In this issue:
NEW DSB TASK FORCE TO ASSESS DOD’S BASIC RESEARCH PROGRAM
In a memorandum to the Defense Science Board (DSB), Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter directed that it establish a Task Force on Basic Research to assess matters relating to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) planning and management of the defense basic research program. In part, the letter reads as follows:
“It is the responsibility of the DOD Science & Technology community to be the innovators and motivators of new technologies for the Nation’s future defense. Creating next-generation military capabilities and avoiding technological surprise requires a strong foundation of basic scientific research that is appropriately broad and forward-looking, of the highest quality, and with the potential to seed high-payoff transformative scientific breakthroughs. The Task Force on Basic Research will serve as a mechanism for external validation of the quality of the basic research program and for advice on long term research plans and strategies for the corporate-wide defense basic research portfolio.”
The memorandum directs the Task Force to provide strategic guidance on DOD basic research efforts by assessing:
- The appropriateness of broad scientific goals as a basic research program, specifically whether the 6.1 funded work is basic or applied research in character;
- The manner in which the components assess the quality of their basic research investments;
- Basic research portfolio management across DOD, and opportunities for increased information sharing and cooperation among the components and with other federal research agencies;
- Potential gaps in the current DOD-wide basic research program;
- Overall program balance, including a balance between single-principal investigators, Multi-University Research Initiatives, university-based centers and high-risk, high-payoff versus lower risk research; and,
- Intellectual competitiveness of intramural and extramural basic research programs.
To review the memo in its entirety, please visit: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/tors/TOR-2010-08-02-Basic_Research.pdf
Paul Fakes covers public policy-related defense issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
S&T CHAIR RESPONDS TO NOBEL LAUREATE LETTER ON NASA’S FUTURE
House Science and Technology Committee (S&T) Chair Bart Gordon (D-TN) has formally responded to the August 31st letter from a group of 30 Nobel Laureates and former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials expressing concern over the S&T Committee’s NASA reauthorization bill. In that letter, the signatories called on the Congress and the White House to “revitalize NASA’s investments in technology, commercial spaceflight, student research and robotic exploration precursors.”
The letter continues, “NASA has long been a critical component of American economic competitiveness, inspiring young people to enter careers in science and engineering, ensuring American leadership in human spaceflight, and driving cutting-edge research. However, we have watched with concern in recent years as NASA's programs for advanced technology, commercial spaceflight, student research, and robotic exploration have been scaled back or postponed. The data are sobering: since 2005, NASA's technology program has been cut by more than 50 percent; robotic exploration precursor missions were eliminated; NASA was unable to fund commercial systems for carrying crew to the International Space Station despite a pressing need to avoid extended reliance on the Russian Soyuz; and NASA-sponsored university research was sharply curtailed.”
The entire letter, including the list of signatories, is available at: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=34830
In his response, Chairman Gordon observed that “for far too long, I have been concerned that NASA has been given too many missions and too few dollars to fulfill them. The result has either been too much money wasted on either unfocused, unexecutable programs or funding shortages for critical missions. NASA is at a crossroads. To ensure the continued success of the world’s most accomplished space program, we must develop a path forward that is balanced, sustainable, mission-driven and executable. I believe the bipartisan bill developed by our Committee is a common-sense and balanced solution to a complicated situation that will help avoid future instability for the agency.”
Chairman Gordon’s response goes on to note that the S&T Committee’s bill: provides more than $2.6 billion for space technology development over the three-year life of the bill; allocates more than 42.5 billion for U.S. commercial cargo and crew activities over the three-year life of the bill; and, funds NASA’s science program at a level higher than was proposed in the President’s budget request.
To read Chairman Gordon’s letter in its entirety, go to: http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/file/AdminLetters/Hubbard%20Letter.pdf
Paul Fakes covers public policy-related NASA issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com
DOE NATIONAL LABORATORY RELEASES ANNUAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS REPORT
Energy research and technology development achievements, including advances in clean fossil-based systems with carbon capture and storage (CCS), are highlighted in the just-released National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) 2009 Accomplishments report.
The report, which details research and development (R&D) projects and activities by the laboratory and its partners, also tells the story of the laboratory’s research over the past century, in commemoration of NETL’s 100th anniversary. In addition to coal and CCS-related research, the report notes R&D progress in developing “domestic resources,” such as methane hydrates, and “enhancing the efficiency, reliability and economics of renewable, wind, solar, and biomass-based systems.”
NETL is the research arm of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy. The 2009 report is organized by the laboratory’s major research areas - advanced power systems, clean energy, and reliable supply - and provides insight into the direction in which the energy frontier is moving. The report also features NETL patents received, technologies transferred, articles written, and awards accepted.
The report states, “Rebuilding our nation’s energy infrastructure based on resources with ultralow environmental impact will require decades of technology development and commercialization. NETL is working to help America achieve this complex energy transition. With our scientific, engineering, and administrative talent, we continue to implement the partnerships and manage the programs that can accomplish the mission of providing affordable, reliable, and environmentally safe energy for the 21st century.”
To review the 90-page report, please visit: http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/others/accomp_rpt/accomp09.pdf
Robert Rains covers public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NCSL ISSUES NEW ENERGY POLICY GUIDE FOR STATE POLICYMAKERS
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Task Force on Energy Supply recently developed and released “Meeting the Energy Challenges of the Future: A Guide for Policymakers,” a publication containing principles that state legislators could employ as they consider how to meet the future energy needs of their respective states.
This report provides an analysis of various fuel sources, energy efficiency, development and issues facing the current energy delivery infrastructure, including transmission. Some highlights include:
- A look at what new energy supplies will be needed in the next 20 years and the various options available to meet new demand for electricity;
- A review of how the nation’s electricity production and supply systems function and the role of state, local, utility and federal policy in regulation;
- An exploration of various energy resource impacts on the environment and the influence of climate change policies on planning for the future; and,
- A summary of policy options available to state legislators to address a broad array of energy issues, including transmission, cleaner coal technologies, renewable energy, natural gas, energy efficiency and nuclear energy.
One important challenge the report found is that there is no “one-size fits all” approach that will work for every state. Given the current financial constraints, each state or region will have to make decisions that make economic sense for their constituents. The report also found that meeting future energy needs lies not just in one source or technology, but in the combination of many technologies and resources, which are likely to include energy efficiency, natural gas, cleaner coal technologies, nuclear energy, smart grid technologies and renewable energy. Since the difference in resources and costs can vary dramatically among states, the choice of technologies and policies may also vary. The costs, benefits and challenges of all the different resources and technologies are discussed in detail within this report.
To review “Meeting the Energy Challenges of the Future: A Guide for Policymakers,” please visit: http://www.ncsl.org/documents/energy/FutureEnergyChallenges0710.pdf
Robert Rains covers public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: email@example.com**
MEP AWARDS GRANT TO SUPPORT GREEN BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES
The National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has awarded a grant of $1.5 million over three years to the Delaware Valley Industrial Resources Center (DVIRC) and the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NJMEP), the MEP affiliate centers in Philadelphia and New Jersey, to encourage expanded manufacturing of energy-efficient building technologies. The grant complements a larger U.S. Department of Energy project announced on August 24, 2010, that provides up to $122 million to the Pennsylvania State University for an Energy Innovation Hub. To be located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Clean Energy campus, the Hub will focus on developing energy-efficient building designs that will save energy, cut pollution, and position the United States as a leader in this industry.
“Expanding the capabilities of U.S. manufacturers to respond to the market opportunities resulting from the development of new energy-efficient building technologies is key to ensuring the linkage between R&D and commercial application,” says Roger Kilmer, director of the NIST MEP. According to MEP, this project represents the first time that federal, state, and local public and private resources will be pooled to create a formal applied research/manufacturing cluster that spans from the lab bench through production to implementation.
DVIRC and NJMEP’s role will be to connect manufacturers, specifically small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs), to the project at all levels, including research and development (R&D), design and testing of new products, materials, technologies, and systems, and commercializing those opportunities for business growth and job creation. The Energy Innovation Hub will pursue a research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program targeting technologies for single buildings and district-wide systems. These new building systems and components will need to be manufactured, presenting a unique opportunity for businesses in the area to get in on the ground floor.
The DVIRC and the NJME will leverage their knowledge of and relationships with regional companies to identify technologies, such as sensors, new building materials, and computer simulation tools developed by the Energy Innovation Hub, and translate them into components they can license, develop and manufacture.
For additional information, please visit: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/tech-beat/index.cfm#mep
Robert Rains covers public policy-related energy issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NSF ISSUES CALL FOR NOMINATIONS FOR 2011 ALAN T. WATERMAN AWARD
The Alan T. Waterman Award is the highest honor awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Since 1975, when Congress established the award to honor the agency’s first director, the annual award has been bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated exceptional individual achievement in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality to place them at the forefront of their peers.
The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $500,000 over a three year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social or other sciences at the institution of the recipient’s choice.
Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, 35 years of age or younger, or not more than seven years beyond receipt of their Ph.D. degree by December 31 of the year in which they are nominated. Nominations will be accepted through October 30, 2010. To nominate a candidate, go to:
Additional information on the award and past recipients is available at: www.nsf.gov/od/waterman/waterman.jsp
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.