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                                September 22, 2018



The president's willingness to sign a massive Defense and Labor-HHS-Education appropriation "remains unclear," CQ reports. He wants $5 billion for the border wall, or $3.4 billion more than is currently provided. The bill is likely to be sent to Trump for his signature in the coming week. He tweeted Thursday morning: "I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms? Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!" But Thursday night he again seemed to relent: ""I am not thrilled, but after the election, they are all telling me we are getting our wall the way we want it. . . . Let's see if they produce." A veto could shut down the government, because attached to the bill is a stopgap measure to extend current funding levels through Dec. 7 for agencies not covered by the start of the new fiscal year October 1. Congress may have the votes to override, since the measure has overwhelming support. The question is whether the GOP majority is willing to defy Trump. Image: U.S. Customs and Border Protection video.

PRESIDENT SIGNS ENERGY-WATER APPROPRIATION: Perhaps in an indication he's not--yet--in a vetoing frame of mind, the president has signed the FY 2019 spending bill that funds the Department of Energy (including the Office of Science and ARPA-E) and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Energy Sciences Coalition praises the bill's 5 percent increase -- to $6.59 billion -- for the Office of Science, which ESC says "will advance vital early stage research at both U.S. universities and the network of 17 DOE National Laboratories focused on high-risk, high-reward research areas. Machine learning, quantum information science, materials by design, and nuclear science are just a few examples of . . . research that can lead to paradigm-shifting innovations in energy technologies that spawn the creation of new industries."

See the AAAS Appropriations Dashboard

Source: Energy Sciences Coalition

'THE STATISTICS . . . ARE STAGGERING' when it comes to sexual misconduct in science, Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) say in a letter to the Government Accountability Office. Comstock chairs the research subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; Smith chairs the full committee. Citing "gaps in the application of current law and policies" and inconsistencies in how agencies and institutions handle complaints, they want the GAO to "further explore and provide potential solutions to prevent sexual misconduct in the scientific community and ensure that government funding does not go to those who engage in this unacceptable behavior." (The National Science Foundation has come out with its own policy. See below.)

DIM PROSPECTS FOR NUCLEAR EXPANSION: "The fundamental problem is cost," says an MIT study, which notes that other power-generation technologies have become cheaper while "new nuclear plants have only become costlier." The report looks at ways "to arrest and reverse that trend," including "more serial manufacturing of standardized plants." Co-chair John Parsons will be among witnesses at a House Science subcommittee hearing on Thursday. 


SOFTWARE FOR EXASCALE COMPUTING: Nine universities and the Ames Research Laboratory will share $21.6 million to build on scientists' growing capability to model chemical processes computationally--a method that "is beginning to supplant the traditional trial-and-error approach," the Department of Energy says in announcing the awards. "A key aim of the current projects is to take fuller advantage of the nation’s most advanced computers," including the current petascale models and "the still faster “exascale” machines expected to be deployed beginning early in the next decade."

TECHNICAL WORKFORCE TOUR: The next in a series of National Science Board “listening sessions” will be at the  Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, South Carolina. "Board members will hear the insights of the local community on challenges and opportunities related to the skilled technical workforce--individuals who use STEM capabilities in their jobs but do not have a bachelor’s degree." The college is home to the NSF-funded South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SCATE) National Resource Center, which will host an industry consortium workshop the following day with the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology.  

HARNESSING THE DATA REVOLUTION: The National Science Foundation lists a series of opportunities for researchers as part of this "big idea," including: Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA); Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI) - Data and Software: Elements and Frameworks; Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (RIDIR); and Partnerships between Science and Engineering Fields and the NSF TRIPODS Institutes (TRIPODS + X). Find the individual links by clicking here.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT UPDATE: Starting October 21, when grantmaking process changes take effect, "universities must tell the National Science Foundation . . . if any faculty members with NSF grants have been found guilty of sexual and other forms of harassment, or if they have suspended them for any reason. But NSF won’t pull its funding if institutions can assure the agency that another faculty member can take over the research project," Science magazine reports. The policy "could still leave NSF in the dark for quite a while after someone has first complained about harassment by a researcher."


Congressional Research Service, "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: Overview and Issues for Congress"



BEYOND GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY: A National Academies workshop explored the role and influence of philanthropy, angel and venture capital groups, political advocates, and nongovernmental organizations in funding research and development. Participants heard from representatives of the Simons Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Read the report.


ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN . . . for ASEE's 126th Annual Conference & Exposition at the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, Fla., June 15 - 19, 2019. See the Call for Papers (you may need to log on to the website as a member).

2019 CoNECD ABSTRACT DEADLINE: The second Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD) conference will be April 14 - 17, 2019 at the Marriott Crystal Gateway outside Washington D.C. The Deadline to Submit your Abstract is  October 1, 2018 at 23:59 EDT. See the Call for Papers, and Authors' Kit. To submit an abstract, you'll need to be logged in to ASEE. See presentations from the 2018 conference.

ASEE AT 125 VIDEO CONTEST: One of the activities planned to mark ASEE‘s 125th anniversary is EEin25, the first-ever ASEE video contest. Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students may submit a 90-second video on where engineering education will be in 25 years at ASEE‘s 150th Anniversary in 2043. Click here to find out more. Click here to learn about other activities commemorating 125 Years at the Heart of Engineering Education.

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.

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