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September 16, 2017



President Trump and congressional Democratic Leaders  Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agreed to boost border enforcement in exchange for continued protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrants. Congress's focus is now shifting to what security measures the package could include, CQ reports. Mentioned were new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, and rebuilding roads along the border. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is “actively considering” delaying a looming deadline for so called-Dreamers to renew their status, Politico reports. Word of the possible delay came as a federal judge in Brooklyn, Nicholas G. Garaufis, "said the deadline was too soon and requested it be pushed back so that the president and Congress have time to fix the program through legislation," according to the New York Times. Current DACA recipients will retain their status and work authorization permits until they expire. Some are rushing for one more two-year DACA renewal while they can, the Indianapolis Star reports. Meanwhile, Trump’s supporters are apoplectic and lashing out at “Amnesty Don,” writes The Hill.

 Educational Attainment and School Enrollment of the Total U.S. DACA-eligible Population (2014)

Source: Migration Policy Institute, "The Education and Work Profiles of the DACA Population" 

FINAL PASSAGE NEAR FOR SENATE DEFENSE BILL: The Senate voted 84-9 Thursday to limit debate on its FY 2018 defense authorization bill and is expected to vote on final passage Monday, according to CQ. "Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said he hoped to have an agreement on another package of amendments before final passage." The Coalition for National Security Research, of which ASEE is a member, has publicly backed a number of provisions in the massive bill - including authorization of more money for the Manufacturing Engineering Education Program - but objected to sections that it says "appear to undermine the Department’s efforts to support innovations in medical technologies by adding unnecessary layers of bureaucratic red tape."  

HOUSE PASSES FY 2018 OMNIBUS: The 12-bill, $1.23 trillion spending package appropriates $621.5 billion for defense and $511 billion for nondefense discretionary spending. Democrats have insisted on an even split between defense and nondefense and have the votes to block the bill in the Senate, according to CQ. The bill violates caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act, and thus would trigger across-the-board spending cuts without a bipartisan budget deal. But if a year-end spending compromise is reached, many provisions in the House omnibus are likely to be included. CQ says 14 Republicans, most of them adamant deficit hawks, joined 184 Democrats in opposition.

ONE DRIVER, SEVERAL TRUCKS: Troy Clarke, a mechanical engineer and CEO of Navistar, Inc., which builds  trucks, school buses, diesel engines, and military vehicles, tells senators he expects future truck drivers to operate in a manner similar to airline pilots. "They will be employed to manage multiple vehicle assets, for optimized safety and efficiency. For example, an autonomous vehicle may be deployed on a straight highway with mixed vehicles, while the driver sitting in his or her seat is managing the controls and monitoring several platooning trucks, and ensuring the safe and secure operation of the trucks under their care." His industry "is developing Vehicle to Vehicle (V to V) systems to allow cars and trucks to 'talk' to one another." Without compatibility between passenger and commercial vehicles, there could be "enormous blind spots in the transportation network." Watch the hearing

CHINA'S 'INNOVATION ENGINE': Brian Anderson, a chemical engineering professor at West Virginia University who directs the WVU Energy Institute. He was among witnesses at a Senate hearing on the Department of Energy's National Laboratories. Responding to a question from Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on the impact of the Trump administration's budget cuts on retaining top talent, he said that through U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center Advanced Coal Technology Consortium, based at WVU, "we get to see firsthand the innovation engine that exists in China." Cuts like those proposed by the administration would have a "dramatic effect" on the next generation of U.S. innovators and scientists, he said. Meanwhile, when it comes to R&D, "there is a vast economy that is ready to take our place." See the American Institute of Physics's coverage.  


DEADLINE EXTENDED: Because of recent hurricanes, the National Science Foundation's Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Division "is extending the CMMI unsolicited proposal submission deadline from September 15, 2017, to 5:00 PM submitter's local time September 22, 2017, in order to allow principal investigators and their institutions to focus on more immediate concerns. In recognition of the increasingly collaborative nature of NSF research, this extension extends to all persons submitting proposals under the current CMMI proposal submission window, regardless of their location. No extensions beyond September 22 will be granted." 

See a video on "largest-ever known deployment of UAVs for disaster response" following Hurricane Harvey. 

FLAWED PREDICTIONS: The "Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 100-year flood plain maps — the tool that U.S. officials use to determine both flood risk and insurance premiums — failed to capture 75 percent of flood damages from five serious floods, none of which reached the threshold of a 100-year event," according to research by hydrologists and land-use experts at Rice University and Texas A&M University at Galveston. A Rice press release quotes TAMU grad student Russell Blessing as saying: "What we’ve tried to show, both with this study and several others, is that it is possible to do better. . . . “There are innovative computational and hydrological tools available to build more predictive maps.”

WANTED - A NETWORK OF NETWORKS: NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering "seeks input from the U.S. research community to identify respective networks in the U.S. and abroad that could be better connected to leverage expertise, data, facilities, and/or other resources to stimulate critical research advances through networks of networks. Research areas with sufficient maturity to have a nascent, but not well-established, network of researchers in the U.S. and abroad are of particular interest. . . . There should be potential to link multiple networks, leading to a network of networks." Find out more. 

RAPID RESPONSES ONLY: This is the last chance for proposals for the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute — a part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and one of the nation’s 14 Manufacturing USA Institutes. "RAPID has identified several high level knowledge and technology gaps that, if addressed, would significantly advance process intensification and/or modular chemical process processing technologies. Proposals will be scored against their fit within the technical scope defined by these gaps." The call for proposals closes September 18. Learn more.


Graphic by Jennifer Pocock. Click here for a larger, interactive version.


ANYONE OUT THERE? "The search for life is one of the most active fields in space science and involves a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, chemistry, and geoscience. In December 2016, the Space Studies Board hosted a workshop to explore the possibility of habitable environments in the solar system and in exoplanets, techniques for detecting life, and the instrumentation used. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop." Download the report.

UNDERGRAD DATA SCIENCE WEBINAR: Speakers "will discuss how partnerships between industry and educational programs could be encouraged, whether a focus on real problems could attract a more diverse cadre of data science students, and how to help students gain access to real-world data sets." September 19 at 3:00 p.m. Learn more.


STREAMLINED COURSE DESIGN: Next month, ASEE is launching a live, four-part online program to help engineering faculty streamline their course design process and design more effective courses. The program will be led by course design experts Dr. Karl Smith and Dr. Ruth Streveler and will take place in four (4) two-and-a-half-hour sessions over the course of eight weeks. Learn more about this program here – and sign up for a free info session on September 15. Questions? Email education@asee.org.


The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) provides an opportunity for college students to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory during the summer. The online application process closes on October 31, 2017. Learn more here.

NOMINATE A YOUNG SUPERSTAR: Prism magazine plans a repeat of its widely read "20 Under 40" issue, highlighting especially talented engineering and engineering technology teachers and researchers. Please send your nominations and a brief description of the nominees' achievements to m.matthews@asee.org with "20 under 40" in the message line. Note: Choices will be based on both accomplishments and variety.

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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