wide diversity of technical disciplines and competencies involved in the National Construction Safety Teams investigations. Nominations for a particular field should come from organizations or individuals within that field. 

Nominations should include:

·         A nomination letter specifying the category (field of eminence) for which the candidate is qualified; and a statement that the person agrees to the nomination, acknowledges the responsibilities of serving on the Committee, and will actively participate in good faith in the tasks of the Committee; and 

·         A summary of the candidate's qualifications, including (where applicable) current or former service on Federal advisory boards and Federal employment.

 

Send nominations via mail to: Tina Faecke, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8604, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8604; or via fax to 301-975-4032.

MRI Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

    1. How do I find recent MRI awards to see what types of awards are made by the program?

ELIGIBILITY

    1. What is the difference between a "non-Ph.D.-granting institution" and a "non-degree-granting organization"?
    2. What is the difference between a "consortium" and a "collaborative proposal"?
    3. When should I use "MRI Consortium" and/or "MRI Collaborative" in the title of the proposal?
    4. Is resubmission of a previously declined MRI proposal allowed?
    5. If a PI or Co-PI has received previous MRI awards, does that make them ineligible to submit a MRI proposal?
    6. Is there a limit to the number of MRI awards that an organization is eligible to receive?
    7. Does a subaward to an organization count against that organization's proposal submission limit?

COST SHARING

    1. What is the required level of cost sharing, and which organizations are required to provide it?
    2. My organization is required to cost share but is willing to contribute MRI-eligible resources that amount to more than 30% of the total MRI-eligible project costs. Is this allowed?
    3. What resources are eligible cost-sharing expenses?
    4. Resources beyond those included as cost sharing or being requested from NSF are required. How do I demonstrate my organization's commitment to provide them?
    5. Where can I find further information on cost sharing?
    6. Can a vendor discount be used as cost sharing?
    7. If a room needs to be renovated or modified to accommodate an instrument, can the associated expense be used as cost-sharing?
    8. Does cost sharing have to be provided in the first year of an award?
    9. My institution is required to cost share, but our development proposal has subawards to organizations that are exempt from the cost-sharing requirement. What is the required cost-sharing level?
    10. My institution is exempt from the cost-sharing requirement, but we have subawards to organizations that are not exempt. Is cost sharing still required and at what level?
    11. Can you give me an example of how to calculate the amount of required cost sharing when some, but not all, organizations included on a MRI proposal are required to cost share?
    12. Which organizations are exempt from cost sharing?
    13. My organization is exempt from cost share but is willing to contribute resources as voluntary cost sharing. Is this allowed?

ELIGIBLE REQUESTS

    1. I have been told that my budget request seems high compared to the average award size from recent years (as found from an abstract search on the NSF web page). Should I make my budget more in line with the average award size?
    2. Can my organization submit more than one development proposal?
    3. Can an instrument development proposal include research activities which are needed to mature enabling technologies that will later be used to develop an instrument, provide an upgrade for the instrument in the future, or otherwise develop another instrument?
    4. Does MRI support renovation or modernization of facilities or infrastructure if the costs are associated with installation of an instrument?
    5. Is an auxiliary piece of equipment part of the instrument or part of the facility infrastructure?
    6. Does MRI allow for acquisition of multiple instruments?
    7. Can you give me an example of an appropriate request for equipment that when combined (physically or virtually) serves as an integrated research instrument?
    8. The instrumentation I am requesting will be used for research, but it will also be available for educational and outreach purposes (e.g., courses and outreach activities) as well. Will this use disqualify the proposal?
    9. Can I, as a faculty member, request salary support?
    10. Is technician time an allowable expense for operating and maintaining the instrument?
    11. What is meant by operations and maintenance?
    12. Is there a limit on salary requests for personnel associated with development proposals?
    13. Are education/outreach expenses eligible costs?
    14. Can a foreign co-PI or collaborator be included in my proposal?
    15. Is the duration of this grant limited to one year for acquisition, or can the duration include more than one year of maintenance expenses, including service contracts?
    16. Can I request an upgrade of an existing instrument?
    17. Can I request a used/refurbished instrument or must it be a new model?
    18. My institution is currently leasing an instrument and would like to purchase it. Is this allowed by MRI?
    19. The MRI solicitation notes that incremental costs associated with the implementation of the Data Management Plan are allowable expenses. What can I ask for?

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

    1. Do I need to include a letter certifying my organization's degree-granting status, even if I have a cost sharing commitment letter, or even if the organization is not subject to cost sharing?
    2. If I am requesting funds in the budget for postdoctoral personnel, am I required to provide a postdoctoral mentoring plan as part of the proposal?

SUGGESTED DOCUMENTATION

    1. From whom is a statement of collaboration needed?

UNALLOWED DOCUMENTATION

    1. Does the MRI program accept hard-copy proposals, statements of collaboration, or other documents outside of the FastLane or Grants.gov systems?
    2. Can I submit color hard copies of my proposal by regular mail?
    3. Is a letter of intent required?

PROPOSALS AND PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

  1. What is the earliest start date that I can request?
  2. Should I use FastLane or Grants.gov for my proposal submission?
  3. Is the submission deadline flexible?

GENERAL

    1. How do I find recent MRI awards to see what types of awards are made by the program?

ELIGIBILITY

    1. What is the difference between a "non-Ph.D.-granting institution" and a "non-degree-granting organization"?
    2. What is the difference between a "consortium" and a "collaborative proposal"?
    3. When should I use "MRI Consortium" and/or "MRI Collaborative" in the title of the proposal?
    4. Is resubmission of a previously declined MRI proposal allowed?
    5. If a PI or Co-PI has received previous MRI awards, does that make them ineligible to submit a MRI proposal?
    6. Is there a limit to the number of MRI awards that an organization is eligible to receive?
    7. Does a subaward to an organization count against that organization's proposal submission limit?

COST SHARING

    1. What is the required level of cost sharing, and which organizations are required to provide it?
    2. My organization is required to cost share but is willing to contribute MRI-eligible resources that amount to more than 30% of the total MRI-eligible project costs. Is this allowed?
    3. What resources are eligible cost-sharing expenses?
    4. Resources beyond those included as cost sharing or being requested from NSF are required. How do I demonstrate my organization's commitment to provide them?
    5. Where can I find further information on cost sharing?
    6. Can a vendor discount be used as cost sharing?
    7. If a room needs to be renovated or modified to accommodate an instrument, can the associated expense be used as cost-sharing?
    8. Does cost sharing have to be provided in the first year of an award?
    9. My institution is required to cost share, but our development proposal has subawards to organizations that are exempt from the cost-sharing requirement. What is the required cost-sharing level?
    10. My institution is exempt from the cost-sharing requirement, but we have subawards to organizations that are not exempt. Is cost sharing still required and at what level?
    11. Can you give me an example of how to calculate the amount of required cost sharing when some, but not all, organizations included on a MRI proposal are required to cost share?
    12. Which organizations are exempt from cost sharing?
    13. My organization is exempt from cost share but is willing to contribute resources as voluntary cost sharing. Is this allowed?

ELIGIBLE REQUESTS

    1. I have been told that my budget request seems high compared to the average award size from recent years (as found from an abstract search on the NSF web page). Should I make my budget more in line with the average award size?
    2. Can my organization submit more than one development proposal?
    3. Can an instrument development proposal include research activities which are needed to mature enabling technologies that will later be used to develop an instrument, provide an upgrade for the instrument in the future, or otherwise develop another instrument?
    4. Does MRI support renovation or modernization of facilities or infrastructure if the costs are associated with installation of an instrument?
    5. Is an auxiliary piece of equipment part of the instrument or part of the facility infrastructure?
    6. Does MRI allow for acquisition of multiple instruments?
    7. Can you give me an example of an appropriate request for equipment that when combined (physically or virtually) serves as an integrated research instrument?
    8. The instrumentation I am requesting will be used for research, but it will also be available for educational and outreach purposes (e.g., courses and outreach activities) as well. Will this use disqualify the proposal?
    9. Can I, as a faculty member, request salary support?
    10. Is technician time an allowable expense for operating and maintaining the instrument?
    11. What is meant by operations and maintenance?
    12. Is there a limit on salary requests for personnel associated with development proposals?
    13. Are education/outreach expenses eligible costs?
    14. Can a foreign co-PI or collaborator be included in my proposal?
    15. Is the duration of this grant limited to one year for acquisition, or can the duration include more than one year of maintenance expenses, including service contracts?
    16. Can I request an upgrade of an existing instrument?
    17. Can I request a used/refurbished instrument or must it be a new model?
    18. My institution is currently leasing an instrument and would like to purchase it. Is this allowed by MRI?
    19. The MRI solicitation notes that incremental costs associated with the implementation of the Data Management Plan are allowable expenses. What can I ask for?

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

    1. Do I need to include a letter certifying my organization's degree-granting status, even if I have a cost sharing commitment letter, or even if the organization is not subject to cost sharing?
    2. If I am requesting funds in the budget for postdoctoral personnel, am I required to provide a postdoctoral mentoring plan as part of the proposal?

SUGGESTED DOCUMENTATION

    1. From whom is a statement of collaboration needed?

UNALLOWED DOCUMENTATION

    1. Does the MRI program accept hard-copy proposals, statements of collaboration, or other documents outside of the FastLane or Grants.gov systems?
    2. Can I submit color hard copies of my proposal by regular mail?
    3. Is a letter of intent required?

PROPOSALS AND PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

  1. What is the earliest start date that I can request?
  2. Should I use FastLane or Grants.gov for my proposal submission?
  3. Is the submission deadline flexible?

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15012/nsf15012.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click

NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant Announcement

NIH is expected announce its 2015 Shared Instrumentation Grant Program (SIG) early next year and it’s critical to begin planning early. From our recent discussions with NIH officials, it appears that the program due date will likely be shifted from March to May, which we will announce as soon as it’s formally established.

The SIG program encourages applications from groups of NIH-supported investigators to purchase or upgrade a single item of expensive, specialized, commercially available instrumentation or an integrated system in the $100,000 to $600,000 price range. Rutgers takes an active role in planning and supporting core facilities on our campuses. Additionally, institutional support is provided to enhance the competitiveness of grant applications to the NIH SIG Program. Our Core Facilities Committee at Rutgers is soliciting brief two-page pre-applications from PIs planning to submit proposals to the SIG program. All applications to the SIG program requesting institutional resources should be submitted to this committee. We will use this website and other channels to share future announcements as more information becomes available. Inquiries should go to Terri Kinzy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 732-235-5450.

For more information, please visit:

http://ored.rutgers.edu/content/nih-shared-instrumentation-grant-program-preparation?utm_source=News+for+All+Faculty+and+Research+Staff+Nov.+25&utm_campaign=Faculty%2Fstaff+newsletterr&utm_medium=email

Grant Proposal Guide, December 2014

Table of Contents:

I.Pre-Submission Information

II.Proposal Preparation Instructions

III.NSF Proposal Processing and Review

IV.Non-Award Decisions and Transactions

V.Renewal Proposals

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/gpg_index.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_109

Award and Administration Guide, December 2014

Summary:

Chapter I: NSF Awards

Chapter II: Grant Administration

Chapter III: Financial Requirements and Payments

Chapter IV: Grantee Standards

Chapter V: Allowability of Costs

Chapter VI: Other Post Award Requirements and Considerations

Chapter VII: Grant Administration Disputes and Misconduct

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/aag_index.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_109

pdf Award and Administration Guide, December 2014

Is the Higgs boson really the Higgs boson?

Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Videos credited to the National Science Foundation, an agency of the U.S. Government, may be distributed freely. However, some materials within the videos may be copyrighted. If you would like to use portions of NSF-produced programs in another product, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=77450

Broader Impacts: Improving society

Summary:

Scientific progress comes in all shapes and sizes. Researchers peer at the microscopic gears of genomes, scan the heavens for clues of our origins. They unearth wind-weathered fossils, labor over complex circuitry, guide students through the maze of learning. Disparate fields, researchers and methods united by one thing: potential. Every NSF grant has the potential to not only advance knowledge, but benefit society -- what we call broader impacts. Just like the kaleidoscopic nature of science, broader impacts come in many forms. No matter the method, however, broader impacts ensure all NSF-funded science works to better our world.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/od/iia/special/broaderimpacts/?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51

National Science Board Meeting

November 19, 2014 8:00 AM  to 
November 20, 2014 4:00 PM
National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Rm 1235



Meetings of the full National Science Board are usually held five times a year. They are open to the public unless otherwise specified. Exact meeting times and locations to be determined.  Public agenda are usually available one week before the meetings.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/events/event_summ.jsp?cntn_id=129248&WT.mc_id=USNSF_13&WT.mc_ev=click

White House Report Recommends Nanotechnology Grand Challenges

Summary:

A new report issued by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology urges coordinated federal action to support the development of commercial products based on discoveries from nanotechnology research.  Among the report’s recommendations is the establishment of a series of Grand Challenges to focus future nanotechnology R&D.

The “Report to the President and Congress on the Fifth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative” was approved by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in late August and was released to the public in October.  The 88-page report was prepared by a thirteen member Working Group co-chaired by PCAST members J. Michael McQuade of United Technologies Corporation and Mark Gorenberg of Zetta Venture Partners.   Eleven members were outside advisors from national laboratories,  universities, and corporations.   

Early in the report it states:
“The primary conclusion of our 2014 PCAST review is that the United States will only be able to claim the rewards that come from investing in nanotechnology research and sustaining an overarching Federal initiative if the Federal interagency process, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the agencies themselves transition their nanotechnology programmatic efforts beyond supporting and reporting on basic and applied research and toward building program, coordination, and leadership frameworks for translating the technologies into commercial products.”
The federal government has spent approximately $20 billion on nanotechnology R&D in the last thirteen years.  During the August PCAST telephone conference McQuade noted that annual nanotechnology spending has fallen by about 20% since 2010.   The Department of Defense is a major funder of nanotechnology research, with much of the funding decline was experienced by DoD.  For FY 2015 the Administration requested $1.537 billion for nanotechnology R&D, approximately the same as current year funding.  Twenty-seven federal agency units receive federal nanotechnology funding.

The report focused on how future nanotechnology R&D funding should be spent.  Twelve recommendations were made; the Working Group identified the following as the “three most important recommendations”:

“1. While certain elements of the current Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives framework should be maintained, the primary active programmanagement structure should be driven by the Federal and OSTP commitment to the concept of nanotechnology Grand Challenges.

“2. We reiterate the need for an ongoing, separate standing committee of crosssector nanotechnology experts that advises, but does not evaluate, the nanotechnology activities of the U.S. Government. We also iterate the need for a functional interagency process via the National Science and Technology Council, the Committee on Technology, and the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee that is able to make crossagency funding priorities when needed to address nanotechnology Grand Challenges.

“3. We reiterate the need to assess Federal nanotechnology research and commercialization funding through a more formal system of metrics.”
The report defines a Grand Challenge as “a large, outwardfacing effort with a specific, measurable goal. A Grand  Challenge has a welldefined technical goal with a storytelling case that inspires different sectors to invest in achieving the goal. Most Grand Challenges address an issue of significantsocietal impact.”  The report continues: “A nanotechnology Grand Challenge should be audacious but achievable and stimulate the network of activities that will drive scientific ideas to commercial nanotechnology and catalyze new discovery for technologies of the future.”  Examples of Grand Challenges include “nano-enabled desalination of seawater,” “nano-enabled solid-state refrigeration,” nano 3D printing for manufacturing, and a nanoscale therapeutic for a major cancer type. 

In a cover letter addressed to President Obama from PCAST Co-Chairs John Holdren and Eric Lander  they state:

“The transition toward commercialization can have implications for drug delivery, energy technology, smart sensors, clean water, quantum computing, and more. The United States can continue to lead in research and development, and the time is now to ensure the Nation will lead in the commercialization of nanotechnology, as well.”
For more information, please visit:

http://www.aip.org/fyi/2014/white-house-report-recommends-nanotechnology-grand-challenges

Controversy Over NSF Grants Continues

“On the basis of the most optimistic appraisal of progress, the current review work is 5% complete, which implies that this oversight initiative will span at least 12 months,” wrote House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) in an August 27 letter to National Science Foundation Director France Cordova.   Smith’s prediction, coming at the end of this five page letter, provides a clear signal that the controversy about NSF’s funding of grants will continue well into 2015.

This controversy continues to cause significant conflict between Smith and the most senior Democrat on the committee, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).  In a September 30 letter to Smith she wrote “this campaign against NSF’s merit-review system is indefensible absent some compelling explanation of what you are trying to accomplish and why these materials must be in your possession.  As it stands, the investigation looks like a fishing expedition, pure and simple.”

The materials Johnson refers to in her letter stem from an April 7 letter from Smith to NSF that he refers to again in his August letter as “all official documents pertaining to 20 NSF-approved research projects.”  While access has been provided to some redacted official documents under NSF supervision at NSF headquarters, there continues to be disputes about the provision of these documents to the committee. 

Smith’s August 27 letter cites various court decisions that he states affirms that “Congress’s authority to obtain information, including but not limited to, confidential information is extremely broad.”  He later writes “There can be no dispute about the Committee’s authority to oversee the NSF. Furthermore, in its attempts to obtain information about 20 NSF-funded research projects and gain information and insights into the NSF peer review process for awarding approximately $7 billion annually for scientific research, the Committee is certainly pursuing a valid legislative purpose.”

Responding to this point, Johnson writes: “Your August 27 letter articulates the legal case for the broad powers of Congress to compel production of materials from Federal agencies. I have no disagreement with that statement of Congressional rights.  However, what your letter fails to articulate is a convincing reason why you so desperately need the actual records in your possession even after your staff have failed to find any evidence of misconduct.  I believe that the legal right to these documents must be balanced against the potential harm to NSF’s merit-review process from forcing them to be produced.”  In her letter, Johnson also cites a media report containing information that she said was only in confidential material reviewed by the committee staff.

As Smith wrote, the committee’s investigation will continue.  Johnson’s letter refers to a request the Chairman made last month for “the confidential, pre-decisional materials for an additional 30 grants.”   A statement from the committee quoting Smith provides further insight.  Said Smith “There are many grants that no taxpayer would consider in the national interest, or worthy of how their hard-earned dollars should be spent. We have every right and responsibility under the law to limit the government’s waste and misuse of taxpayer dollars. The public deserves an explanation for why the NSF has spent hundreds of thousands of their dollars on musicals about climate change, bicycle designs and a video game that allows users to ‘relive prom night.’ In conducting its proper oversight role, the Committee has not jeopardized the integrity of the peer review process, nor made public any external reviewers' names. Our efforts will continue until NSF agrees to only award grants that are in the national interest.”

For more information, please visit:

http://aip.org/fyi/2014/controversy-over-nsf-grants-continues?dm_i=1ZJN,2Y5VP,E29SBB,AMZZP,1

Competition to be Held for Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute

The Air Force Research Laboratory has announced a Notice of Intent to release a Broad Agency Announcement in early November regarding a competition for an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation - Integrated Photonics.  Federal funding of up to $110 million will be made available, with private sector cost sharing of at least 1:1.

The White House announced the competition for an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute on October 3 as a component of its recognition of National Manufacturing Day.  Regarding this new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI), Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society (a Member Society of the American Institute of Physics) commented “The DOD’s announcement to pursue a photonics-focused IMI is a significant success not only for our community but also for the future of scientific research and development.  OSA recognizes the time, resources and collaboration it took to participate in this process and commends the community for their efforts.  Photonics is receiving the recognition it deserves and American manufacturing stands to benefit as a result.”

This announcement is not a call for proposals.  The October 3 Notice of Intent for the Institute for Manufacturing Innovation – Integrated Photonics explains that the Broad Agency Announcement will be released early next month.  An Offerors Day is planned for November 18 in Northern Virginia.

There are currently four other Institutes.  The Department of Defense manages three Institutes for Additive Manufacturing, Lightweight and Modern Metals, and Digital Manufacturing and Design.  The Department of Energy manages an Institute for Power Electronics.  Acquisition is underway for an Advanced Composites Institute.  The Notice explains:

“These Institutes are expected to bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and the states to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, provide shared assets to help companies access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. Each Institute will serve as a regional hub of manufacturing excellence, providing the innovation infrastructure to support regional manufacturing hubs and ensuring that our manufacturing sector is a key pillar in an economy that is built to last.”

Regarding the proposed Photonics Institute, the Notice states:

“This IMI will be expected to create an end-to-end ‘ecosystem’ in the U.S. for Integrated Photonics; including responsive domestic integrated photonics chip fabrication foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and test, and workforce development. The IMI will be structured to allow government, industry and academia to come together with the goal of organizing the currently fragmented U.S. capabilities in integrated photonics technology and better position the U.S. relative to global competition. The Integrated Photonics IMI will also enable universities and small to medium enterprises to participate in and benefit from the IMI’s manufacturing advances. The IMI will need to be structured to address both DOD and commercial applications, with a focus on maturing the technology from TRL [Technology Readiness Level] 4 to 7. The Institute will be expected to become self-sustaining after 5 years from the signing of the Cooperative Agreement.”

OSA, the American Physical Society (another AIP Member Society) and other scientific organizations have developed the National Photonics Initiative to increase public awareness of the importance of photonics.

For more information, please visit:

http://aip.org/fyi/2014/competition-be-held-integrated-photonics-manufacturing-institute?dm_i=1ZJN,2Y5VP,E29SBB,AMZZP,1

FY 2014 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan

The footprint of the National Science Foundation (NSF) covers property under the direct use of NSF and
its Office of Inspector General. The Foundation has been successful in identifying to the lessor of its
main Headquarters (HQ) building ways to implement energy and water efficiency measures. We will
continue to work with the lessor throughout the period of the current lease. Upon lease expiration, NSF
will be able to greatly accelerate the environmental performance of its Headquarters because we plan to
relocate to a new building leased by the General Services Administration (GSA), and GSA now requires
higher “green lease” standards for new leases of commercial space.
The Foundation provides financial assistance awards to organizations that conduct scientific research on
behalf of the nation. These properties are not used, managed, or operated by the agency. NSF has no
direct control over the business operations of our recipient organizations. We have limited ability to
influence the organizations’ consumption of electricity, water, and vehicle fuel. However, we are
committed to working within the legal and logistical confines of our assistive funding instruments with
the grantee organizations to improve their operational efficiency and sustainability.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15009/nsf15009.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_124

pdf FY 2014 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan

 

NSF Merit Review Process: FY 2013 Digest

Earlier this month the National Science Foundation released a sixteen-page compilation of statistics about its merit review process that will be of great interest to researchers.

“The National Science Foundation’s Merit Review Process: Fiscal Year 2013 Digest”summarizes an 84-page report mandated by the National Science Board.  The digest consists of 32 charts and graphs; among those findings that are highlighted:
  • From FY 2001 to FY 2013, the number of proposals NSF received increased significantly.  The number of awards remained relatively constant.  The percentage of (all) awards funded in FY 2001 was 31%; in FY 2013 it declined to 22%.  The success rate for research proposals was 19.5% in FY 2013.
  • More than 80% of NSF awards went to academic institutions in FY 2013.
  • The percentage of award decisions made within six months in FY 2005 and FY 2013 is similar.
  • Proposals submitted by and awards made to women have increased since FY 2005, although both are less than 25% of the total.
  • Proposals submitted by and awards made to “under-represented racial and ethnic groups” have increased slightly, with both less than 7% of the total.
  • 36% of the proposals submitted in FY 2013 were from principal investigators who have not previously received an NSF grant.
  • The average grant size (in inflation-adjusted dollars) and award duration have been relatively constant.
  • The difference in success rates between early career principal investigators and later career principal investigators has declined.
  • Less than one in every 300 proposals is returned without review because it failed to meet the merit review criteria.
  • In FY 2013, the value of the proposals that received a rating of at least average that could not be funded was $1.84 billion.  (Note: the total FY 2013 NSF appropriation was $6,901.9 million.)
The full report provided much additional detail.  Of note:

  • The success rate for competitively reviewed proposals in FY 2013 ranged from a high of 26% in the Geosciences Directorate to a low of 18% in Education and Human Resources.  See Appendix 1 on pages 53-54 for all directorates. 
  • A map on page 33 displays “FY 2013 Research Grant Dollars per Capita.”
  • There is extensive discussion about the NSF merit review process starting on page 34; also see page 72.
  • A table on page 66 details the “number of people involved in NSF-funded activities” in FY 2013.  There were 44,0000 senior researchers; 14,000 other professionals; 6,000 post-doctoral associates; 42,000 graduate students; 29,000 undergraduate students; 40,000 K-12 teachers; and 124,000 K-12 students.
 
Earlier this year the NSF released a 6 minute video on its merit review process that is available here.

Think Nano for Clean Energy

THINK NANO FOR CLEAN ENERGY 

A group of Rutgers researchers supported by IAMDN have developed a technology for cost effective clean energy. Led by Teddy Asefa, the Rutgers team has built a novel catalyst, based on carbon nanotubes, that uses electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. This technology is far more efficient than less-expensive catalysts investigated to-date.

To promote a clean energy economy, “Hydrogen has long been expected to play a vital role in our future energy landscapes by mitigating, if not completely eliminating, our reliance on fossil fuels,” Asefa says. The problem is that you need methane, a fossil fuel, to make hydrogen. Electrolysis, however, could produce hydrogen using electricity generated by renewable sources, such as solar, wind and hydro energy, or by carbon-neutral sources, such as nuclear energy. “We have developed a sustainable chemical catalyst,” says Prof. Asefa, “that, we hope with the right industry partner, can bring this vision to life.” He and his colleagues based their new catalyst on carbon nanotubes – one-atom-thick sheets of carbon rolled into tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair.

 For more information, please visit:

http://news.rutgers.edu/news/rutgers-chemists-develop-technology-produce-clean-burning-hydrogen-fuel/20140713#.VE54zvnF98H

$18-million NSF investment aims to take flat materials to new heights

$18-million NSF investment aims to take flat materials to new heights


2-D alternatives to graphene may enable exciting advances in electronics, photonics, sensors and other applications

Illustration of a heterogeneous structure made with 2-D materials
Researchers will create heterogeneous structures made with 2-D materials that have new capabilities.
Credit and Larger Version

September 30, 2014


Graphene, a form of carbon in which a single layer of atoms forms a two-dimensional, honeycomb crystal lattice, conducts electricity and heat efficiently and interacts with light in unusual ways. These properties have led to worldwide efforts in exploring its use in electronics, photonics and many other applications.

Rapid advances in graphene research during the last decade have suggested tantalizing possibilities for other two-dimensional materials, each of which might have distinct and useful properties.

To investigate the promise of 2-D layered materials beyond graphene, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) recently awarded grants totaling close to $18 million. NSF collaborated closely with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), which is planning to invest an additional $10 million through its Basic Research Initiative.

Over the next four years, nine teams involving a total of 42 researchers at 18 institutions will pursue transformative research in the area of 2-D atomic-layer research and engineering (2-DARE).

EFRI 2-DARE researchers will explore fundamental materials properties, synthesis and characterization, predictive modeling techniques and scalable fabrication and manufacturing methodsto create new devices for photonics, electronics, sensors and energy harvesting. They also will investigate forming such devices on flexible, transparent and conformal substrates.

The EFRI 2-DARE researchers will seek out 2-D layered materials and systems that offer enhanced and new capabilities in thermal storage, thermoelectric performance, gas adsorption and other areas. The rich variety of properties these materials and systems offer potentially can be engineered on demand.

"These nine projects offer opportunities for fundamental scientific exploration by unveiling the unique properties of these exciting 2-D monolayer membranes, and for harnessing these properties to spur device research that can enable technological breakthroughs," said Anupama Kaul, who coordinated EFRI 2-DARE during her rotation as an NSF program officer. "The teams will also contribute to the advancement of scalable synthesis routes and the nanomanufacturing of these materials, which can help seed translational research opportunities for these materials in the future."

The 2-DARE projects for EFRI are listed below.

  • Alexander Balandin of the University of California, Riverside (UCR), will lead the project "Novel Switching Phenomena in Atomic Heterostructures for Multifunctional Applications" (1433395) in collaboration with Alexander Khitun of UCR, Roger Lake of UCR, and Tina Salguero of the University of Georgia.

  • David Cobden of the University of Washington will lead the project "Spin-Valley Coupling for Photonic and Spintronic Devices" (1433496) in collaboration with Arka Majumdar of the University of Washington, David Mandrus of the University of Tennessee, Di Xiao of Carnegie Mellon University, and Xiaodong Xu of the University of Washington. 

  • Joshua Goldberger of The Ohio State University will lead the project "Enhancing Thermal and Electronic Properties in Epitopotaxial Ge/Sn Graphane Heterostructures" (1433467) in collaboration with David Broido of Boston College, Dave Cahill of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Joseph Heremans of The Ohio State University, and Li Shi of the University of Texas, Austin.

  • Yu Huang of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will lead the project "Scalable Synthesis of 2-D Layered Materials for Large Area Flexible Thin Film Electronics" (1433541) in collaboration with Xiangfeng Duan of UCLA, Kang L Wang of UCLA, and James De Yoreo of the University of Washington.

  • Lincoln Lauhon of Northwestern University will lead the project "Scalable Growth and Fabrication of Anti-Ambipolar Heterojunction Devices" (1433510) in collaboration with Mark Hersam of Northwestern University, Mark Lundstom of Purdue University, and Tobin Marks of Northwestern University.

  • Joan Redwing of The Pennsylvania State University will lead the project "2-D Crystals formed by Activated Atomic Layer Deposition" (1433378) in collaboration with Penn State colleagues Nasim Alem, Thomas Jackson, Ying Liu and Suzanne Mohney.

  • Joshua Robinson of The Pennsylvania State University will lead the project "Ultra-Low Power, Collective-State Device Technology Based on Electron Correlation in Two-Dimensional Atomic Layers" (1433307) in collaboration with Eva Andrei of Rutgers University, Suman Datta of Penn State, Roman Engel-Herbert of Penn State, and James Freericks of Georgetown University.

  • Humberto Terrones of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will lead the project "Design, Synthesis, Characterization and Device Fabrication of Transition Metal Dichalcogenides for Active and Nonlinear Photonics" (1433311) in collaboration with Ana Laura Elias of Penn State University, Zhiwen Liu of Penn State University, Yong Xu of Virginia Tech, and Lan Yang of Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Huili Grace Xing of the University of Notre Dame will lead the project "Monolayer Heterostructures: Epitaxy to Beyond-CMOS Devices" (1433490) in collaboration with Notre Dame colleagues Morten Eskildsen, Libai Huang, Debdeep Jena, and Tengfei Luo.
"If we want to be competitive in the innovation economy and to benefit society with exciting new technologies," said Sohi Rastegar, director of the EFRI program, "cutting edge fundamental science and engineering research like 2-DARE is indispensible."

The fiscal year 2014 EFRI 2-DARE topic was developed with significant input from the research community and in close collaboration between the NSF Directorate for Engineering and the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences as well as with the AFOSR.

The funding opportunity for 2-DARE is planned to be available again in FY 2015.

EFRI, established by the NSF Directorate for Engineering in 2007, seeks high-risk, interdisciplinary research that has the potential to transform engineering and other fields. The grants demonstrate the EFRI goal to inspire and enable researchers to expand the limits of knowledge in service of grand engineering challenges and national needs.

-NSF-

Dear Colleague Letter: Closing of Program Solicitation NSF 14-511

Dear Colleague Letter: Closing of Program Solicitation NSF 14-511


September 24, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

The purpose of this letter is to announce that Program Solicitation NSF 14-511, "NSF/DOE Partnership on Advance Frontiers in Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Production Via Solar Water Splitting Technologies 2014-2016" will not be offered for fiscal year 2015 (FY15) or subsequently in fiscal year 2016 (FY16).

This solicitation detailed the submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) by Oct. 6 and full proposal by December 11. Please do not submit a LOI or full proposal to this solicitation. All proposals submitted to this closed solicitation will be returned without review.

JoAnn Lighty
Division Director
Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET)
Engineering Directorate

Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

AGENCY: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

BACKGROUND: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is soliciting nominations for possible membership on the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BSC, NIOSH).

The BSC, NIOSH consists of 15 experts in fields related to occupational safety and health. The members are selected by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The board advises the NIOSH Director on occupational safety and health research and prevention programs. The board also provides advice on standards of scientific excellence, current needs in the field of occupational safety and health, and the applicability and dissemination of research findings.

Nominees will be selected based on expertise in the field occupational safety and health, such as occupational medicine, occupational nursing, industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health engineering, toxicology, chemistry, safety and health education, ergonomics, epidemiology, biostatistics, and psychology. Nominees must be U.S. citizens.

Members may be invited to serve for terms of up to four years. Selected nominees would begin service on the NIOSH BSC in January 2016.

Nominations should include:
·         Current curriculum vitae, including complete contact information (name, affiliation, mailing address, telephone number, email address)
·         A letter of recommendation stating the qualifications of the candidate
·         A statement indicating the nominee's willingness to serve as a potential member of the BSC, NIOSH

Send nominations to: via mail to John Decker, NIOSH, CDC, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Mailstop E-20, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

NOTICE: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-21567


APPLICATIONS DUE:  December 15, 2014

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). The NEJAC was chartered to provide advice regarding broad, crosscutting issues related to environmental justice. THE NEJAC is soliciting nominations to fill approximately eight vacancies for terms through June 15, 2017.

To maintain the representation outlined by the charter, nominees will be selected to represent: academia (one vacancy); grassroots community-based organizations (one vacancy); non-governmental/environmental organizations (two vacancies); state government agencies (one vacancy); business and industry (one vacancy); and indigenous community-based organizations (two vacancies).
 
Overall, the Council consists of 26 members (including a chairperson) appointed by EPA's Administrator. In total, members serve as non-federal stakeholders representing: four from academia, three from business and industry; six from community based organizations; six from non-governmental/environmental organizations; four from state and local governments; and three from tribal governments and indigenous organizations, of which one member serves as a liaison to the National Tribal Caucus.

The EPA is seeking nominees with knowledge in community sustainability, public health and health disparities, climate change adaptation, land use and equitable development, environmental sociology and social science, and environmental financing. Other criteria used to evaluate nominees will include:

·         The background and experience that would help members contribute to the diversity of perspectives on the committee (e.g., geographic, economic, social, cultural, educational background, professional affiliations, and other considerations)
·         Demonstrated experience with environmental justice and community sustainability issues at the national, state, or local level
·         Excellent interpersonal and consensus-building skills
·         Ability to volunteer time to attend meetings two or three times a year, participate in teleconference meetings, attend listening sessions with the Administrator or other senior-level officials, develop policy recommendations to the Administrator, and prepare reports and advice letters
·         Willingness to commit time to the committee and demonstrated ability to work constructively and effectively on committees

Self nominations will be accepted. Nominations should include:

·         Current contact information for the nominee, including the nominee's name, organization (and position within that organization), current business address, email address, and daytime telephone number
·         Brief statement describing the nominee’s interest in serving on the NEJAC
·         Résumé and a short biography (no more than two paragraphs) describing the professional and educational qualifications of the nominee, including a list of relevant activities, and any current or previous service on advisory committees
·         Letter[s] of recommendation from a third party supporting the nomination (Letter[s] should describe how the nominee's experience and knowledge will bring value to the work of the NEJAC)

Send nominations to: via mail to Scott Parris, NEJAC Membership Outreach Coordinator, Office of Environmental Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., (MC 2201A), Washington, DC 20460; or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a subject line that reads “NEJAC Membership 2014.”

NOTICE: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-21817

APPLICATIONS DUE:  October 25, 2014

NASA Science Advisory Subcommittees

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

BACKGROUND: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is soliciting public nominations for service on the NASA science advisory subcommittees. The five science advisory subcommittees report to the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), a Federal Advisory Committee. NASA's science advisory subcommittees often have member vacancies throughout the year, and NASA will consider self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies.

NASA's five current science advisory subcommittees include:

  • Astrophysics Subcommittee (APS)—The Astrophysics Subcommittee is a standing subcommittee of the NAC Science Committee supporting the advisory needs of the NASA Administrator, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), SMD's Astrophysics Division, and other NASA Mission Directorates as required. The scope of the APS includes projects and observational and theoretical study of the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and the search for and study of Earth-like planets and habitable, extrasolar environments. In addition to scientific research, the scope encompasses considerations of the development of near-term enabling technologies, systems, and computing and information management capabilities, developments with the potential to provide long-term improvements in future operational systems, as well as training of the next generation of astronomers, and education and public outreach.
  • Earth Science Subcommittee (ESS)—The Earth Science Subcommittee is a standing subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council's (the Council) Science Committee supporting the advisory needs of the Administrator, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), SMD's Earth Science Division (ESD), and other NASA Mission Directorates as required. The scope of the ESS includes the advancement of scientific knowledge of the Earth system through space-based observation and the pioneering use of these observations in conjunction with process studies, data assimilation and modeling to provide the Nation with improved capability to: predict climate variability, global change, and weather; mitigate and respond to natural hazards; and improve the scientific basis for policy decisions. In addition to observations and scientific research, the scope encompasses the development of computing and information management capabilities and other enabling technologies, including those with the potential to improve future operational satellite and ground systems.
  • Heliophysics Subcommittee (HPS)—Heliophysics Subcommittee is a standing subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council's (the Council) Science Committee supporting the advisory needs of the Administrator, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), SMD's Heliophysics Division (HPD), and other NASA Mission Directorates as required. The scope of the HPS includes all aspects of heliophysics, including the dynamical behavior of the Sun and its heliosphere; the dynamical behavior of the space environments of the Earth and other solar system bodies; the multi-scale interaction between solar system plasmas and the interstellar medium; and energy transport throughout the solar system and its impact on the Earth and other solar system bodies. In addition to scientific research, the scope encompasses considerations of the development of enabling technologies, systems, and computing and information management capabilities, as well as developments with the potential to provide long-term improvements to future space weather operational systems.
  • Planetary Protection Subcommittee (PPS)—Planetary Protection Subcommittee is a standing subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council's (the Council) Science Committee supporting the advisory needs of the Administrator, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), SMD's Planetary Science Division, NASA's Planetary Protection Officer and other NASA Mission Directorates as required. The scope of the PPS includes programs, policies, plans, hazard identification and risk assessment, and other matters pertinent to the Agency's responsibilities for biological planetary protection. This scope includes consideration of NASA planetary protection policy documents, implementation plans, and organization. The Subcommittee will review and recommend appropriate planetary protection categorizations for all bodies of the solar system to which spacecraft will be sent. The scope also includes the development of near-term enabling technologies, systems, and capabilities, as well as developments with the potential to provide long-term improvements in future operational systems to support planetary protection.
  • Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS)—Planetary Science Subcommittee is a standing subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council's (the Council) Science Committee supporting the advisory needs of the Administrator, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), SMD's Planetary Science Division (PSD), and other NASA Mission Directorates as required. The scope of the PSS includes all aspects of planetary science, scientific exploration of the Moon and Mars, the robotic exploration of the solar system, astrobiology, space- and ground-based research, technology development, planning, and training required to support these science areas. In addition to scientific research, the scope encompasses considerations of the development of near-term enabling technologies, systems, and computing and information management capabilities, as well as developments with the potential to provide long-term improvements in future operational systems.
Nominees from any category of organizations or institutions within the U.S. are welcome, including, but not limited to, educational, industrial, and not-for-profit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), NASA Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and other government agencies. Self nominations will be accepted and nominees may submit an application for one NASA Science Advisory Committee.

NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its science advisory subcommittees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current or past contributions to the relevant subject area. In particular, the following qualifications and experience are highly desirable in nominees:

  • At least 10 years post-Ph.D. research experience including publications in the scientific field of the subcommittee for which they are nominated, or comparable experience
  • Leadership in scientific or education and public outreach fields as evidenced by award of prizes, invitation to national and international meetings as speaker, organizer of scientific meetings/workshops, or comparable experience
  • Participation in NASA programs either as member of NASA mission science team, Research & Analysis program, membership on an advisory or working group or a review panel, or comparable experience
  • Good knowledge of NASA programs in the scientific field of the subcommittee for which they are applying, including the latest NASA Science Plan, or comparable experience
  • Knowledge of the latest Decadal Survey conducted by the National Research Council or other relevant advisory reports for the scientific field of the subcommittes.
Nominations should include:
·         A cover email including the name of the specific NASA science advisory subcommittee of interest
·         A professional resume (one-page maximum)
·         A professional biography (one-page maximum)

Send respective subcommittee nominations via email to:

·         Astrophysics Subcommittee (APS): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
·         Earth Science Subcommittee (ESS): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
·         Heliophysics Subcommittee (HPS): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
·         Planetary Protection Subcommittee (PPS): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
·         Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NOTICE: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-21877

APPLICATION DUE: October 1, 2014

NASA Federal Advisory Committees

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

 

BACKGROUND: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is soliciting public nominations for service on the NASA federal advisory committees. NASA's federal advisory committees often have member vacancies throughout the year, and NASA will consider self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies.

NASA's six currently chartered federal advisory committees include:

  • Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel—The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel provides advice and recommendations to the NASA Administrator and Congress on matters related to safety, and performs such other duties as the NASA Administrator may request.
  • Applied Sciences Advisory Committee—The Applied Sciences Advisory Committee provides advice and makes recommendations to the Director, Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, on Applied Sciences programs, policies, plans, and priorities.
  • International Space Station (ISS) Advisory Committee—The ISS Advisory Committee provides advice and recommendations to the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate on all aspects related to the safety and operational readiness of the ISS. It addresses additional issues and areas of interest identified by the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
  • International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory Advisory Committee—The ISS National Laboratory Advisory Committee monitors, assesses, and makes recommendations to the NASA Administrator regarding effective utilization of the ISS as a national laboratory and platform for research, and such other duties as the NASA Administrator may request.
  • NASA Advisory Council (NAC)—The NASA Advisory Council provides advice and recommendations to the NASA Administrator on agency programs, policies, plans, financial controls, and other matters pertinent to the agency's responsibilities. The NAC consists of the Council and five (5) Committees: Aeronautics; Human Exploration and Operations; Institutional; Science; and Technology, Innovation and Engineering.  All nominations for the NASA Advisory Council must indicate the specific entity of interest (i.e., either the Council or one of its five Committees).
  • National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board—The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board provides advice to the PNT Executive Committee (comprised of nine stakeholder federal agencies, of which NASA is a member) on U.S. space-based PNT policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international space-based PNT services.
U.S. citizens may submit self-nominations to one of the NASA federal advisory committees for consideration. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its federal advisory committees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current or past contributions to the relevant subject area.

Nominations should note the federal advisory committee of interest and include:

·         A cover letter
·         A professional resume (one-page maximum)
·         A professional biography (one-page maximum)

Send nominations via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

NOTICE: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-21024

APPLICATIONS DUE: October 1, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)

PIRE Program Solicitation is available on the PIRE webpage.
1.     Who is eligible to serve as PI?
2.     What institutions are eligible?
3.     How many proposal submissions are expected?
4.     What areas of research are appropriate?
5.     What U.S. institutions are eligible to partner on PIRE projects?
6.     Are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) eligible for PIRE support?
7.     Can PIRE funds be used to support the salary or travel-related expenses of foreign participants?
8.     Can the PIRE grant support sabbatical leave for a PI or co-PI?
9.     Must we request the same level of budget for each year?
10.  Can we use some of the budget to support project coordination? Must a project coordinator be a Co-PI?
11.  When and where should my foreign collaborator seek funding on his/her side?

Eligibility 

1.     Who is eligible to serve as PI?
The PI must be an employee representing a U.S. Ph.D-granting institution. U.S. citizenship of the PI and other researchers on the U.S. team is not required. Collaborators in other countries should be listed as Foreign Collaborators, not as PIs, Co-PIs or other Senior Personnel. Although submission is limited to one proposal per submitting institution, there is no limit on number of proposals in which researchers can participate as partners or collaborators. See question 2 for information regarding researchers from non-Ph.D. granting institutions.

2.     What institutions are eligible?
Eligible institutions include all U.S. academic institutions with Ph.D. granting programs that have awarded doctoral degrees in the 2012 or 2013 academic years in any area of research supported by NSF. Any institution not listed at should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. regarding eligibility. Institutions that have not participated in past PIRE awards are especially encouraged to submit. Researchers who are affiliated with a non-Ph.D. granting institution are encouraged to work with their colleagues at Ph.D. granting institutions in developing PIRE projects; such individuals may participate in PIRE projects, as Co-PIs or Senior Personnel, with their students being supported for research related activities, and with their own institutions serving as collaborating organizations on the PIRE project via sub-Awards.

Program Details

3.     How many proposal submissions are expected?
Based on past competitions, we expect to receive approximately 200 preliminary proposals and will invite approximately 50 full proposals.

4.     What areas of research are appropriate?
In this competition (the fifth round), PIRE will support fundamental disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and education in all NSF supported-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research areas. In the previous PIRE competition (the fourth round), NSF focused exclusively on the NSF-wide investment area of Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES). In the current competition, SEES proposals focusing on interdisciplinary topics that will advance sustainability science, engineering and education are not excluded. However, NSF is casting a wider net by allowing proposals in all of the science and engineering research disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary fields, supported by NSF.

5.     What U.S. institutions are eligible to partner on PIRE projects
Partnerships may include multi-institutional collaborations or arrangements with other universities/colleges, national laboratories, research museums, private sector research laboratories, industrial organizations, state and local government laboratories. (Collaborations with colleagues from U.S. government agencies and labs are welcome although strict rules govern the use of NSF funds in such collaborations. Please consult NSF's Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Ch 1.E.7, for more information). For PIRE proposals that are collaborations, that include more than one U.S. university, the PIRE proposal must be submitted as a single integrated proposal by the lead university, with proposed sub awards to the other partner institutions. Separate proposals from each partner will not be accepted, since separately submitted collaborative PIRE proposals are not allowed.

6.     Are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) eligible for PIRE support?
All U.S. academic institutions that primarily serve underrepresented minorities that have granted a PhD in 2012 or 2013 are eligible to submit proposals. These institutions are encouraged to apply as lead institutions. If they choose not to apply as lead institutions we encourage them to apply as partner institutions. In addition, PIs are encouraged to establish linkages with NSF-sponsored programs to enhance diversity (e.g., AGEP, LSAMP, HBCU-UP, TCUP, CREST, ADVANCE, all described at http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=HRD, especially at their own institutions.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14088/nsf14088.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click

 

Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program

Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program

August 18, 2014 8:00 AM  to 
August 18, 2014 12:00 PM
Arlington


August 19, 2014 8:00 AM  to 
August 19, 2014 12:00 PM
Arlington


To broaden engagement, portions of the Workshop for a Future Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program will be webcast. (The approximate webcast times shown above are Eastern Daylight Time.)

The workshop will convene a panel of experts from academe, industry, and government to:

  • develop a vision of how a future nanotechnology infrastructure support program could be structured, and
  • determine the key needs for the broad user communities over the coming decade. 
The workshop is a next step in NSF's preparation for developing a program to succeed the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), after having received community input in response to a recent Dear Colleague Letter (DCL 14-068).

The workshop is co-chaired by Dr. Thomas Theis (IBM Research, on assignment to the Semiconductor Research Corporation) and Dr. Mark Tuominen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).

The final agenda will be available on this page soon. Morning sessions of the workshop will be broadcast via WebEx; afternoon breakout sessions will not be broadcast.

If you have never used WebEx before or if you want to test your computer's compatibility with WebEx, please go tohttp://www.webex.com/lp/jointest/, enter the session information and click "Join". Please feel free to contact WebEx Support if you are having trouble joining the test meeting.

Session number: 643 345 106 
Session password: This session does not require a password.

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To join the session 
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1. Go to https://src.webex.com/src/k2/j.php?MTID=tb5710cac7d8b81a0e0e5c436b48545bc  
2. Enter your name and email address. 
3. Click "Join Now". 
4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen. 
5. To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the session.

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To join the session by phone only 
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Call the number below and enter the access code.

Toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-877-668-4490 
Access code: 643 345 106

Meeting Type
Webcast

Contacts
Lawrence S. Goldberg, (703) 292-8339, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


NSF Related Organizations
NSF-Wide 
Directorate for Engineering

Honing Your Proposal Writing Skills

HONING YOUR PROPOSAL WRITING SKILLS
George A. Hazelrigg
To young faculty starting their academic careers, that first big grant is very important. To the
more senior faculty, that next big grant may be the lifeblood of some graduate students. And a key
source of these grants are federal funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation. NSF
specializes in the funding of fundamental research and education. So it’s a good place to go for
support for research that can lead to masters and PhD theses. But NSF is highly competitive, and
winning an NSF award can be quite challenging.

For more information:

pdf Honing Your Proposal Writing Skills

Materials Genome Initiative aims to speed discovery, development & deployment of advanced materials

Materials Genome Initiative aims to speed discovery, development & deployment of advanced materials


Advanced materials are essential to human well-being and are the cornerstone for emerging industries. Yet today, it can take 10 to 20 years or more from initial research on a new material to first use. That's why in June 2011 President Obama launched the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) "to help businesses discover, develop, and deploy new materials twice as fast" and at a fraction of the cost. The MGI brings together academic institutions, small businesses, large industrial enterprises, professional societies, and government, including the National Science Foundation.

General Restrictions:

Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Videos credited to the National Science Foundation, an agency of the U.S. Government, may be distributed freely. However, some materials within the videos may be copyrighted. If you would like to use portions of NSF-produced programs in another product, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=76471

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing On Nanotechnology: From Laboratories To Commercial Products

The House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on May 20, 2014, on "Nanotechnology: From Laboratories to Commercial Products." The purpose of the hearing was to examine the current state of nanotechnology research and development (R&D), as well as future opportunities and challenges. In addition, the hearing discussed policy issues surrounding nanotechnology applications and activities, federal funding levels for nanotechnology R&D, and key legislative initiatives, including the interagency National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). 

For more information, please visit:

http://www.lawbc.com/regulatory-developments/entry/house-subcommittee-holds-hearing-on-nanotechnology-from-laboratories-to-com/

NSF's Merit Review Process

NSF's Merit Review Process

NSF receives about 50,000 research proposals every year. The Foundation's mission is to promote the progress of science, but it's able to support only a fraction of the proposed research with its limited resources. This video briefly explains how NSF determines which research has the greatest potential--which would be the most fruitful investment of taxpayer dollars and best align with the Foundation's mission to promote the progress of science.

Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Videos credited to the National Science Foundation, an agency of the U.S. Government, may be distributed freely. However, some materials within the videos may be copyrighted. If you would like to use portions of NSF-produced programs in another product, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=76467

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