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                                   August 4, 2018

Note to readers: Capitol Shorts will not be published next week. 



Bipartisan bills approved by committees of both chambers would make quantum science research and development a priority for the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The measures would establish a 10-year National Quantum Initiative, coordinated by the White House, that supports five DOE-run quantum information science research centers; standards development at NIST, and multidisciplinary research and education centers at NSF. They would also encourage private sector involvement by high-tech firms and startups. While the House didnt authorize new money, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved a substitute that would authorize $60 million a year for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's new quantum programs. For the National Science Foundation, the bill would authorize the equivalent of $10 million for each new Multidisciplinary Center for Quantum Research and Education Centers. The full Senate and House still need to approve the revised legislation. Read the substitute language and the previous House version.

SENATE OKs ENERGY R&D: After dropping one key provision, senators approved House-passed legislation that, among other things, "[o]utlines direction and priorities for basic research programs within the (Department of Energy) Office of Science, including the specific authorization of basic research programs in solar fuels, electricity storage, exascale computing and low dose radiation," and authorizes nuclear research and development, ASME's Capitol Update reports. The provision they removed would require DOE "to build a 'reactor-based fast neutron source, which shall operate as a national user facility.'" If the House accepts the change, the measure would go to President Trump. 

CONSERVATIVES MAY BLOCK KEY SPENDING BILL: A House Republican faction aligned with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is "mulling a plan to try to sink passage" of the combined Defense and Labor-HHS-Education appropriations measure until after the midterm elections, CQ says it has learned. Conservatives think postponing this huge package--which funds the Pentagon, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Education--would give them more leverage in  post-election wrangling. They're expecting the lame-duck session to take up immigration and border security.


WHITE HOUSE SCIENCE PICK WINS PRAISE: President Trump drew unaccustomed kudos from the research and academic communities this week with the announcement that he plans to nominate meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, 59, a University of Oklahoma vice president and former vice-chair of the National Science Board, to be director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Science magazine reports that Droegemeier "helped craft federal legislation aimed at bolstering weather forecasting that Congress passed last year with bipartisan support. . . As a researcher, he focused on numerical weather forecasting, including studies of thunderstorm dynamics, and helped develop the use of supercomputers to run atmospheric models."

PRIORITIES SET: If confirmed by the Senate, Droegemeier will start his job with the fiscal 2020 budget process already under way. This week, acting OSTP Director, Michael Kratsios and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney spelled out research priorities, including artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, quantum, hypersonics, a modernized nuclear deterrent, and "advanced microelectronics, computing, and cyber capabilities." R&D should also aim to improve resilience and protect the nation and critical infrastructure from natural hazards, physical threats, cyber attacks and threats from drones or biological agents, the memo says. The document calls for strong collaboration among academia, industry, and government, and "Innovative partnership models." See an analysis by Lewis-Burke Associates.

$10 MILLION FOR WEATHER AND CLIMATE MODELS: The Department of Energy has picked 13 projects, most at universities, to help provide "more accurate and higher-resolution representation of weather and climate events by taking advantage of the cutting-edge supercomputing facilities at DOE National Laboratories."  See the winners.

INDUSTRY APPRENTICESHIP FUNDING: A Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) grant program "aims to expand apprenticeships to sectors that often utilize H-1B visas, increase apprenticeship activity among small and medium-sized businesses, and promote a sector-based approach to the large-scale expansion of apprenticeships," Lewis-Burke Associates reports. Grants will be awarded to higher education institutions working in partnership with national industry associations. Click here to see the details. 

DoD R&D SHOWCASE: The Pentagon's Basic Research Office plans a second STIx--or Science, Technology, and Innovation Exchange--set for Oct. 9 and 10, 2018 at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, DC. This year it's "all about the connections that are at the heart of science and technology. They tie together the student and the mentor, and link groups of scientists in collaboration. Connections lie between innovation and application, the known and the unknown, and the network of ideas in different disciplines that combine to produce new discoveries." Researchers who would like their work featured are are invited to send an abstract. See the guidelines here.  


Source: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF).



HOW MULTINATIONALS FILL THE 'KNOWLEDGE GAP' OVERSEAS: U.S. companies have found a way to transfer knowledge across geographic boundaries and "facilitate learning when local knowledge sources in given technological areas are inadequate": They "utilize home country inventors on foreign affiliate inventor teams – and in particular on teams in locations with insufficiently specialized local knowledge stocks – to facilitate knowledge transfer," says a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. R&D magazine summarizes. (Graphic: National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators)

SLOW AND STEADY: Invoking Aesop's fable about the hare and the tortoise, a pair of Harvard researchers say it offers a worthwhile lesson for nuclear research. Learn more.


#METOO IN SCIENCE: The National Academies have a hashtag (#ScienceToo), two infographics (here  and here), and two videos to help build a movement against sexual harassment of women in science and engineering. These follow a recent report on the topic.

PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES AND EDUCATION, PART 2: A new Academies report summarizes a second set of workshop discussions on engineering societies, faculty, and engineering education.


CALL FOR PAPERS: A special issue of Advances in Engineering Education aims to curate proven practices and initiate larger conversations emerging from the work of engineering programs that engage students and faculty in the rigorous research, design, field-testing, and dissemination of technology-based solutions that address global development challenges. Read the Call for Papers here.

2019 CoNECD ABSTRACT DEADLINE: The second Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD) conference will be April 14 - 17, 2019 at the Marriott CrystalGateway outside Washington D.C. The Deadline to Submit your Abstract is  October 1, 2018 at 23:59 EDT. See the Call for Papers, and Authors' Kit. To submit an abstract, you'll need to be logged in to ASEE. See presentations from the 2018 conference.

SEND US AN ANECDOTE: Prism magazine is putting together a special edition in honor of ASEE's 125th anniversary—and we would love to hear from you! How has your membership influenced your career? For instance, did connections made at a conference help you land a job? Were you inspired to alter your teaching or perhaps create a robotics league? Please leave a few sentences to let us know, as well as your name and email address so that we can follow up. The best quotes will appear in the upcoming special issue! Click here to join the survey. 

The Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) editorial team is considering changes to our strategic plan, processes for publishing articles, and formats for articles. We would like to gather input from members of the engineering education community to help better inform these decisions. Please complete this survey to provide your feedback. The survey is short and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

ASEE AT 125 VIDEO CONTEST: One of the activities planned to mark ASEE‘s 125th anniversary is EEin25, the first-ever ASEE video contest. Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students may submit a 90-second video on where engineering education will be in 25 years at ASEE‘s 150th Anniversary in 2043. Click here to find out more. Click here to learn about other activities commemorating 125 Years at the Heart of Engineering Education.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE ACCELERATOR: ASEE's free monthly newsletter for undergraduate and graduate students has a wide array of resources: scholarship and internship/co-op listings, student news and essays, podcasts, professional development resources (e.g., advice on how to get an internship and how to make the most of it), and academic advice - plus entertaining engineering videos. Tell your students! Click here to subscribe. Send content to Jennifer Pocock at j.pocock@asee.org.

FIRE UP THE FUTURE WITH eGFI: Filled with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, the latest edition of ASEE's award-winning Engineering, Go For It is sure to get your students excited about learning - and doing - engineering!

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