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February 20, 2015




"A higher priority" should be accorded basic and longterm research to protect the Internet, a White House report says. "Current investments in cybersecurity R&D are not keeping pace with the increase in risk, and have not satisfied society’s needs for cybersecurity technologies that are effective and efficient." As basic research results mature, support for  applied research will be appropriate. The report also urges streamlining the technology transition process for federally-funded research. Skills of cybersecurity researchers should be augmented with expertise from social, behavioral, and economic disciplines, with "grant review processes (that) are open to multi-disciplinary proposals." Diversity should be expanded: "Reframing the image of a cyber professional to be a more inclusive one would increase the talent pool . . . ."

STAR FACULTY:: A partial list of university engineers and computer scientists given prestigious Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers includes those pictured above. Clockwise from top left, they are: Cullen Buie, MIT (see a profile in Prism); Sayeef Salahuddin and Pieter Abbeel, UC Berkeley; Jakita Thomas, Spelman College; Joachim Walther, University of Georgia; Aaron Roth, University of Pennsylvania;  Arezoo Ardekani, Notre Dame; Rahul Mangharam, University of Pennsylvania; Antonius Dieker, Georgia Tech; and Shwetak N. Patel, University of Washington.  

TROUBLE THE WATER: A report from the National Science and Technology Council lays out a research plan to combat harmful algal blooms plaguing the Great Lakes and hypoxia, creating giant oxygen-depleted dead zones (the murky water in the photo) in the Gulf of Mexico.

PRESENT AND FUTURE MANUFACTURING R&D: Officials from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Defense, and Commerce gave an extensive rundown of their advanced manufacturing programs on Capitol Hill recently. Among the topics was MForesight, "a think and do tank" based at the University of Michigan intended to predict critical needs in manufacturing across sectors and technologies. Agency presentations are available on sponsor ASME's website.

MIND THE GAP: Pramod Khargonekar, who heads NSF's engineering directorate, is urging engineering deans to fill what he perceives as a "basic gap in leadership" in the profession. He urged attendees at ASEE's Public Policy Colloquium to look beyond their institutions and think collectively about "the biggest opportunities for the nation" in engineering. He expects they could find a receptive audience at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The result could be "a fantastic future for engineering."

In a rundown of directorate priorities, Khargonekar touched on:

  • Manufacturing, and in particular, cybermanufacturing (advanced computing, software, and networking), scalable nanomanufacturing, and advanced biomanufacturing (for instance, immune therapy).
  • NSF-wide initiatives: food-energy-water; resilient infrastructure and services; understanding the brain (and neuro-inspired engineering); and INCLUDES, an effort to broaden participation by building alliances.
  • Scaling up I-Corps. Ohio has jumped on board.
  • The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (think post-Moore's Law computing).
  • A new Engineering Research Center competition under way now, plus a National Academy study on the future of ERCs..
  • Sustaining CAREER grants despite "tremendous" fiscal pressure. Junior faculty need to be supported, but deans should be investing as well.

(Thanks to Nathan Kahl for recording the talk.)


Source: Congressional Research Service via the Federation of American Scientists. Click here for the report.

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


'PLENTY OF WAYS TO GET TO "YES"': That's the optimistic outlook of Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), left, a member of the House Budget Committee, on the likelihood of coming up with a fiscal 2017 budget resolution all GOP factions can accept. Brat, who toppled then-House Majority Leader budget Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary, has since become a "prominent voice" in the right-leaning Freedom Caucus, CQ reports. House conservatives had wanted the GOP to abandon the higher caps agreed to in last year's budget deal. That would be a non-starter in the Senate. But Brat now thinks they can live with the new caps on discretionary spending if, as CQ writes, "GOP leaders pledge to include substantive changes in welfare programs, Medicare, Social Security or other rapidly growing entitlement programs in fiscal 2017 appropriations bills." Somehow that doesn't seem any more realistic, but stay tuned. Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) "is still shooting for the committee to mark up the House’s plan on Feb. 25, with floor consideration the following week or two," according to CQ.

WHY CUT BASIC RESEARCH? Many university lobbyists hope that question will be lobbed at the Pentagon's top R&D officials Feb. 24 when the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities examines the administration's 2017 budget. The budget proposes a 4.1 percent decrease in the S&T portfolio overall and a 9 percent cut to basic research. The hearing, which can be watched live, will include testimony from: Stephen Welby, DoD assistant secretary for research and engineering; Mary Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology; Rear Adm. Mathias W. Winter, chief of naval research; David Walker, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering; and Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

That same day, the House Energy and Commerce oversight panel will hold a hearing entitled "DOE for the 21st Century: Science, Environment, and National Security Missions," to "hear testimony from the co-chairmen of two advisory panels, the Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, and the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories." The Health Subcommittee will examine the 2017 Health and Human Services budget (which includes the National Institutes of Health). On Feb. 26, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing to "closely examine the direction of 3D printing and its impact on jobs and economic growth."


DOING IT RIGHT: A National Academies report holds up 25 courses as "exemplary in their approach to infusing ethics into the development of engineering students." The panel sought submissions that connected ethics to technical engineering content and that included assessment of whether goals were being met. A couple of schools offered more than one worthy example.


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. 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 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.

PANEL MEMBERS SOUGHT: Engineering educators sometimes have trouble regularly revising coursework to include the fundamentals of new technologies. This issue is to be reviewed during a panel discussion, “Education and Promotion of New Technologies,” at the Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 Conference in Orlando, Florida, March 12-15, 2017. The International Geosynthetic Society – North American Chapter is seeking panel members representing various technologies and-or materials who have had difficulty getting them incorporated into coursework. If you are interested in being on this panel, please contact Bob Mackey (407-475-9163; bmackey@s2li.com).

A FACULTY WORKSHOP on Professional Skills Assessment will be held Saturday, April 16, 2016 at Penn State Berks. Researchers and educators will share their work on assessment and learn how to implement and use Peer Evaluation Assessment Resource (PEAR) software. This workshop is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) project called A Modular Assessment Framework for Professional Skills Using A Model of Domain Learning Approach. The workshop is free but space is limited. For more information and registration, please visit: http://sites.psu.edu/psa2016/

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.