Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

January 20, 2017



President Trump's nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) as budget director and the emergence of the Heritage Foundation and Republican Study Committee as "key players in the new White House" (CQ) have prompted speculation of sweeping cuts.when the new administration delivers its fiscal 2018 budget. Congressional Republicans expect an outline in February and a full budget in May, CQ reports.

Mulvaney co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, which has been more fiscally conservative than the GOP leadership.

The Heritage budget blueprint projects $10.5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. It says the Defense Department "should cut research funding for programs that are not related to increasing military capabilities," in particular medical research, STEM grants, and green energy initiatives.

At Energy, Heritage would eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy; Biological and Environmental Research; four programs within Basic Energy Sciences, including the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR); Energy Innovation Hubs; the offices of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Fossil Energy; and funding for Small Business Innovative Research and Technology Transfer. It would reduce funding for the Office of Nuclear Physics and Advanced Scientific Computing Research to FY 2008 levels. At Commerce, Heritage would wipe out the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia.

A document put out by the RSC, which is led by House conservatives, would eliminate some of the same programs at Energy and Commerce as Heritage and also move the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program out of the DoD budget. It also calls for states to be allowed to experiment with their own college accrediting systems. (See below for Senate reaction to these ideas and click here to see current ARPA-E programs.) Image from C-Span video.

COLLINS TO STAY AT NIH: Trump has asked Francis Collins to remain as director of the $32 billion National Institutes of Health, although SinceInsider notes, "It is not clear for how long."

MANUFACTURING HUBS ARE WORKING: So declares the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which administers the program. Citing a Pentagon-funded Deloitte study, NIST says "the first eight advanced manufacturing institutes established between 2012 and 2016 have reached a critical mass of valuable connections among 1,200 participating companies, universities and government agencies."

YALE COMPUTER SCIENTIST CONSIDERED FOR SCIENCE ADVISER: David Gelernter, "a pioneer in the field of parallel computation," is being considered for the White House post, the Washington Post reports. Gelernter, who met with Trump earlier this week, "has written extensively about artificial intelligence, critiquing the field's slow progress and warning of AI's potential dangers," the paper says, and has also "made a name for himself as a vehement critic of modern academia." Fox News reports that he declared support for Trump last year during a Fox interview. (The screengrab at left is from the Bill O'Reilly show.) A second scientist who met with Trump recently is Princeton physicist William Happer, who has broken with the science mainstream on climate change. He doesn't deny it's happening, but doesn't think it's all that harmful and could even be good for agriculture. Nature reports: "Happer says that he did not discuss the science-adviser post with the president, but did speak to him about science and technology."During the George H.W. Bush administration, he led what is now DOE's Office of Science, but was replaced under Bill Clinton after an earlier act of "apostasy," according to the university's Alumni Weekly.

PARTING WISH LISTS: The Obama administration left behind a lengthy agenda in science and technology - along with its rationale - in an exit memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and an Energy Innovation Portfolio developed at the Energy Department. The latter says: "Failing to sustain this rapid pace of innovation would place American entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and workers at a competitive disadvantage in developing breakthrough technologies and creating jobs. The total global energy technology market is projected to be more than $60 trillion cumulatively to 2040."


NOT SO FAST: Rick Perry promised at his confirmation hearing that he would defend research funding as secretary of energy. E&E News quotes the former Texas governor as saying, "I will be in the room advocating for these things." But he added, "I'm not going to tell you that I'm going to be successful 100 percent in that." Meanwhile, "senators from both parties signaled . . . that any efforts by the Trump administration to impose deep budget cuts and major organizational changes at the Department of Energy will get a cool reception on Capitol Hill," according to E&E News.



(U.S. is 9th, according to Bloomberg)

Source: Pew Research Center



In a statement, ASEE urges that bipartisan support for engineering education and research continue and, if possible, increase. "As educators, we are now training the next generation of designers, builders, and inventors. Robust support for engineering education at all levels and investment in research and development is essential to ensure an entrepreneurial, innovative, secure, and economically vibrant United States for years to come." Read the full statement. 

OUTLOOK FOR SCIENCE: AAAS will host a webinar January 26 at 2 p.m. ET with an analysis of: the outlook for research funding; how the administration and Congress may view science-based policymaking, including on issues related to the environment and public health; a review of significant Cabinet appointments; and areas where the Trump administration and Congress may disagree. Register here.



Early registration rates end TONIGHT, January 20, 2017 for the 2017 Public Policy Colloquium (February 6-8, 2017 at The Fairmont Hotel, Washington, D.C.).

The Colloquium has a dual role: to strengthen the discussion of engineering education and research issues between the deans of engineering and key public policy makers, and to enable the deans to refine their public policy agenda. Since the Public Policy Colloquium will focus on the activities of the Engineering Deans Council, we ask that you come yourself and do not send your associate dean. Click here for more information.

2017 Engineering Deans Institute (April 2-5, 2017 at The Biltmore, Coral Gables, FL.) 

The annual ASEE Engineering Deans Institute (EDI) provides an opportunity for engineering deans- and only deans- to gather and discuss the crucial issues facing their schools, colleges, and profession. For a few days, a single-stream program fosters dialogue between deans, industry leaders, and those in important roles in research and government. Deans share best practices, learn about career prospects for their graduates, and develop a voice for engineering education and the role of engineering in society. Social activities and plenty of time for conversation encourage the cultivation of relationships and an intensely rewarding experience.

Early registration rates end March 10, 2017. Click here for more information.

FELLOWSHIPS WEBINAR: ASEE administers a number of fellowship and research opportunities with funding provided by federal agencies. In this webinar, learn more about the importance of fellowships and the application process, and explore several fellowships offered by ASEE. January 25, 2017, 1 - 2 PM, ET. Learn more

INTRODUCING PRISM PODCASTS: This new feature, produced by Nathan Kahl, debuted with a report on the Mobile Virtual Player, developed by students at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering. Listen to this and subsequent podcasts here.

Prize-winning eGFI:  Get teens fired up about engineering 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 combines engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers. Click here to purchase copies, For bulk purchases or other inquiries, contact eGFI@asee.org or call 202-331-3500.