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October 8, 2016



Minorities make up "less than 20 percent of our senior diplomats and 15 percent of senior military officers and senior intelligence officials," notes Susan Rice, left, President Obama's national security adviser. "Around the table in the White House Situation Room and throughout our government, America is still not fully reflected." A new Presidential Memorandum aims to change that. It would, among other things, "[e]xpand . . . professional development and career advancement opportunities (such as) academic programs, private-public exchanges, and detail assignments to relevant positions in private or international organizations; State, local, and tribal governments; or other branches of the Federal Government." A White House email touts the memorandum as "an important part of our work to ensure that students of all backgrounds have access to the education resources and job opportunities to pursue a career in STEM fields."

MADE IN AMERICA: As the president declared Oct. 7 Manufacturing Day, the National Economic Council issued a report on Manufacturing USA, the initiative formerly known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The program "has grown from one institute with 65 members to a network of nine institutes and over 1,300 members" backed by over $600 million in federal money matched by "over $1.3 billion in non-federal investment" and 250 research projects. The report cited the University of Southern California and the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California as having "built partnerships between industry, government, and academia focused on strengthening the aerospace and defense sector." Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urged young people to consider the varied opportunities in manufacturing. She cited a young Oregonian, Lauren Bales, who "was not sure what kind of career she wanted. Then, a class in engineering ignited her interest in aerospace. Lauren had to apply to almost every Boeing internship she could find before her persistence finally paid off. Today, she is a full-time Manufacturing Engineer at Boeing." 

BIOPRODUCTS BOOM: The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report co-authored by Duke engineer Jay Golden and T. Eric McConnell of North Carolina State claiming that "in 2014, the biobased products industry contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to America's recovering economy. The report also indicates that the sector grew from 2013 to 2014, creating or supporting an additional 220,000 jobs and $24 billion over that period."

NASA WANTS YOUR IDEAS: The space agency's iTech seeks "innovative ideas with the most potential impact on future space exploration and to support development of the most promising solutions. Ideas may come from U.S. small or large businesses, academia, or other government organizations external to NASA. Applicants, who must be U.S. citizens, should submit a five-page white paper summarizing a proposed innovation to solve challenges in one of the focus areas. These challenges range from crew health to propulsion. October 17, 2016 is the deadline. Learn more.  

DIBBs ON DATA: The National Science Foundation's Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) is an integral part of the agency's vision for a Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21). DIBBs "encourages development of robust and shared data-centric cyberinfrastructure capabilities, to accelerate interdisciplinary and collaborative research in areas of inquiry stimulated by data."

WATER AND POWER: NSF's Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) will consider proposals for collaborative funding with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) [formerly the Water Environment Research Foundation], and/or the Water Research Foundation (WRF). The CBET unsolicited submission window, which is October 1, 2016 – October 20, 2016. Learn more.

WHAT'S THE NEXT BIG THING? Submit your topic ideas for the National Science Foundation's fiscal 2018 Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Program Solicitation. Send in a 500-word description of a potentially transformative research and innovation topic by Oct. 31 at this link.

BIOTECH ADVANCES: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeks proposals on "leading edge approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, technologies, or systems at the intersection of biology with engineering and the physical and computer sciences." Learn more.  Explore other DARPA topic areas


Source for all 3 graphics: National Economic Council (White House), Revitalizing American Manufacturing


GOP STEAMROLL: That's House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan should Donald Trump win the White House and Republicans keep control of both the House and Senate, Politico reports. He would use a maneuver called "budget reconciliation." As the newspaper explains, "If the House and Senate pass identical budgets, they can include broad instructions for Congress to pass reconciliation legislation that has privileged status and cannot be filibustered in the Senate." Ryan (R, Wisc.) says of his policy agenda: “Much of this you can do through budget reconciliation." Likely topping the agenda are repeal of Obamacare and "trillion-dollar tax cuts," according to Politico. Democrats are not reconciled to the idea. 


SMALL WONDER: A National Academies report says the National Science Foundation should "consider ways to increase CubeSat opportunities for a broad range of science disciplines going beyond solar and space physics." The report also notes that NASA in 2013 "provided a large increase in opportunities" and that at least five NASA centers are developing CubeSat missions. "Newcomers seeking NASA support for CubeSat missions have difficulty navigating the rapidly evolving and varied programs, technologies, and funding opportunities at the agency." A critical benefit of the space agency's engagement "is the role of CubeSats in training students, early career project scientists, engineering teams, and project managers." As the number of CubeSats grows, "there is growing concern that CubeSats may become a space debris hazard." 

STUDENT BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION: In preparation for the third Global Grand Challenges Summit, organizers have launched a Student Day business plan competition in which student teams develop a plan for a start-up based on an idea related to the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges. The deadline for Student Day business plan proposals is October 24, 2016. The Student Day will precede the official opening of the summit, which will be held July 18–20, 2017, in Washington DC. Hosted by the NAE, it is being jointly organized by the NAE, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.


SEEING RED: Are you developing an NSF RED (Revolutionizing Engineering Departments) proposal? 
Join these free webinar conferences:  Wednesday, October 19, 12:00-2:00 pm PST – “What is Revolutionary?”  Thursday, October 20, 12:00-1:30pm PST –“Assembling a winning RED team.”  Friday  October 21, 10:30-12:00 pm PST – “Change Model Required.” To register, go to https://academicchange.org/

SAFE ZONE ALLY TRAINING WEBINAR SERIES – Level 2: Take part in creating a positive and inclusive environment for LGBTQ individuals in STEM by joining ASEE for three free Level 2 Safe Zone Ally Training webinars. Building upon the Level 1 webinars presented in Spring 2016, ASEE is offering a general two-hour Level 2 webinar (October 6), plus two one-hour “deep dives” on supporting transgender students and colleagues (October 27) and LGBTQ and engineering culture (December 6). Register today for all three – space is limited! Missed Level 1? View the slides and recording-on-demand here.

LIBERAL ARTS & ENGINEERING: The Teagle Foundation’s Liberal Arts and the Professions initiative aims to embed the liberal arts in undergraduate engineering education by forging curricular links between faculty in the disciplines and professional fields so students more fully appreciate the social, cultural, and ethical dimensions of their work. To be considered for a grant, please review Teagle’s application guidelines and submit a brief 3-5 page concept paper to proposals@teagle.org. If you have questions about the RFP, please contact Teagle program director Loni Bordoloi Pazich atbordoloi@teagle.org. See also: Liberal Arts and the Professions RFP: and Teagle Foundation Application Guidelines.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: The 2017 ASEE Annual Conference will include a cross-divisional session entitled, "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Role of Engineering Education towards Attaining UN Sustainable Development Goals." The full Call for Papers can be found on the Conference website. 

NORTHEAST ENGINEERING GRADUATE STUDENT RECRUITING Mini-Symposium, hosted by Tufts University, October 28, 2016, noon-5 p.m. Searching for the right engineering graduate program? Looking to recruit high-quality graduate students? Register here.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: WORKSHOP ON BUILDING RESEARCH CAPACITY FOR STEM FACULTY DEVELOPMENT: Building Research Capacity for STEM Faculty Development is an NSF-sponsored working conference that brings together experts from around the country to develop a national research agenda focused on faculty development in the STEM disciplines. February 16-18, 2017 at Clemson University. Apply here

Prize-winning eGFI:  Jump-start the semester with eGFI (Engineering, Go For It), ASEE's magazine for middle and high school students. Winner of the APEX Grand Award for Publication Excellence, eGFI aims to get teens fired up about engineering with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, eGFI aims to get teens fired up about engineering. Click here to purchase copies, For bulk purchases or other inquiries, contact eGFI@asee.org or call 202-331-3500.