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                                   August 24, 2019




Rep. Nita Lowey's first Democratic primary opponent in three decades is progressive Mondaire Jones, 32, who served in the Obama Justice Department and as a litigator for New York's Westchester County. Jones writes on Medium of being raised by a single mother who struggled with mental illness and of sometimes accompanying his grandmother while she worked cleaning houses. He went on to earn degrees from Stanford and Harvard Law. He supports cancellation of student debt, Medicare-for-All, a $15 minimum wage, universal childcare, and a Green New Deal. Lowey, 82, who has represented the Lower Hudson Valley since 1989, is leading the House's fiscal 2020 appropriations process, which so far has approved hefty increases for scientific research at the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other agencies.

MOON-SHOT POLITICS: NASA's choice of the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Alabama to supervise the building of the next lunar lander did not sit well with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who chairs  the Senate subcommittee that oversees the space agency. Still, "[h]e will likely let this matter slide," writes Mark Whittington in The Hill. Support from Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is crucial if NASA is to get the $20 billion to $30 billion needed.  "However, Cruz is going to want something" in the future for the Johnson Spaceflight Center located in his state. 

JUST IN CASE: The National Science Foundation has put back on its website a Plan for Operations During a Lapse in Appropriations (aka government shutdfown).


DECONGESTANT: The Department of Energy has awarded $3.5 million to the CIRCLES project at the University of California - Berkeley. CIRCLES aims to control traffic effectively, thereby minimizing emissions and making roads safer. It.employs a software framework called FLOW, which "simulates scenarios to control traffic using principles of machine learning. The framework tests common traffic tasks like controlling highway merges and bottlenecks to study common problems and identify how they can be remedied." The award was the biggest to a university among 43 grants announced by DOE for "new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research." See the others. 

BIG HYDROGEN: DOE is funding 29 projects, totalling about $40 million, in a bid to "enable affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization in the United States across multiple sectors." A $2 million award to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was the largest to a university. See the list.

DESIGN FOR DIVERSITY: The National Institutes of Health program called Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) seeks "to facilitate the transition of talented postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds, for example individuals from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce at the faculty level, into independent faculty careers in research-intensive institutions. The program has two components: an institutionally-focused research education cooperative agreement (UE5) and postdoctoral career transition award (K99/R00) to enhance diversity." Find out about a September 24 webinar.

SPACE LIMITATIONS: ASME's Capital Update brings word of  a one-day workshop co-hosted by the University of Colorado - Boulder and the Department of Commerce "to explore the key technology and measurement barriers standing in the way of the safe and successful deployment and operation of commercial space technology." Speakers will include Walt Copan, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Kevin O’Connell, director of the Office of Space Commerce at the department. Find out more and register.

NO BARRIERS HERE: The National Science Foundation's Antarctic Research solicitation "has been revised to encourage disciplinary research as well as research that crosses, and integrates, disciplinary perspectives and approaches in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. The goal of this change is to remove perceived barriers for submission of research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries while ensuring continued support for core research themes." Learn more.


Source: Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Measuring Innovation in Education 2019. "Between 2006 and 2016, the United States experienced modest innovation in its education practices, much less than in other OECD systems. Innovation was almost equally distributed between primary and secondary education. Innovation at the disciplinary level followed the OECD pattern, with more innovation in maths, followed by science and then reading." 

Source: OECD, Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance © 2019 OECD


A VIEW OF STEM FROM FOGGY BOTTOM: While a IEEE-USA Engineering and Diplomacy Fellow at the State Department, Rose-Hulman ECE Professor Daniel Moore worked on the Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develpment and the National Science and Technology Council’s report, America’s Strategy for STEM Education. He also participated in gatherings of science advisers in Australia and Oman. His fellowship will conclude later this month after he attends a Women in STEM planning meeting. Find a longer account here.  


FOILING DEEPFAKES: The increased presence of fake videos and images created using machine learning is accompanied by a volume of available digital information that exceeds the Intelligence Community’s (IC’s) current capabilities for human vetting and processing, according to David Isaacson of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He hoped a National Academies workshop "would present the current state of the art as well as provide insight into forthcoming innovations so that the IC and the nation are prepared to retool and be better equipped in both the current environment and future scenarios." Read the report.


CHENNAI BECKONS; The Global Student Forum will be held November 12-16 in Chennai, India, concurrent with the World Engineering Education Forum. 


ASEE is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Editor‐in‐Chief for the journal Advances in Engineering Education. The anticipated start date for this volunteer position is July 1, 2020, with applications due this fall. Learn more here.



How can you build your college’s female leadership pool? On Sept. 11 at 11:00 AM, ET, University of Michigan’s Alec Gallimore (Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering) and Jennifer Linderman (Director of the ADVANCE Program) will explore four key approaches used at Michigan Engineering to build the female leadership pool, where women now occupy half of the top faculty-leadership roles. Don’t miss out – register today at http://bit.ly/30y42Ub

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