In this issue:
ADVANCE YOUR CAREER AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! APPLY FOR AN ASME FEDERAL
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. Federal employees are not eligible.
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,
For additional information visit ASME
Federal Government Fellowship Program or contact Kathryn Holmes, Director,
ASME Government Relations, at email@example.com
DEFICIT COMMISSION MENTIONS R&D FUNDING, NASA COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT
IN DRAFT PROPOSAL
This week, the Co-Chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released a long anticipated draft proposal of recommendations, and suggestions, that the federal government could implement to reduce the growing federal deficit. The commission was formed in February, shortly after the federal government released figures that indicated that the budget deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2009 was $1.42 trillion. Although the report is not binding, meaning the suggestions contained in it do not have to be enacted into law, it is expected to catalyze a serious discussion among lawmakers about the nation's fiscal future. The final report will not be issued until December 1st.
Although the report states that the nation needs to "invest in education, infrastructure, and high value R&D," and also calls for the establishment of a "bipartisan Cut and Invest Committee to de-authorize outdated, low-priority, and inefficient programs and recommend high priority long-term investments," it does target some NASA and Department of Defense research programs for reduction or elimination. Specifically, the proposal recommends reducing the Defense Department's Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation budget by ten percent, as well as eliminating funding for commercial spaceflight at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The estimated savings would yield, according to the report, $7 billion and $1.2 billion respectively by 2015.
The bipartisan Commission is co-chaired by former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff for President Clinton, and its final report must have the approval of fourteen of the eighteen commission members.
The Task Force on American Innovation, a coalition of which ASME is an active participant, recently sent a letter to the Commission related to funding for science and engineering. In the letter, the task force said, "our government, even as it takes necessary steps to reduce deficits, must continue to make investments that will strengthen our economic competitiveness by spurring scientific advancement and improving the quality of our technological workforce. Specifically, our government must provide robust support for basic research, particularly in the physical sciences and engineering, and for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education."
A copy of the letter can be reviewed in the ASME
To review this fifty-page draft proposal, please visit: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/CoChair_Draft.pdf
The twenty-four page supplementary document, "200 Billion in Illustrative Savings," is also available at: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/Illustrative_List_11.10.2010.pdf
Paul Fakes covers public policy-related research and development (R&D)
issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
AAAS ANALYSIS: REDUCED FEDERAL SPENDING COULD AFFECT U.S. R&D
A post-midterm election analysis conducted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) suggests the anticipated reduction in federal spending "could have a significant impact on federal R&D investment," according to Patrick Clemins, Director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program. Leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties agree that reining in the deficit must now be a priority, and efforts to trim government spending are likely to encompass federal R&D financing.
The Obama Administration, through recent Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memos, has already directed non-security agencies to submit FY 2012 budget proposals that total five percent less than the FY 2012 budget estimates in their FY 2011 budget submissions. The 2010 Republican Agenda," A Pledge to America," (http://pledge.gop.gov/) proposes cutting government discretionary nonmilitary spending to FY 2008 levels.
"If government spending is trimmed back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels for 2011," Clemins said, "federal R&D funding would drop by $8.1 billion, or 5.5 percent, compared with 2010 and by $8.5 billion (5.7 percent) compared with the President's 2011 request, assuming 2008 R&D funding levels. The hardest-hit agencies would be those that were authorized in the America COMPETES Act and have seen strong increases since the Act was passed in 2007," said Clemins. "These agencies include the National Science Foundation (-11.1 percent in R&D from FY 2010), the Department of Energy's Office of Science (-14.8 percent in R&D from FY 2010), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (-14.1percent in R&D from FY 2010)."
The analysis concludes with these observations: "It is clear that both parties intend to reduce overall federal spending, but there is disagreement as to when those cuts will occur and to what extent. The Administration wants to wait until the FY 2012 fiscal year to implement the budget cuts so as to not interrupt the current economic recovery, while the House Republicans would like to see those budget cutbacks in the FY 2011 budget. Senate Republicans have announced they are working with their Democratic colleagues on a FY 2011 omnibus appropriations bill for consideration in the lame duck session with a much smaller spending cut ($28 billion less than the President's request) than suggested by their House counterparts. It will be up to the legislative process to determine what exactly will happen, but with Senate Republican support and a Democratic majority in the House for the lame duck session, an omnibus spending bill during the lame duck session looks most likely at this point."
For more information about this analysis entitled, "Post-Election Outlook on Federal R&D Funding," please visit: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/1105post_election.shtml
Paul Fakes covers public policy-related research and development (R&D)
issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
IEA's "WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2010" PREDICTS RISE IN ENERGY DEMAND
Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its "World Energy Outlook 2010" (WEO). The WEO-2010 provides updated projections of energy demand, production, trade and investment, fuel by fuel and region by region to 2035. It includes, for the first time, a new scenario that anticipates future actions by governments to meet the commitments they have made to tackle climate change and growing energy insecurity. "The energy world is facing unprecedented uncertainty", said Nobuo Tanaka, IEA Executive Director. "WEO-2010 demonstrates that it is what governments do, and how that action affects technology, the price of energy services and end-user behavior, that will shape the future of energy in the longer term. We need to use energy more efficiently, and we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels by adopting technologies that leave a much smaller carbon footprint."
The WEO-2010's New Policies Scenario takes account of the broad policy commitments and plans that have been announced by countries around the world. Assuming that the countries will actually implement the policies and measures to meet the goals to which they have committed, the report predicts the following:
- World primary energy demand will increase by 36 percent between 2008 and 2035, a 1.2 percent per year increase on average;
- Non-OECD countries will account for 93 percent of the projected increase in world energy demand;
- China will contribute 36 percent to the projected growth in global energy use;
- Fossil fuels will remain dominant, although their share of the overall energy mix decreases as renewable energy sources and nuclear power increase their respective shares;
- By 2035, oil remains the leading fuel, followed by coal; and,
- Renewable energy can play a central role in reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and diversifying energy supplies only if strong and sustained support is made available.
Detailed information on WEO-2010, including a video of the release of the publication, is available at http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/
Robert Rains covers public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNESCO REPORT: ENGINEER SHORTAGE HAMPERING DEVELOPMENT
In a new report on global engineering and development, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) finds a shortage of engineers in developing countries and a lack of interest in engineering careers from young people, especially women, is impeding development. This lack of engineers most greatly affects the world's poorest countries. The report found that on average, developing countries have only five engineers per 10,000 of the population, with some African countries having less than one in 10,000.
"Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development" says that engineering is essential to raise the standard of living in these developing countries and create opportunities for sustainable prosperity, and calls for creative engineering solutions to face the world's biggest challenges, ranging from poverty to climate change. To generate more interest and enrollment, the report says the field of engineering must innovate and transform itself. Tony Marjoram, the Report's editor, says, "Engineering needs to promote itself as relevant to solving contemporary problems, to become more socially responsible and to link to ethical issues related to development. This will also help attract young people."
The report marks the first effort from UNESCO and several other international organizations to examine engineering and international development issues. While the report found that public and policy awareness of engineering should be a key driver of innovation and social and economic development, it is routinely overlooked in many countries.
To review this 392-page report, please visit: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001897/189753e.pdf
Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) education issues for ASME. She can be reached
NSF LAUNCHES "INNOVATION NATION"
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched "Innovation Nation," a 26-part video series that takes a quick look at what happens when genius meets possibility. The program is hosted by veteran science and technology correspondent Miles O'Brien and is produced by CBS News Productions, in partnership with NSF and Discovery Science.
Currently airing nationally on the Science Channel, each episode is one minute and airs within various Science Channel programs throughout the week. In addition to the Science Channel, Innovation Nation can be found on NSF's science and engineering multimedia portal, Science360 (http://www.science360.gov/files/). Upcoming shows include:
- Clothing Power: A power walk in this clothing charges your cell phone;
- Mushroom Packaging: This eco-alchemy could end up replacing Styrofoam; and,
- Wheelchair Robot: This wheel chair of the future is armed.
To view the video of the first Innovation Nation episode, please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_videos.jsp?org=OLPA&cntn_id=117861&media_id=68705
Paul Fakes covers public policy-related research and development (R&D) 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.
EDITOR: Mary James Legatski, ASME Government Relations, 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 906, Washington, DC 20036-5104.