Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon

                                 February 16, 2019



The Science Coalition tweeted a joyful thanks to congressional appropriators, with good reason. While much of official Washington was absorbed in the political battle over border security, a conference committee was quietly writing a large check for research. The spending measure signed into law Friday--covering seven remaining FY 2019 bills-- boosts funding for NASA, the National Science Foundation, and agricultural research, and maintains level amounts for key R&D at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology account. In most cases, the bill provides substantially more than proposed by the Trump administration. Here are the numbers:

NASA: $21.5 billion -- $763.9 million above the FY 2018 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the president’s budget.

NSF: $8.1 billion, $307.6 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $603 million above the president’s budget.

Agricultural Research: $3.16 billion, an increase of $405 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $879 million above the president’s request, to support the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

NIST: Reduced to $985.5 million, maintaining FY 2018 levels for Scientific and Technical Research and Services, which supports cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, quantum science, and centers of  excellence, among other programs.

Homeland Security S&T: $820 million, down $12 million from FY 2018 but $236 million above the White House request. Research, Development, and Innovation and University Programs are about the same as now.

NOAA Climate Research: Slightly increased to $159 million--$60 million above the president’s request..

See an explanatory statement and a summary

CAVEATS: Appropriations conferees, led by Sen.Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), above, had some uncharitable words for NASA, saying "the lack of progress across science and exploration programs despite continued significant and sustained investments in these programs is dismaying." At NSF, the lawmakers provide $1 million for enhanced oversight of Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction projects and urge "capacity building at institutions of higher education that typically do not receive high levels of NSF funding."

A NEW GOP TAKE ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Three Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, acknowledging that "climate change is real," argue in an op-ed that it must be addressed "in ways that focus on American prosperity and technological capabilities. . . We should promote carbon capture and utilization, renewable hydropower, and safe nuclear power, which is emissions-free. We should also look to remove barriers to energy storage and commercial batteries to help make renewable sources more viable and our electricity grid more resilient. And we must encourage more research and business investments in new clean energy technologies." 


AMERICA FIRST IN AI? That's the stated intent of a February 11 presidential executive order, which spells out five principles that will guide the American AI Initiative. The United States must: drive technological breakthroughs in AI across the federal overnment, industry, and academia in order to promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security; drive development of appropriate technical standards and reduce barriers to the safe testing and deployment of AI technologies . . . ; train current and future generations of American workers with the skills to develop and apply AI technologies . . . ; foster public trust and confidence in AI technologies and protect civil liberties, privacy, and American values in their application . . . ; promote an international environment that supports American AI research and innovation and opens markets for American AI industries, while protecting . . .  our critical AI technologies from acquisition by strategic competitors and adversarial nations. See also a White House fact sheet on industries of the future.


Source: "CQ Analysis: Where the Money Goes in Fiscal 2019" - amounts are in thousands of dollars.

Source: American Institute of Physics FYI Bulletin


ENGINEERING OUR WAY TO 2050: Will AI and other transformational technologies change humanity for the better? Can we sustain 10 billion people? These questions are sub-themes of the overall topic of the Engineering Grand Challenges summit to be held in London in September: "Humanity is facing unprecedented challenges from a population growing to 10 billion by 2050, and accelerating degradation of the planet and its resources. At the same time, exponential technological changes are making the world smarter, faster and more connected, but with unanticipated consequences." Also check out how the Royal Academy of Engineering hopes to influence policy in the UK with its National Engineering Policy Center. 

THE PENTAGON MUST TAP ACADEMIA IN ITS AI PUSH: Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, Purdue University's vice president of Discovery Park, writes in National Defense magazine: "A collaborative relationship between the Defense Department and academia will offer the military something it can’t get anywhere else — a trusted capability to produce open, verifiable solutions, and a captive audience of future personnel familiar with the defense community’s problems." 


4 DEANS, 5 OTHER ASEE MEMBERS TAPPED FOR NAE: The deans elected to the National Academy of Engineering are, left to right, Darryll Pines, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, for inspirational leadership and contributions to engineering education excellence in the United States; Gilda Barabino, Grove School of Engineering, City College of New York, for leadership in bioengineering research and inclusive models of bioengineering education and faculty mentoring; Barry Shoop, Albert Nerken School of Engineering, the Cooper Union, for leadership in developing engineering systems solutions for national security and contributions to military engineering education; and Alec Gallimore, dean of engineering and professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for advanced spacecraft electric propulsion, especially Hall thruster technology.

Other ASEE members are: Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, professor and chair, civil, environmental, and geodetic engineering, Ohio State University, for contributions to geodetic science and satellite navigation, including integration with artificial intelligence; Yassin Hassan, professor, departments of nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering, Texas A&M University; for experimentally validated thermal hydraulic analyses of multiphase flow fields for nuclear reactor operations; Robert Lorenz, professor of controls engineering, department of mechanical engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, for contributions to modeling and control of cross-coupled electromechanical systems for high-performance electric machines and drives; Pratim Biswas, professor and chair, department of energy, environmental, and chemical engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, for advancing the science of aerosol dynamics and particle removal technologies; and Richard Braatz, professor of  chemical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for contributions to diagnosis and control of large-scale and molecular processes for materials, microelectronics, and pharmaceuticals manufacturing. 



The 2019 Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD) conference will be held April 14–17, 2019, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Crystal City, Va. (future site of Amazon’s HQ2). ASEE members qualify for a discount.
Click here to register

Connect with Department Chairs at the ASEE Annual Conference
Learn the best practices of successful department chairs on June 16th at the 2019 Chairs Conclave in Tampa, FL. Designed by chairs, for chairs, the Chairs Conclave is an exclusive forum for engineering and engineering technology department chairs to exchange ideas and experiences, talk through challenges, and build working relationships. Learn more and register today – seating is limited – at https://chairsconclave.asee.org.

Two-Part Webinar on Teaching Metacognition — February 2019
How do you teach metacognition to help improve student learning? Join us for a two-part webinar event. Patrick Cunningham (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) and Holly Matusovich (Virginia Tech) offer insights and actionable strategies for talking to and teaching students about metacognitive development. Registration is free for ASEE members! Learn more and register


"Fellows serve as independent, non-biased advisors in engineering, science and technology, bringing a nonpartisan, pragmatic approach to analysis and input which has a profound impact on the decision making process. The result is effective and technologically appropriate public policy based on sound engineering principles." Learn more


Check out scores of listings geared to engineering educators on ASEE’s Classifieds Website.

SIGN UP FOR THE EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION RATE at ASEE's 126th Annual Conference, June 15 - 19, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. The conference features more than 400 technical sessions, with peer-reviewed papers spanning all disciplines of engineering education. Click here to register.

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!

Order Your Copies