August 12, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


Please join ASME Government Relations for our Sept. 15th webinar (1:00pm-2:00pm EST) which will feature two ASME Foundation Swanson Fellows who will provide an update on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Program, the network of manufacturing innovation institutes, the Strategic Plan, institute partnerships, current and future opportunities and highlights of their Fellowships!

Guest Speakers:

  • Lester Su, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and the Chair of the ASME Committee on Government Relations. He was an ASME Congressional Fellow in 2000-2001 and has remained involved with ASME’s policy activities since that time. Lester’s technical interests are in energy systems, fluid mechanics, and combustion, while his policy interests center on federal research funding, STEM education, and workforce development issues.
  • Shreyes Melkote, Ph.D. recently completed his term as a 2015-2016 ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow serving in the Interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. As Assistant Director for Technology at the AMNPO, Dr. Melkote participated in various activities of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Program. Dr. Melkote works at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, where he holds the Morris M. Bryan Jr. Professorship in Mechanical Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing Systems. His teaching and research interests are in manufacturing processes with a focus on precision machining, low-cost sensors for process monitoring, and photovoltaic manufacturing.
  • Dr. Frank Pfefferkorn is a 2015-2016 ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow serving at the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), which is housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD. He is the point of contact in AMNPO for the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Subcommittee on Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) and MForesight: the Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, which is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NIST. Dr. Pfefferkorn is also the main point of contact for the project to craft a new identity for the NNMI Program and helped craft the messaging for the program’s participating in the Hannover Messe 2016 and IMTS 2016 in Chicago, IL.  He also helped AMNPO draft two Congressionally mandated reports: the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Program Annual Report and NNMI Program Strategic Plan.  Dr. Pfefferkorn is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when he is not serving in the AMNPO.

The NNMI is the U.S. Federal Government program for coordinating public and private investments to improve the competitiveness and productivity of U.S. manufacturing through the creation of a robust network of manufacturing innovation institutes, each focused on a specific and promising advanced manufacturing technology area. The NNMI Program advances American manufacturing innovation by creating an effective research and development, technology transition, workforce training and education outreach infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia to solve industry-relevant manufacturing problems. The vision of the NNMI Program is a network of institutes that bring U.S. industry, academia, and government together to solve pre-competitive cross-sector manufacturing challenges that an individual entity cannot solve alone. Currently, there are nine manufacturing innovation institutes. These nine institutes are, in chronological order:

  • America Makes: The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (additive manufacturing/3D printing), August 2012.
  • DMDII: Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (digital manufacturing and design), February 2014.
  • LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (lightweight metals manufacturing), February 2014.
  • PowerAmerica: The Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (wide bandgap power electronics manufacturing), December 2014.
  • IACMI: Institute of Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (fiber-reinforced polymer composites), June 2015.
  • AIM Photonics: American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (integrated photonics manufacturing), July 2015.
  • NextFlex: America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (thin flexible electronic devices and sensors), August 2015.
  • AFFOA: Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (advanced fibers and textiles), April 2016.
  • Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing: Advanced Sensors, Controls, Platforms and Modeling for Manufacturing (selection announced June 2016)

The institutes, each led by manufacturing experts renowned in their field, have attracted nearly 1,000 companies, universities and nonprofits as members. The federal government’s commitment of more than $600 million to the nine institutes has been matched by more than $1.2 billion in non-federal resources from across industry, academia and state governments.  In addition to the institutes listed above, five competitions are running to create manufacturing hubs, with a national impact, in the areas of robotics for manufacturing, biofabrication of cells and tissues, chemical process intensification, revolutionizing the ways materials can be reused and recycled, and the first open topic competition in which the proposing team picks the focus of a new institute.  Nearly $800 million in combined federal and non-federal resources will be invested in these institutes to support the development and dissemination of transformative manufacturing technologies. These new institutes will be sponsored by the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Energy (DOE).   Throughout its growth, the network will continue to be guided by both its public and private members, and the federal agencies with interests in manufacturing, including the DOE, the DoD, the DOC, the Department of Education (DOEd), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  While significant progress has been made, the grand challenge for the US to achieve global leadership is to establish 45 institutes over the next decade.

ASME Members and Non-Members can register online at:

Additional information will be posted on the PPEC at


The Department of Energy (DOE) just announced $30 million expansion of the U.S.–India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research. This announcement builds on the strong international partnerships between the two nations aimed at accelerating grid modernization, research and deployment, the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. The new Funding Opportunity Announcement is specifically for joint research on smart grid and energy storage under the U.S.–India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R).

The DOE and the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) are each committing $1.5 million per year for five years to the expanded research effort, subject to congressional appropriations. The United States and Indian private sectors will match the respective government commitments, resulting in a combined $30 million public-private research investment over the next five years. 

“Smart grid and storage technology will transform how we produce and consume electricity, which has the potential to decrease carbon pollution by scaling up renewable energy deployment,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “Working collaboratively with India will accelerate solutions to drive down technology costs and improve grid resilience and reliability in both countries.”

In 2009, the United States and India launched the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) to support research and deployment of clean energy technologies. PACE is the core mechanism of bilateral energy R&D collaboration between the U.S. and India. Since its launch, the countries have agreed to expand the initiative, which has three main areas of activity: Research (PACE-R), Deployment (PACE-D) and Access (PEACE).

In 2012, DOE and MST committed to jointly funding PACE-R with a combined $50 million in government funding over five years to launch three initial research consortia, focusing on solar energy, energy efficiency in buildings, and next-generation biofuels. Today’s new FOA provides resources for a fourth consortium under PACE-R that will focus on smart grid and energy storage for grid applications. The new consortium will enable counterparts in the United States and India to leverage the technological research capabilities of both countries. The new consortium will be officially established when an award selection is made – anticipated in 2017. For more information about PACE-R visit


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced new steps to promote safety as unmanned flight systems continue to develop. According to a statement released by the White House, in the next decade the commercial drone industry is projected to generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and, by 2025, could support as many as 100,000 new jobs.

In announcing a publicly and privately supported plan, the Obama administration hopes to encourage the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the highly-complex network that comprises the National Airspace System, including: air navigation and air traffic control facilities, airports, technology, and the appropriate rules and regulations.

These new guidelines build on the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) rule, the first rule to provide national guidelines for the operation of non-recreational unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds.

As part of this new initiative, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will receive $35 million in research funding over the next five years to accelerate the understanding of how to intelligently and effectively design, control, and apply UAS to benefit the U.S. through activities such as monitoring physical infrastructure and agriculture, usage in disaster response and the study of severe storms, and more.

Additionally, the announcement by the White House will support a $5 million dollar down payment in the state of New York to support the growth of the emerging unmanned aircraft systems industry.

For additional information on what these changes mean for the UAS industry, please visit:


Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bill that would authorize a multibillion-dollar increase in energy research funding while eliminating the wind production tax credit.

S.3169, a bill to support basic energy research and eliminate the wind production tax credit, would authorize new funding for Department of Energy Office of Science programs, using the longstanding wind production tax credit (PTC) as a pay-for. The PTCS is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2019, with a gradual phase down each year. However, Senator Alexander’s new bill would eliminate the credit at the beginning of 2017, freeing up $8.1 billion in over the next ten years.

Senator Alexander, who sits on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, has record of supporting energy R&D and opposing the PTC, due to the limitations wind provides as a power source. Instead, his new bill would invest in “mature” clean energy technology, such as expanding nuclear energy’s role in the nation’s energy.

To read the text of the bill, please visit:


With all 12 appropriations bills drafted, we can better understand the prospects of science funding in FY17. The numbers coming out of Congress are, as expected, very different from the numbers in the President’s Budget released back in February.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expected to receive the most robust funding increase, but most other science agencies are expected to only see modest increases or even cuts. These include: the Department of Defense basic research account, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research line office, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Despite these cuts, however, science is still considered to have come out on top in FY17. As overall, science agencies will received a modest increase, while many other non-science related activities will be held flat or receive overall cuts.

Despite the Congress having drafted all 12 appropriations bills, there is still a very good chance of another CR taking effect that would allow Congress to put off appropriating funds until 2017, after the election. Currently, we are working under a CR that is set to expire on September 30. Lawmakers have a short window when they come back from August recess to compromise on a solution before October 1.

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
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