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August 21, 2015



Stepping up pressure on Congress to reach a bipartisan budget deal, the White House Office of Management and Budget says spending bills passed by the House and awaiting action by the Senate already exceed caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act. If they were to become law, across-the-board cuts could take effect, though the numbers look fairly modest. The Ryan-Murray deal of 2013 is no longer in effect, meaning the BCA rules.

COPING WITH DRONES: The Government Accountability Office, Congress's investigative arm, reports that the Federal Aviation Administration "has progressed toward its goal of seamlessly integrating unmanned aerial system (UAS) flights into the national airspace." The FAA has a plan, and is now working on a "foundation" for implementation. Meanwhile, the agency has increased approval of UAS operations. However, today's Washington Post reports a recent surge of rogue drone flights that is giving the FAA fits.

LASTING IMPRINT: You don't often think of an acronym as a fitting memorial, but LSAMP might be the exception. It stands for Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, run by the National Science Foundation, which aims to diversity the STEM workforce by supporting "strategies that ultimately result in the graduation of well-prepared, highly-qualified students from underrepresented groups who pursue graduate studies or careers in STEM." Stokes, a Cleveland-area Democrat who died this week at 90, served 30 years in the House and became the first African American on the Appropriations Committee. See below for upcoming LSAMP webinars.


Graphic by Jennifer Pocock; Source of data: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF). Click here to see a larger version.

In a macro-economic analysis of the president's budget proposals out today, the Congressional Budget Office says President Obama's FY 2016 budget, if enacted, would aid economic growth and reduce the deficit in the years ahead. Related proposals on immigration mean "GNP per person would be lower after 2016 under the President’s proposals than under current law, primarily because of the immigration-related increase in the population." Under the immigration proposal, an estimated 11 million more people would be living in the United States by 2025.

Source: Congressional Budget Office


UNDERGRAD STARS: Three global health projects have won the National Institutes of Health’s Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams (DEBUT) Challenge. Five Lehigh students developed the top-winning Viral Diagnostic Technology, a "more accessible point-of-care viral load diagnostic device for HIV treatment monitoring." Three from Georgia Tech developed the second-place OculoStaple, pictured, "a novel surgical clamp to replace current surgical techniques to treat drooping eyelids." Third place went to FreePulse, by a team from the University of Texas at Austin. This device "aims to provide a durable, reliable, and accessible patient monitor." 

WEBCAST DOUBLE FEATURE: NSF's Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation is holding  webinars on August 25, 26, and 27 to offer information "on the funding tracks in the LSAMP Program and to discuss changes in the solicitation." Also on the 27th, NSF and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will co-host a webcast discussion about NSF funding opportunities.

U.S.-ISRAEL COLLABORATION: "To help reduce some of the current barriers to working internationally," a new call for proposals from NSF's division of Electrical, Communications, and Cyber Systems will let U.S. and Israeli researchers submit a single proposal and undergo a single review process. "The Israeli collaborator does not appear as a formal co-PI on the application," but the partner's role must be described.

PLASMA PARTNERS: NSF and the Department of Energy together have about $3 million "for the annual support of a total of 10-20 awards per year in their Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering.   


JUDGE CURBS WORK OPTIONS FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS: A federal judge has ruled that the Department of Homeland Security must curtail Optional Practical Training, which allows foreign students and graduates to work a total of 12 months during and after their studies, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Meanwhile, however harsh his views on undocumented workers, Donald Trump sounds more welcoming toward international students. Inside Higher Ed quotes him as tweeting: “I want talented people to come into this country -- to work hard and to become citizens. Silicon Valley needs engineers, etc..”


GLOBAL DEANS TO MEET IN AUSTRALIA: The 2015 Annual Conference of the Global Engineering Deans Council will be in Adelaide Nov. 30-Dec. 2. It will introduce new topics and build on themes of previous meetings, such as blended learning, diversity, and education in a resource-constrained environment. GEDC says the conference "provides a fabulous opportunity to network with deans and industrialists from around the world and to debate the changes that confront us all," and touts "the beauty and otherness of Adelaide." Find out more and register.

AVAILABLE NOW: An all-new 6th edition of eGFI (Engineering, Go For It), ASEE's award-winning magazine for middle and high school students. To purchase copies, go to: 


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