Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

March 4, 2015




Calwave, a team affiliated with UC Berkeley, is among nine finalists in the Department of Energy's $2.25 million Wave Energy Prize - a  "20-month design-build-test competition that aims to double the energy captured from ocean waves" and "increase the diversity of organizations involved in Wave Energy Converter (WEC) technology development." Calwave includes Mohammad-Reza Alam of the Theoretical & Applied Fluid Dynamics Lab, plus grad students. The University of Michigan's Marine Hydrodynamics Lab has worked with another finalist, Team Flapper, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Two young Oregon State grads, mechanical engineer Alex Hagmuller and electrical engineer Max Ginsburg make up another finalist team, Aquaharmonics.

$40 MILLION FOR MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT: The Energy Department is launching four Energy Materials Network consortia, led by national labs, each centered on specific classes of materials. "Leveraging $40 million in federal funding, these consortia will help bring materials innovations to market more quickly by better integrating all phases of R&D, and by strengthening and facilitating industry access to the unique materials innovation resources available at the labs." There may be funding opportunities

SILICON PENTAGON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter plans to establish a Defense Innovation Advisory Board, "tapping innovators from the private sector in Silicon Valley and beyond," in a bid to "enhance the Defense Department’s culture, organization and processes." It will be chaired by Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (at left in photo). He and Carter will pick the members. DoD previously set up Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Silicon Valley, which so far "has identified 22 pilot projects with tech companies and start-ups that have never before worked with the Pentagon."

Click here and here for compendia of government cybersecurity resources provided by the Congressional Research Service by way of the Federation of American Scientists. 

$50 MILLION FOR RESEARCH EQUIPMENT: Awards will go to 176 university researchers at 96 academic institutions under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. They'll be used for "state‑of‑the‑art equipment that augments current university capabilities or develops new capabilities." The competition was jointly conducted by the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. See the list of winners

YOUNG DISCOVERERS: See a list of Office of Naval Research Young Investigator awardees. 

'CART BEFORE THE HORSE'? That's a question arising in connection with the National Science Foundation's INCLUDES initiative, Director France Córdova's 5-year, $75 million effort to broaden participation. Science's Jeff Mervis reports that "scholars attending an NSF-sponsored workshop . . . say the agency may be putting the cart before the horse in funding potential solutions without knowing the underlying factors. It's also not clear how the new INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) initiative will differ from NSF's existing $750-million-a-year portfolio of dozens of programs that pursue similar goals, and how it might affect them."

ALTOGETHER NOW: A National Institutes of Health funding announcement encourages "basic, applied, or clinical bioengineering solutions to unmet needs in biological or biomedical research that can enhance the capabilities of end-users to improve our understanding of life science processes or the practice of medicine within 5-10 years." A project "may bring together new or existing technologies to form creative solutions that have the potential to be widely adopted and improve human health." One objective "is to encourage collaborations and partnerships among allied quantitative and biomedical disciplines."

ADVICE FOR FUTURE ENGINEERS . . . from engineers at  the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: "Identify a grand challenge to inspire your work: whether it be providing access to clean water or exploring the next frontier in space, engineering solutions are required. . . " .- Megan Brewster, Senior Policy Advisor for Advanced Manufacturing; "The really fun projects happen at the intersection of fields – don’t be afraid to “go rogue”…I mean go interdisciplinary. . . ." - Noel Bakhtian, Executive Secretary for the Arctic Executive Steering Committee and Senior Fellow; "Never give up.  Though it’s a cliché, I’ve found this mantra gets me – and other engineers – to push past the seemingly impossible parts of defining the problem, coming up with a solution, and implementing the solution." - Afua Bruce, Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Council


Graphic by Jenn Pocock. Click here to see a larger version.


STILL SPLIT ON THE BUDGET: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, is among the House members balking at a budget resolution that sticks to last year's bipartisan agreement, CQ reports. Conservatives want to remove $30 billion added as part of the deal. They're not buying a compromise calling for a "vote on a separate package of $30 billion in mandatory spending cuts spread out over the next two fiscal years."

THE URGENT NEED IS HIGHER EDUCATION: So declares Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, signaling a determination to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. "We need to make it simpler and less expensive for students to attend college, and we need to cut through the jungle of red tape that is wasting money at our 6,000 colleges and universities across the country.” Having won bipartisan support for a revamped No Child, he just might pull it off - election year or no. Here are a few specifics

STEADY INCREASES FOR ARPA-E? Alexander and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) both spoke at this week's ARPA-E summit, ASME's Capitol Update reports. Murkowski noted that the energy package under consideration by the Senate, features "several provisions that modernize U.S. energy policies to enable innovation and make use of new energy technologies." The bill sets a goal of raising the agency's budget to $375 million by 2020. ARPA-E was funded at $291 million last year. Alexander called for repealing tax subsidies for mature technologies and devoting the savings to energy research. Repealing oil and gas subsidies would save $24 billion over 10 years and that repealing the production tax credit for wind energy could save an additional $4 billion.


UNMATCHED: "A lack of reproducibility of scientific results has created some distrust in scientific findings among the general public, scientists, funding agencies, and industries," says a workshop summary from the National Academies. But it's complicated: "[M]any factors contribute to the lack of perfect reproducibility, including insufficient training in experimental design, misaligned incentives for publication and the implications for university tenure, intentional manipulation, poor data management and analysis, and inadequate instances of statistical inference." The report focuses on the statistical perspective of three issues: "the extent of reproducibility, the causes of reproducibility failures, and the potential remedies for these failures."

WHAT FAILURE TO REPRODUCE? Four researchers have publicly challenged the landmark report that case doubt on dozens of published psychology studies. See the account in Nature. 

GULF RESEARCH FUNDING: The National Academies' Gulf Research Program "is accepting applications for a new funding opportunity designed to support scientific syntheses that connect environmental, social, and/or health data. Learn more about these Award Year 2016 Synthesis Grants. Letters of intent (required) are due on 4/27/16." Learn more.



ASEE Board Elections are underway.
The postmark deadline for paper ballots has been extended to March 31, 2016. Members are encouraged to vote electronically at http://www.asee.org/public
(Note: You must be logged in to vote electronically.)

ABET CRITERIA VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: A Preliminary Conversation on Proposed Changes to ABET Criteria 3 & 5 will run from Sunday, March 6th, 9 am EST to Tuesday, March 8th, 9 pm EST. The conference is intended to gather preliminary thoughts prior to the 2016 Interdivisional Town Hall Meeting at our annual meeting in New Orleans. Click here to participate.

NORTHEAST SECTION CONFERENCE: The section, with members from  Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as Eastern Canada, will hold its annual conference at the University of Rhode Island from Thursday, April 28th, 2016 to Saturday April 30, 2016. The theme will be “Revolutionizing Engineering Education.” See the conference website. The student poster abstract deadline is March 1. Please encourage your undergraduate students to submit their capstone design projects, independent research projects, or other projects in a poster format. Graduate students can submit their project, thesis, or dissertation work as well in a poster format. Abstracts must be less than 1200 words.


New Navigation Section - Papers Management:
The new section contains upcoming deadlines, guidelines, call for papers, and kits for authors, program chairs, reviewers, and moderators.

Author's Kits are Available:
• The 2016 Annual Conference Author's Kit -- available on the website -- contains extremely important information regarding the submission process as well as all relevant deadline dates.

THE ST. LAWRENCE SECTION CONFERENCE will be held at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.,  April 8-9, 2016. This year the conference will include several workshops. The calls for papers, presentations, posters and workshops as well as  information about the Conference Program, Registration, and Hotel information is available on http://stl.asee.org/conference_2016.html.

eGFI IS HERE: Help inspire the next generation of innovators with the all-new 6th edition of ASEE's prize-winning magazine for middle and high school students: eGFI (Engineering, Go For It). Filled with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, eGFI aims to get teens fired up about learning - and doing - engineering. To purchase copies, go to http://store.asee.org/  For bulk purchases or other inquiries, contact eGFI@asee.org or call 202-331-3500.