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                                                         January 6, 2018         



Discussing 2018 strategy with Republican leaders at the presidential retreat this weekend, the president "will make clear that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should put infrastructure above other priorities including Ryan's push to overhaul entitlement programs," USA Today reports. According to Lewis-Burke Associates, ASEE's federal relations partner: "Preliminary details suggest the White House is coalescing around a $200 billion injection of federal funds to stimulate a much larger investment—estimated at around $800 billion—by states and private entities." Federal money would be divided among projects for which state and local governments have identified revenue for construction and maintenance; rural infrastructure; federal loan programs; and "major, transformative projects that have a regional or national impact."

WHAT ABOUT R&D? Lewis-Burke has ideas for how an infrastructure initiative could build on advances in automated and connected vehicles and the Internet of Things. "To continue this growth requires new technologies enabled by the research enterprise that brings fundamental research to the edge of commercialization. The critical role of smart infrastructure research supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other agencies is vital to effective investments to revolutionize U.S. infrastructure.  Advances in lightweight materials, sophisticated and smaller sensors that generate massive amounts of data, and artificial intelligence are just some of the products of this research that enable cutting edge applications for smart cities, rural communities, and the next generation of infrastructure technologies."

STILL AT ODDS ON SPENDING CAPS: Three months into fiscal 2018, the Trump administration and congressional leaders have so far failed to agree on appropriations caps for this year  and next, CQ reports. The current stopgap funding for federal agencies expires at midnight January 19. However, all agree to keep talking. "At the heart of the divide is whether to increase nondefense spending levels by an amount equal to defense increases."

WHITE HOUSE TIES DACA DEAL TO WALL FUNDING: The Trump administration has infuriated Democrats by conditioning protection for so-called dreamers on congressional support for "its entire immigration agenda — plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding," CQ reports. "The policy wish list . . . says any legislation to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must 'ensure funding for the southern border wall,' overhaul the asylum process for unaccompanied child migrants, crack down on so-called sanctuary cities and limit 'chain' migration," in which relatives of legal immigrants can enter the United States. 

GOP SPURNS WEALTHY SCHOOLS: Of the 33 colleges that will likely have to pay the new 1.4 percent excise tax on endowment income, part of the recently enacted tax measure, Democrats represent 24, CQ says, citing the National Center for Education Statistics. The other nine are representated by Republicans who supported the bill. (See CQ graphic below.) CQ observes: "There’s no love lost between conservatives and the ivory tower of academia."                                                                                                                                                          In billions

Source: CQ


CHANGE IN STORE FOR ARCTIC OUTPOST: The National Science Foundation has begun the process of shifting the Sondrestrom Upper Atmospheric Research Facility in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to a Geospace Polar Observatory (GPO). "As a first step in this process we are planning to support ISR (incoherent scatter radar) operations at the SRF until March 31, 2018. After that time, we will support caretaker operations at the site while we evaluate the future of science activities at the site." The GPO "could be supported as a unique location where remote observations of the geospace system are made with minimal operational needs." NSF welcomes comments "on the relative importance of the GPO, in light of the current constrained budget landscape." Photo: Craig J. Heinselman

CROP-BREEDING HIGH TECH: NSF, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.K.'s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, is supporting "the development of breakthrough technologies that will enable significant advances in crop breeding. This opportunity aims to make high impact changes in the ability to translate basic knowledge of plant genomics to practical outcomes in crops of economic importance."  Learn more

'INCLUDES' ALLIANCES: NSF's Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) program has funding available and specific instructions for alliances. "Collectively, the set of NSF INCLUDES Alliances are to: 1) Participate in a network of peer alliances to achieve long-term goals of the NSF INCLUDES program; 2) Collaborate with the NSF INCLUDES Coordination Hub to build critical knowledge that shows measurable progress toward long-term goals; and 3) Work to build on-ramps for other organizations and broadening participation stakeholders to join in and expand the NSF National Network. Find out more

THE FUTURE OF COMPUTING: The Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering's Expeditions in Computing program is offering up to $2,000,000 per year for five years for "ambitious, fundamental research agendas that promise to define the future of computing and information. . . . [I]nvestigators are encouraged to come together within or across departments or institutions to combine their creative talents in the identification of compelling, transformative research agendas that promise disruptive innovations . . . " Learn more

A CLOSER LOOK AT PLANTS: The Department of Energy seeks to support interdisciplinary fundamental research "towards enabling new bioimaging capabilities for the study of plant and microbial systems" relevant to bioenergy. "New imaging instrumentation is needed to observe and characterize multiple metabolic processes occurring within the living plant and microbial systems." DOE envisions "multimodal imaging devices constructed by merging new, innovative and/or transformational improvements to existing capabilities which will enable simultaneous observations in synergistic combination with correlated structural and/or chemical imaging." Find out more.

CHERRY (TOMATO) PICKING: One of the most popular videos on the website of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency shows the stunning progress made in prosthetics. (See all 10 videos.) 

PLUMB THE DEPTHS: DARPA's Subterranean (SubT) Challenge "aims to explore new approaches to rapidly map, navigate, and search underground environments" that are too hazardous for human first responders. A Proposers Day is set for January 18 in Arlington, Virginia. Advance registration closes at 12:00 PM Eastern on January 10, 2018 for onsite attendance and 12:00 PM Eastern on January 16, 2018 for virtual attendance, or until capacity is reached. See details

USE-INSPIRED RESEARCH, in which university-industry teams discover "completely new solutions to challenging defense and national security problems" and use that knowledge "to influence existing or new acquisition programs" is the intent of the Pentagon's Defense Enterprise Science Initiative (DESI). "Industry’s initial role in a DESI project is to provide a national security context for the defense challenge, and to collaborate with the university research team throughout the project. The university’s role is to invent or discover knowledge that could be leveraged for completely new solutions to the defense challenge."


Source: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF). Read the accompanying infobrief


PAUL YOCK WINS 2018 GORDON PRIZE: The Stanford professor of medicine and founding cochair of the university’s Department of Bioengineering (left) "is known internationally for his work in inventing, developing, and testing new devices," the National Academy of Engineering says. These devices include "the Rapid Exchange™ stenting and balloon angioplasty system, which is now the primary system in use worldwide. . . a Doppler-guided access system known as the Smart Needle™ and PD-Access™." The Gordon Prize recognizes "new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders." Yock is the founder and director of the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign. He recently spoke to Prism about the center's work.

Bjarne Stroustrup, a managing director in the technology division of Morgan Stanley in New York City, as well as a visiting professor in computer science at Columbia, was awarded the Draper Prize.  


Engineering Education Summit at NIWeek 2018

Join fellow leaders in education, industry, and research to discuss impactful trends and best practices that are affecting how students learn and how we can best prepare them to tackle the engineering challenges of tomorrow.  The Engineering Education Summit at NIWeek 2018 in Austin, Texas is a unique event that brings together a global audience of educators and researchers, alongside engineers from leading companies. Interactive panels and sessions ensure that you can learn how new teaching methodologies are enabling the hands-on, active learning in areas such as wireless communications, IoT and mechatronics. Learn more about this event and see highlights from 2017.

GOLDEN GOOSE AWARD NOMINATIONS: "The Golden Goose Award honors federally funded research that may be odd, obscure or serendipitous but ends up having a major impact on society." You can nominate "colleagues, collaborators and role models" by following this link.  


The first-of-its-kind GEM-ASEE Doctoral Engineering Research Showcase, sponsored by The National GEM Consortium (GEM) and ASEE, will be held January 22-23, 2018, at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC.  Doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and new faculty will display their leading-edge technical research and connect with potential agency sponsors and academic employers. Find out more. Watch a video.

GOFLY COMPETITION: In partnership with Boeing, ASEE is calling on the world’s greatest thinkers, designers, engineers, and builders to challenge themselves and change the future. Registration for the competition is now open and all details are available here

ASEE IS CO-HOSTING the First Annual CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity - pronounced “connected”) Conference next April 29 to May 1. It will be a forum on enhancing diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups in engineering and computing. CoNECD will encompass many diverse groups, including those based on gender (including gender identity and gender expression), race and ethnicity, disability, veterans, LGBTQ+, 1st generation and socio-economic status. It's a collaboration of ASEE's Minorities in Engineering and Women in Engineering divisions and several outside groups. ASEE members can submit an abstract here (login required.) 

ASEE Board Reorganization - Feedback Needed

ASEE ED Norman Fortenberry presents the rationale for a proposed reorganization of the ASEE Board of Directors. Watch a video and  leave your feedback (ASEE member login required; Firefox works best.).

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. Click here to advertise. 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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