August 5, 2016 Capitol Update

In this issue:

ASME Sponsors Congressional Briefing, “Advanced Biosciences for Manufacturing: Driving Solution in Energy, Health, and the Environment”

ASME recently held a Congressional briefing on “Advanced Biosciences for Manufacturing: Driving Solution in Energy, Health, and the Environment”. The briefing focused on how advances in biosciences can improve the nation’s biomanufacturing competitiveness and address grand scientific challenges for energy, the environment, human health and agriculture, and was attended by over 100 Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, Agency Officials, and thought leaders.

The event was convened in conjunction with the House Manufacturing Caucus as part of a series of manufacturing briefings being held throughout the year. Bob Sims, Past President of ASME, welcomed the audience and acknowledged the Co-Chairs of the Manufacturing Caucus, Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Tom Reed (R-NY) and introduced a distinguished panel of speakers from the bioscience and biotechnology industry. Speakers included:

  • Mary Maxon, Principal Deputy, Biosciences Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Steve Evans, Fellow, Dow AgroSciences
  • Rina Singh, Policy Director, Industrial Biotechnology, BIO
  • Malin Young, Chief Research Officer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Anup Singh, Senior Manager of Biological Science and Technology, Sandia National Laboratories

The panelists spoke on how federal investments in the biosciences and manufacturing, particularly at Department of Energy National Labs, support the development of cross-cutting technologies and platform scientific tools that broaden and deepen the United States’ biosciences and bioengineering capabilities. Panelists also spoke about the potential for shared resources and new technologies to drive progress across a wide range of industrial sectors that depend biosciences products like chemical manufactures and derivatives, agricultural products, and other sectors that feed into the manufacturing sector and supply chain.

The briefing was videotaped and footage will be posted on the ASME Public Policy Education Center (PPEC) once it is ready, so please check there soon. Visit for more information.


The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced eight new R&D projects that will receive a total of $11.5 million from DOE’s Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration Crosscut initiative. The new projects are focused on furthering geothermal energy and carbon storage technologies, and will be funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) and the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) Carbon Storage program.

The funds are intended to research opportunities to use rocks beneath the earth’s surface to improve our energy usage. Opportunities include improving creating geothermal energy, storing greenhouse gases, and nuclear waste storage and disposal. The program will also address technical issues that come with utilizing geothermal technology. There will be a focus on demonstrations emphasizing four pillars: Wellbore Integrity, Subsurface Stress and Induced Seismicity, Permeability Manipulation, and New Subsurface Signals. The projects funded fall under two objectives: (1) deploy and validate prototype carbon storage monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) technologies in an operational field environment, and (2) identify and validate new subsurface signals to characterize and image the subsurface, advancing the state of knowledge in geothermal exploration.

To find out more about these projects, visit:


The government is working to address the skills gap faced by manufacturing firms through developing industry-led programs that align workforce development efforts with the needs of specific local industries to unlock a region’s economic prosperity. The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) based in Chicago is leading this effort by mapping job skills around the nexus of manufacturing and design to better develop a workforce for 21st century manufacturing jobs. Working with the Center for Data Science and Public Policy (DSaPP) at the University of Chicago, researchers are working to develop a public database that will contain the “DNA” of every job in America. This information will help industry and academia better prepare students and workers for the jobs that are being left unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers.

In Partnership with ManpowerGroup, DMDII announced a new public-partnership to “define and map the roles and skills required by organizations on the forefront of advanced digital manufacturing.” ManpowerGroup and DMDII will identify the skills needed for 20 roles vital to manufacturing and design to help support workforce development efforts that better align the workers’ skills with the needs of industry.

Through this initiative, DMDII hopes to identify the roles required for digital manufacturing and then create a framework that will help bridge the gap between projected industry demand and the potential supply of digital design and manufacturing talent.

For more information, please visit:


The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently announced a total of $11 million for 16 projects intended to develop innovative, early-stage solutions in both photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP).

Ten of the projects are small-scale research and development (R&D) projects designed to push the limits of PV technologies, potentially advancing the state of the art in new cell and module architectures, efficiency, energy output, service lifetime, and manufacturability. These awardees will be funded under the Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS) program developed to support progress toward lowering the cost of solar electricity to approximately $0.02 to $0.03 per kilowatt-hour by 2030.

The small, early-stage PV projects will receive nearly $2 million to demonstrate the potential for expanded work in novel or emerging areas of PV research. These first-of-their-kind, single-year projects in the SunShot Initiative's PV R&D portfolio are designed to allow researchers to test a concept and, if successful, develop data to support further research. This approach allows researchers to take a year to demonstrate that their ideas merit greater investment in the future.

The other six awardees are CSP R&D projects focused on the most expensive component of a CSP plant, the collectors, and aim to make dramatic performance improvements and cost reductions. The Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs (COLLECTS) program targets a more ambitious cost-to-efficiency metric for CSP collectors than what was set forward in the 2020 SunShot targets. Solar collectors currently account for up to 40 percent of the total plant cost and are the largest capital cost component of a CSP plant. These six CSP awards through SunShot's COLLECTS program total nearly $9 million dedicated to the design and manufacture of lower-cost solar collectors, which could in turn reduce the overall cost of a CSP power plant.

For more information, please visit:


Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced nine additional members selected to join the Defense Innovation Advisory Board. The Defense Innovation Advisory Board was established to build lasting partnerships between the public and private sectors so that the Department can utilize best practices to better identify solutions to the Department’s most challenging problems. The new additions to the Board include Amazon CEO and Chairman Jeff Bezos, Code for America Founder Jennifer Pahlka, and astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Chaired by Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, the board is comprised of 15 innovators, scholars, and leaders of large private and public organizations focused on new technologies and organizational behavior and culture. Secretary Carter has asked the board to identify innovative private-sector practices and technological solutions that the DoD could employ in the future.

The Secretary announced the new members during an event to formally open the new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) office in Boston. DIUx was established by Secretary Carter to strengthen the department’s connections to the American innovation economy and speed technologies into the hands of the warfighter. DIAB member Eric Lander, a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician who currently serves as President and founding director of the  Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was also in attendance for the announcement.

A full list of Defense Innovation Advisory Board Members, can be found at:


The White House recently announced a five-level ranking system for cyberattacks aimed at companies or the government, and it provided guidance on the roles federal agencies should play in responding.

The "presidential policy directive" includes a five-level grading system. This is the first public guidance on specific roles for federal agencies in responding to a major breach, such as those that might disrupt our power gird or banking system. The directive defines a significant cyber incident as one likely to harm national security or economic interests, foreign relations, public confidence, health safety or civil liberties, according to a White House fact sheet. No hack attack so far has hit level five, which is reserved for a threat to infrastructure, government stability, or American lives.

This directive builds off an executive order that was signed in April 2015 that allows for the U.S. to levy economic sanctions directly in response to cyberattacks, though the authority has never been used. The new directive largely codifies existing practices and norms, rather than changing policy.

The Department of Justice, working through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, will be the lead agency for investigating criminal intrusions or those that could affect national security, according to the policy. The Department of Homeland Security will serve as the lead contact in helping companies respond to breaches of their networks. Intelligence agencies will be in charge of gathering information in order to identify who is behind an attack.

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
Washington, DC 20036