February 10, 2017
Capitol Update

In this issue:


NEW CRS REPORT EXPLORES THE ENERGY WATER NEXUS

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides periodic written reports to Congress on topics of interest to the members. A newly released CRS report explores the energy water nexus of how water is an essential element in the production of energy from mining to power plant cooling. Additionally, there is a growing recognition that “saving water saves energy.” Energy efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering water savings, and vice versa, initiatives impacting water efficiency provide opportunities for delivering energy savings. Additionally, saving water reduces carbon emissions by reducing the energy needed to move and treat water. An example is California, where up to 19% of the state’s electricity consumption is for pumping, treating, collecting, and discharging water and wastewater

This CRS report explores topics for future research to understand water-related energy use including studies of energy demands for water at local, regional, and national scales; development of consistent data collection methodology to track water and energy data across all sectors; development and implementation of advanced technologies that save energy and water; and analysis of incentives, disincentives, and lack of incentives to investing in cost-effective energy.

To review the full report, please visit: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43200.pdf


NIST AWARDS $12M TO MEP CENTERS

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program has awarded a total of nearly $12M in first-year funding to 11 organizations that will operate MEP centers in several states. These MEP centers support small-and medium-size manufacturers and are dedicated to enhancing the productivity and technological performance of U.S. manufacturing. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

“During the past three years, MEP conducted a system-wide competition to determine appropriate funding levels for all of our centers that reflect manufacturing density in their respective regions,” explained NIST Associate Director for Industry and Innovation Services Phil Singerman.

Additionally, MEP has awarded four organizations a total of nearly $5M to pilot new projects that will place staff from MEP centers at four institutes within the Manufacturing USA network with the goal of establishing enduring collaborations among small U.S. manufacturers, the institutes and MEP centers. 

For more information, go to: https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2017/01/nist-awards-12-million-mep-centers-11-states


NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL REPORT ASSESSES FORCES AND CHOICES TO ASSIST U.S. LEADERSHIP

Prior to the end of the Obama administration, the National Intelligence Council published an unclassified strategic assessment of how key trends and uncertainties might shape the world over the next 20 years to assist the incoming U.S. leaders under the Trump Administration to think and plan for the longer term.

It is critical to use long-term thinking to create a strategy and to understand which issues and choices will be most consequential in the decades ahead. This report is meant to reach broad audiences and to allow for dialogue on global trends that are converging at an unprecedented pace making governing and cooperation more difficult.

Key global trends through 2015 were the following:

  • The rich are aging, the poor are not.
  • The global economy is shifting.
  • Technology is accelerating progress but causing discontinuities.
  • Ideas and identities are driving a wave of exclusion.
  • Governing is getting harder.
  • The nature of conflict is changing.
  • Climate change, environment, and health issues will demand attention.

The full report is available at: https://www.dni.gov/index.php/global-trends/trends-transforming-the-global-landscape


NAE PROJECT: BUILDING THE FUTURE OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION

Professional engineering societies have an important role to play in building the capacity of the engineering profession. Supporting  admittance into the profession, providing continuous learning opportunities; establishing standards, and bridging the employer and engineering workforce divide are just some of the areas that ASME has focused on during its long history.

The National Academy of Engineering has begun a 24 month project that will gather extensive data through outreach efforts, workshops, regional stakeholder meetings, and other activities. At the conclusion, NAE will produce a report that provides information on the extent and nature of engineering societies’ past and current efforts to improve undergraduate engineering education and show the impact of these efforts.

There were a series of lightening presentations that allowed professional societies to highlight current and past activities. Each presentation was two minutes with follow-on questions and comments allowed during breakouts sessions where a deeper dive took place. ASME was an active participant, and gave lightening presentations on the following topics:

  • ASME Industry Standards Infusion in all four years of ME/MET degree programs
  • ASME: TECAID – Transforming Engineering Cultures to Advance Inclusion and Diversity
  • ASME Vision 2030 Advocacy for Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ASME Graduate Teaching Fellowships

A video will be made available in the coming weeks for those who could not attend.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, please visit: https://www.nae.edu/Projects/126089/163917.aspx


NCSES REPORT ON WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING RELEASED

The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) announced the release of the 2017 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (WMPD) report, a comprehensive look at the participation of these three demographic groups in science and engineering education and employment.

The report shows the degree to which women, people with disabilities and minorities from three racial and ethnic groups -- black, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native -- are underrepresented in science and engineering (S&E). It also conducts an analysis of five topic areas: enrollment, field of degree, occupation, employment status and early career doctorate holders.

Some of the findings were that women have reached parity with men in educational attainment but not in S&E employment; at all higher educational level’s underrepresented minority women earn a higher proportion of degrees than their male counterparts; and white men constitute about one-third of the overall U.S. population but half of the S&E workforce. Blacks, Hispanics and people with disabilities are underrepresented in the S&E workforce.

For more information about the report, please visit:
https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=190946


NIST UPDATES SEPARATION METHOD TO CLEAN NANOPARTICLES FROM ORGANISMS

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have performed the cleanest separation to date of synthetic nanoparticles from a living organism. The new NIST method is expected to improve experiments looking at the potential environmental and health impacts of these manufactured entities by allowing scientists to more accurately count how many nanoparticles have actually been ingested by organisms.

NIST used a 65-year-old lab technique, the sucrose density gradient centrifugation technique, to separate cellular components in the common roundworm to see how biological and chemical compounds may affect multicellular organisms by looking at the amount of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) ingested and none of the ENPs attached to the exoskeleton of the worm.

Additional information can be found at: https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2017/01/nist-updates-sweet-1950s-separation-method-clean-nanoparticles-organisms

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

*Five big data trends that will shape AI in 2017
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/5-big-data-trends-that-will-shape-ai-in-2017-2/
*3D Printing is a Powerful Tool for STEM Education
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/3d-printing-is-a-powerful-tool-for-steam-education-2/
*America’s First Clean Coal Plant is Now Operational and Another is On the Way
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/americas-first-clean-coal-plant-is-now-operational-and-another-is-on-the-way/
*China’s Nuclear Power Capacity Set to Overtake the U.S. Within a Decade
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/chinas-nuclear-power-capacity-set-to-overtake-u-s-within-decade/

ASME Government Relations
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Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations