In this issue:
ADVANCE YOUR CAREER AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! APPLY FOR AN ASME
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FELLOWSHIP!
ASME is currently accepting applications for participation in its Federal Government Fellowship Program through which ASME members provide engineering and technical expertise to policy-makers in Congress (Congressional Fellowships) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (ASME Foundation “Swanson” Fellowship). Federal Fellows provide a valuable public service to the nation while at the same time providing engineers with a unique opportunity to participate directly in the public policy making process.
Persons interested in serving as a 2011-2012 Congressional Fellow would spend one year in Washington, DC working with the staff of a congressional committee, U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative. Congressional Fellowships are designed to demonstrate the value of engineering-government interaction, bring technical backgrounds and external perspectives to the decision making process in Congress and provide a unique public policy learning experience to the Fellow. Because of the limited number of Congressional Fellowships available, the process is very competitive. The following credentials are encouraged: at least five years of professional experience; an advanced engineering degree; professional engineer registration; and, some public policy experience.
The ASME Foundation “Swanson” Fellowship was established in 2010 in recognition of Dr. John A. Swanson, an internationally recognized authority and innovator in the application of finite element methods to engineering. The Swanson Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for an experienced engineer to serve as a Federal Fellow in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where her/his broad, multi-disciplinary background would be applied to finding solutions to technical issues. The Swanson Fellow will confer with public policy professionals to make practical contributions on the most effective use of engineering in federal decision making. Swanson Fellow applicants should be established engineering researchers/practitioners with an advanced degree in engineering plus approximately ten years of R&D product development experience in an academic setting or in industry. Entrepreneurial experience, R&D commercialization and some understanding of working with federal agencies are also desirable.
ASME Fellows will be awarded a stipend of $60,000 for the one year Fellowship. ASME Federal Fellows typically serve from September through August, but a January through December term is sometimes an option. Applications are accepted annually from December 1st through March 31st. All Fellows must be US citizens and ASME members at the time of application.
To apply for the Congressional Fellowship or the Swanson Fellowship, fill out the online application at https://secure.asme.org/fedgovfellows/appform.cfm and provide the requested materials. The application deadline is March 31, 2011.
For additional information about the visit ASME
Federal Government Fellowship Program or contact Kathryn Holmes, Director,
ASME Government Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org
WORLDWIDE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING UP 3.6 PERCENT
Global research and development (R&D) spending is expected to increase by 3.6 percent in 2011 to $1.2 trillion, according to the Battelle-R&D Magazine 2011 Global R&D Forecast released recently at a meeting of the House R&D Caucus. The forecast predicts that U.S. R&D will grow by only 2.4 percent over the final 2010 estimate, reaching $405.3 billion in 2011. With the 2011 inflation rate forecasted to remain a low 1.5 percent, this growth still leads to 0.86 percent, or $3.4 billion, growth in real terms.
A snapshot of the report reveals the following megatrends:
- Globalization increasingly is narrowing the R&D gap between countries;
- The U.S. still leads all countries by funding one-third of global R&D;
- China has overtaken Japan as the second highest funder of global R&D; and,
- Asia’s stake in R&D spending continues to increase, a shift begun more than five years ago. The U.S., however, still dominates absolute spending at a level well above its share of global Gross Domestic Product.
“The continued expansion of R&D in China is both inspiring in magnitude and worrisome from a U.S. competitive perspective,” said Marty Grueber, Battelle Research Leader and co-author of the report. “The Chinese are doing everything in their power to grow and develop through an increasing understanding and emphasis on research and technology. Even most of their highest ranking political leaders are engineers.”
Included in the forecast are the following predictions for U.S. R&D in 2011:
- Industry R&D spending in the U.S. will reach $286.9 billion in 2011, a 3 percent increase of $8.4 billion over 2010 levels. At this level, industrial R&D activities will account for 70.8 percent of all R&D performed in the U.S.
- Federally performed R&D is expected to decline by slightly more than $200 million, to $27.5 billion in 2011. Part of this decrease reflects the fact that most intramural American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were spent in 2009 and 2010.
- Research by U.S. academic institutions is forecast to reach $57.5 billion in 2011, an increase of 1.9 percent over 2010.
- While U.S. R&D still dominates worldwide spending, globalization is slowly altering the dominance that the U.S. has maintained for the past 40 years. The economies of China, Korea, India, Russia and Brazil and their investments in R&D are expanding at rates substantially higher than that of the U.S., Japan and Germany. As a result, emerging economies are starting to challenge the technological and discovery capabilities of the historic R&D leaders.
The full report is available online at http://www.battelle.org/aboutus/rd/2011.pdf
and interactive graphics are available at http://www.battelle.org/aboutus/rd/2011_inter.pdf. The presentation to the House R&D Caucus may be viewed at
Paul Fakes handles public policy-related research and development (R&D)
issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
WHITE HOUSE LAUNCHES “STARTUP AMERICA” INITIATIVE
On January 31st, the White House launched “Startup America,” a national initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. This coordinated public/private effort brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, working in concert with a wide range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs.
In launching “Startup America” President Obama said, “’Startup America’ represents a historic partnership with business leaders, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits, and we're urging others to join them in this effort. For entrepreneurs speak to what's best about America, and in their drive and innovative spirit -- in their willingness to take a risk on a bold idea -- we can see the future. We can see how America will compete and win in the 21st century global economy.”
Answering the President’s call to action to invest in job-creating startups, leaders in the private sector will launch the “Startup America Partnership,” an independent and private-sector led campaign to mobilize private sector commitments. Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and Chairman of the Case Foundation, will chair the Partnership, and Carl Schramm, President and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will be a founding board member.
As a part of the White House’s “Startup America” initiative, the administration announced several new initiatives and incentives to encourage the private sector to invest in new startups, including:
- The President’s new budget will propose making permanent the elimination of capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses, which was passed as a temporary provision in 2010 as part of the Small Business Jobs Act the President signed in September.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) will direct $2 billion in existing guarantee authority over the next five years to match private sector investment funding for startups and small firms in underserved communities.
- The Department of Commerce will expand the i6 Challenge to help foster the commercialization of clean technologies, and is finalizing a plan to allow entrepreneurs to request faster review of their patents.
A fact sheet detailing the programs and activities envisioned for “Startup America” may be viewed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/startup-america-fact-sheet
Melissa Carl handles public policy-related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education issues for ASME. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BINGAMAN OUTLINES ENERGY PRIORITIES FOR 112TH CONGRESS
In a speech at the National Press Club last week, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, outlined what he sees as the energy policy priorities for the 112th Congress. He cited both U.S. dependence on overseas energy supplies and global stability and the competitive pressure the U.S. is experiencing from other major world economic powers as spurs to consider energy policies that might reduce those geopolitical risks.
Bingaman proposed that the U.S. needs to do four things – four elements that should be at the core of whatever comprehensive energy legislation is undertaken by the 112th Congress – to assure that the U.S. “remains at or near the forefront of” the clean energy market:
- Ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront of energy research and development, since innovation is the source of the nation’s greatest competitive strength;
- Ensure that there is a strong domestic market for clean energy technologies without which there will be no incentive to manufacture and deploy those technologies in the U.S.;
- Ensure there are the necessary financial infrastructure and the incentives to provide the capital needed to build advanced energy technology projects; and,
- Enact explicit policies to promote the development of U.S. manufacturing capabilities for clean energy technologies.
With regard to energy research and development, Bingaman noted, “In 2007, United States energy research expenditures were at about 0.3 percent of GDP. Japan was at about 0.8 percent of GDP and even China was about 0.4 percent. Since then, our overseas competitors have significantly increased their research investments in energy, while our own investments in this area have grown only modestly. It is clear that if we are to put together any kind of bill that deserves to be labeled as comprehensive energy legislation, we need to address the huge gap between where our investment in energy technology research is and where in fact it ought to be.”
He went on to describe some of the specific policy initiatives he plans to pursue in the Senate this year, including:
- Energy efficiency legislation including the updating of certain existing appliance standards, adoption of new appliance standards, and improving the overall functioning of the Department of Energy’s efficiency standards program;
- A Renewable Electricity Standard including a broad suite of technologies, e.g., nuclear energy, coal with carbon capture and storage and natural gas generation;
- Financial assistance for energy projects including reforming the current loan guarantee program for clean energy projects, providing financing support for advanced energy manufacturing in the U.S., and providing reasonable stability and predictability in the tax provisions that apply to clean energy projects and technologies; and,
- Adequate mechanisms to protect the nation’s electrical grid from cyber attack.
Senator Bingaman’s entire speech may be read at: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=826b48df-ec31-4739-9af6-9ba3536ce08f&Month=1&Year=2011&Party=0
Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
PRESIDENT SIGNS BILL EXTENDING SBIR FUNDING THROUGH MAY 2011
President Obama signed H.R. 366, a bill providing for “an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958,” to continue funding for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program through May 31, 2011. Had he not signed the bill, funding for the program would have ended on January 31st.
Upon hearing that the President had signed the measure, House Small Business Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-MO) issued this statement: “I’m pleased that we have taken the first step toward providing entrepreneurs with some much-needed certainty by passing legislation to temporarily extend the SBIR program and other SBA programs. I am now eager to get to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure a more permanent solution is signed into law.”
SBIR is a competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from their commercialization. Since its enactment in 1982 as part of the Small Business Innovation Development Act, SBIR has helped thousands of small businesses to compete for federal research and development awards to enhance the nation’s defense, protect the environment, advance health care and improve the nation’s ability to manage information and manipulate data.
To participate in the SBIR program, small businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria, including:
- American-owned and independently operated;
- Principal researcher employed by the business; and,
- Company size limited to 500 employees.
For additional information on SBIR, go to http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-innovation-research-program-sbir-0
Paul Fakes handles public policy-related SBIR issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORT: GOAL OF ONE MILLION PLUG-IN VEHICLES UNLIKELY BY 2015
A recent report issued by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University has concluded that the Administration’s goal of having one million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on the road by 2015 is unlikely to be achieved. According to “Plug-in Electric Vehicles: A Practical Plan for Progress,” the “production intentions of automakers are currently insufficient to meet the 2015 goal.”
The report examined public policies toward PEVs, taking into account the promise and limitations of PEVs, recent improvements in battery technology, market dynamics, and the proliferation of policies around the world that promote the use of PEVs. It identified four market factors, each of which could be influenced by public policy, which present the greatest potential for altering the competitive position of PEVs in the vehicle market:
- Energy prices;
- Battery characteristics (safety, reliability and production costs);
- Availability of convenient and affordable recharging infrastructure; and,
- Pace of progress with PEVs compared to competing technologies, e.g., refinements to the internal combustion engine, conventional hybrids, advanced biofuels, natural gas vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
Among the report’s recommendations are the following:
- Policymakers should generally pursue energy security and environmental goals through technology-neutral policies, thereby allowing the marketplace for fuels and vehicles to determine which technologies are superior.
- A federally supported, national PEV demonstration program should be implemented to help overcome the information barriers faced by the PEV industry today.
- The U.S. automotive, battery, and electric power industries, in collaboration with the U.S. government and universities, should seek to establish a global leadership position in electric mobility, especially in advanced energy storage technologies and production of batteries and related components.
- Sustained investment in R&D, including both public and private funds, is crucial as the United States seeks to establish a leadership position in the growing global market for advanced battery technologies and related components.
To read the 822-page report, go to http://www.indiana.edu/~spea/pubs/TEP_combined.pdf
Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
THE ARTICLES CONTAINED IN CAPITOL UPDATE ARE NOT POSITIONS OF ASME OR ANY OF ITS SUB-ENTITIES, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY NOTED AS SUCH. THIS PUBLICATION IS DESIGNED TO INFORM ASME MEMBERS ABOUT ISSUES OF CONCERN BEING DEBATED AND DISCUSSED IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, IN THE STATES, AND IN THE FEDERAL AGENCIES.
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