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January 8, 2015




The Office of Management and Budget announced the release date on Twitter. R&D priorities for the final months of the Obama presidency were spelled out in a July 9, 2015 memo. They call for 9 multi-agency pursuits, including climate change, clean energy, earth observations, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity. Also stressed is commercialization of research - "one of the core responsibilities of each R&D supporting agency." 

BACK TO PRE-SEQUESTRATION LEVELS: That's what the recently enacted omnibus spending bill means for many science agencies, reports Matt Hourihan, budget expert at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. FY 2016 marks the third year of budget recovery following a period that saw "billions in lost funding." But he notes that "Congress has already locked in an essentially flat budget for FY 2017." And the source of sequestion, the 2011 Budget Control Act, "is still the law of the land."

$140 MILLION FOR MANUFACTURING: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is prepared to provide up to $70 million over five years for each of two advanced manufacturing hubs. The money must be matched by non-federal sources. NIST says it has not pre-determined the areas of focus for the hubs, which will be part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, and is "open to receiving proposals in any topic of interest to industry." But the agency strongly hints that it favors topics "relevant to manufacturing robotics and biopharmaceutical manufacturing" - two areas identified by presidential advisers as "critical to supporting national needs." See the Notice of Intent.

BUILDING BLOCKS: The National Science Foundation anticipates spending $23.5 million on cyberinfrastructure "to accelerate interdisciplinary and collaborative research in areas of inquiry stimulated by data." It's seeking proposals for up to six three-year pilot demonstration awards totalling $500,000 each and up to six $4 million, five-year early implementation awards. "Effective solutions will bring together cyberinfrastructure expertise and domain researchers, to ensure that the resulting cyberinfrastructure address researchers’ data needs." Learn more. 

CRISP COLLABORATION: NSF's Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) aims in part to "foster an interdisciplinary research community of engineers, computer and computational scientists and social and behavioral scientists, that creates new approaches and engineering solutions for the design and operation of infrastructures as processes and services." Find out more during an informational webcast  Jan. 22.


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


EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL: Despite the pending retirement of NASA champion Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the space agency has a self-described "passionate and aggressive advocate" on the House appropriations panel. He's Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.), who chairs the Commerce, Justice, Science subcommittee. But as Jeff Mervis reports in ScienceInsider, his scientific priorities so far "have left many scientists scratching their heads, if not shaking their fists." Read the interview, in which Culberson says he wants NSF to stick to hard sciences and waxes enthusiastic about the possibility of life in other worlds. "[w]e will most likely discover it in the oceans of Europa."

178 MILLION: That's the number of records of Americans exposed in cyber-attacks last year, says Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. The Office of Personnel Management breach alone "compromised the personal information of more than 20 million people," he told a hearing on ways the private sector combats cyberthreats.

ENERGY SPURT: Prospects of major energy legislation being enacted have improved with a more cooperative stance by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). The White House threatened to veto a House-passed bill that "went heavy on preserving a role for fossil fuels  . . . " and omitted Democrat-backed hydropower and efficiency measures, CQ reports. But with a major energy package moving through the Senate, Upton now thinks Congress can "end up with a bill that the president can sign, assuming they can get it out of the Senate."


FOUR AT WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC WIN GORDON PRIZE: The $500,000 National Academy of Engineering award for "new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders" went to, from left, Arthur C. Heinricher, professor of mathematical sciences and dean of undergraduate studies; Diran Apelian, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Metal Processing Institute; Kristin Wobbe, associate dean of undergraduate studies; and Richard F. Vaz, dean of interdisciplinary and global studies. Their project-based engineering curriculum was cited for "developing leadership, innovative problem-solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, and global competencies." Heinricher, Wobbe, and Vaz are members of ASEE. See Vaz's January, 2014 Last Word in Prism. (Photo courtesy of WPI)


ERC REGISTRATION AND HOUSING: The Engineering Research Council's annual conference will be held March 7-9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Silver Spring, Md. Visit this link to take advantage of discounted registration rates. Click here to reserve your hotel room. Find more information, including a preliminary program, here.

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 2016 Public Policy Colloquium - February 8-10, 2016 at The Fairmont Hotel, Washington, D.C., sponsored by the ASEE Engineering Deans Council and its Executive Board. The colloquium is intended 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 not send an associate dean. Early registration rates end January 22, 2016. Click here for more information.

2016 Engineering Deans Institute -  March 29 – April 1, 2016 at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, San Francisco.
ASEE's annual 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. EDI is sponsored by the ASEE Engineering Deans Council and its Executive Board. Early registration rates end March 11, 2016. Click here for more information.


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.