February 26, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


On Friday, February 19, the Obama Administration released the 2015 National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Annual Report and Strategic Plan. The reports were released one week after ASME hosted a Congressional Briefing entitled, “Advanced Manufacturing: Gaining the Advantage in a Fiercely Competitive Global Economy.” The briefing was convened in conjunction with the House Manufacturing Caucus and was cosponsored by a number of organizations. A summary of the event can be found at: http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/asme-sponsored-a-congressional-briefing-on-advanced-manufacturing/.
The NNMI Annual Report provides an overview of the early progress of the NNMI Program in the first year since the passage of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act of 2014. The report looks at the seven standing institutes, calling attention to technological advancements, workforce development contributions, innovation ecosystem developments, application of advances, projects underway, and sustainability of each institute.
In addition to the Annual Report is the Strategic Plan. As the document states, “The strategic plan describes the vision and goals that support the program’s purposes as first articulated by the President and then enacted into law. Informed by feedback and recommendations from a broad array of stakeholders, this strategic plan represents the consensus of the participating agencies and industry leaders regarding the goals that should be pursued for at least the next three years to achieve the NNMI Program’s purposes. The plan identifies the methods by which these goals will be achieved and the metrics by which the program will be assessed.”
Both the Annual Report and Strategic Plan are available on the ASME Public Policy Education Center (PPEC), along with additional information on NNMI, through the following links:


Nominations are now being accepted for four prestigious Society honors: the ASME Medal, Honorary Membership, the Holley Medal and the Henry Hess Award. March 1 is the deadline to submit nominations for the awards, which will be presented at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in November.
The ASME Medal, which was established in 1920, is the highest award that the Society can bestow. The medal recognizes eminently distinguished engineering achievement. The winner will receive a $15,000 honorarium, a gold medal, a certificate and an expense supplement to attend the award presentation. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/1FuZCgn.

ASME Honorary Membership, which is the highest level of membership in the Society, recognizes distinctive contributions to engineering, science, industry, research, public service, or other pursuits allied with and beneficial to the engineering profession. The recipient will receive a silver medal, a certificate, a lapel pin and an expense supplement to attend the award presentation. For more information on ASME Honorary Membership, visit: http://bit.ly/185UrIO.

Established in 1924 to honor ASME charter member Alexander Lyman Holley, the Holley Medal is presented to an individual who has accomplished a great and timely public benefit by some great and unique act of an engineering nature. The recipient will receive a $1,000 honorarium, vermeil medal, a certificate, a lapel pin and $1,000 honorarium. If there are multiple winners, each will receive $1,000, a medal, a certificate and a lapel pin. To learn more about the Holley Medal, visit: http://bit.ly/1Cks1G8.

The Henry Hess Award recognizes the best original technical paper by a young author presented to or published by the Society during the two calendar years prior to the year of award. The recipient must be an ASME member or student member who was under the age of 35 at the time the paper was submitted to the Society. The award consists of a $2,500 honorarium, a certificate and a travel expense supplement. For more details, visit http://bit.ly/1T4B8TC.

Nominations for all four awards should be submitted by March 1 by e-mail to Fran McKivor, ASME Honors and Fellows, at mckivorf@asme.org.
To learn more about the ASME Honors and Awards program, visit www.asme.org/about-asme/get-involved/honors-awards.


The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last week announced a competition to award its first manufacturing innovation institutes that will join the existing ones already underway as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). President Obama’s goal is to launch a total of 15 institutes by the end of his term.

The competition will award one institute using Fiscal Year 2016 funds and one or more using Fiscal Year 2017 funds. This will be the first “open-topic” NNMI solicitation in which industry can propose institutes on any advanced manufacturing technology focus area not already addressed by another institute or competition.

Each institute award is in the form of a cooperative agreement that provides up to $70 million in federal support over a five-year period and requires matching funds from non-federal sources.

Like the other manufacturing innovation institutes that are part of the national network, the NIST institutes will be private-public partnerships that foster collaboration among industry, academia, nonprofits, and government agencies. Through the institutes, stakeholders work to accelerate U.S. innovation and increase U.S. competitiveness by investing in industry-relevant, cross-cutting advanced manufacturing products and processes. 

The institutes serve as regional hubs for advanced manufacturing and provide shared facilities to all members. The goal is to help industry reduce the risks and costs of production scale-up and commercialization so that companies of all sizes can adopt new technologies, accelerate technology transfer to the marketplace, and facilitate innovation across supply chains. Institutes also serve as workforce development resources, working in partnership with local high schools, community colleges, and universities. 

Applicants may propose institutes that address any area of U.S. advanced manufacturing national need that has the potential to transform the growth of U.S. manufacturing.

The solicitation is open to U.S.-owned entities organized and operated in the United States and its territories. The process begins with submission of a pre-application, due April 20, 2016. Following review, selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals. 

The Federal Funding Opportunity announcement on Grants.gov contains a full list of requirements and evaluation criteria. To provide information to potential applicants, NIST plans to host one or more public events and informational webinars. The first event will be held March 8, 2016, at the NIST Gaithersburg, MD, campus (registration required, http://nist.gov/amo/nnmi-proposers-day.cfm). There also will be webcast. The full schedule of events will be posted on the NIST NNMI website at http://nist.gov/amo/nnmi/2016competition.cfm.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a new round of financial support for developing undergraduate- and graduate-level curricula that integrate standards and standardization information into learning resources, courses and seminars at U.S. colleges and universities.

Traditionally in the United States, on-the-job training has been used as the primary method of educating engineers and others who participate in standards activities. This is in part because very little training or education related to standards has been provided in public or private academia, and most training opportunities are offered only by industry or standards developers themselves. Significant standards education programs have been initiated in Asia and Europe for the purpose of educating and training the next generation of standards practitioners, but a general lack of awareness concerning the significance of standards and the process of standardization remains a challenge in the United States.

This NIST award is designed to help define solutions and strategies for improving standards education opportunities in the United States. Complete details on the Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement Program, including eligibility and the application and proposal processes, are available at www.grants.gov under Grant Opportunity 2016-NIST-SSCD-01. Accredited institutions of higher education, both nonprofit and commercial organizations; and state, local and Indian tribal governments located in the United States and its territories are eligible to apply.

Additional information can be found at: http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/nist-opens-new-grant-opportunities-to-support-standards-education/


A new set of educational videos, released on February 17, continues an exploration begun three years ago into the creative process that leads to innovation. From 3-D bioprinting that could generate heart tissue to origami-inspired structures built for space exploration, the six new “Science of Innovation” stories highlight how innovation can turn fundamental science and engineering ideas into significant societal and economic impacts.

NBC Learn, the educational arm of the NBCUniversal News Group, produced the first set of “Science of Innovation” videos in 2013, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The new “Science of Innovation” videos feature the inventions of six trailblazing scientists and engineers from around the country, including:

  • “3-D Bioprinting” -- Adam Feinberg of Carnegie Mellon University has created a technique that expands the use of 3-D printing technology and could one day allow researchers to print heart tissue.
  • “Origami Structures” -- Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. To engineer Mary Frecker of Pennsylvania State University, it is the future for designing tools that could be used in fields such as medicine and space exploration.
  • “Friction-Stir Welding” -- Welding has long been used to join pieces of metal together. At the University of North Texas, Rajiv Mishra is using a form of welding in a new technology that can improve metal's strength, toughness, and other properties. It could bring new opportunities to the automotive and aircraft industries.
  • “Motion Controller for Virtual Reality” -- William Provancher of Tactical Haptics has developed a device that combines the sense of touch with technology. Called the “reactive grip,” it allows the user to experience the virtual world in a whole new way.
  • “Micro-Fabrication for Cochlear Implants” -- Angelique Johnson is the CEO of MEMStim, a company innovating how electrode arrays in cochlear implants are manufactured. Using automated micro-fabrication, instead of costly hand-made manufacturing, Johnson is able to lower the cost of production, allowing more people in need of implants to afford them.
  • “Using Viruses to Make Batteries” -- While most people see viruses as harmful, MIT's Angela Belcher sees the future of energy. Belcher uses viruses engineered in her laboratory to form nano-scale wires for tiny batteries that could eventually be used to produce a wide range of electronics at a lower cost.

To view the videos, visit http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_innovation/ Each video aligns to state and national education standards. Lesson plans and activities will be available soon to help teachers engage students in the classroom and teach key concepts about innovation and STEM.


On Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) welcomed action by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to reduce regulatory compliance costs for manufacturers.

Earlier this month, the subcommittee held a hearing to understand how the CPSC is impacting consumers and industry. In light of the hearing, the committee approved the commission’s operating plan this week, doing away with a rule that had cost America’s importers and manufacturers nearly $250 million annually.

“Any time we can reduce red tape and support American manufacturing, I chalk that up as a win,” said Subcommittee Chairman Burgess. “The Consumer Product Safety Commission today took meaningful action to ease regulatory burdens and encourage innovation and job creation in our nation’s manufacturing and importing sectors. This action only strengthens the commission’s safety mission by redirecting resources to better uses … With an economy still on shaky ground, it is important that we work at all levels of government to create an environment for sustainable growth. The CPSC’s vote today is another step toward renewing American leadership in our global economy.”

For more information, please visit: https://energycommerce.house.gov/news-center/press-releases/burgess-applauds-sensible-cpsc-action-reducing-red-tape-manufacturers and https://energycommerce.house.gov/news-center/press-releases/committee-continues-oversight-cpsc


In the face of the Obama Administration’s threat to veto the legislation if it ever reached his desk, the House voted mostly along party lines to approve a bill sponsored by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith. The bill aims to bring National Science Foundation research in line with the “national interest,” but faces strong opposition from the White House and many Democrats. Among primary concerns is that the bill would chip away at the scientific merit review process by introducing a political review process with members of Congress as the reviewers.

H.R. 3293 includes language similar to that in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, which passed the House last May, a bill which the scientific community vehemently opposed. Congressman Smith revised the America COMPETES “national interest” language to address some of the concerns of the scientific community before he introduced it as a standalone bill.

House Science Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) says the bill would undermine science, especially high-risk-high-reward science, and add bureaucracy and paperwork burden on the scientific community. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) commented on the White House website on the reasons why the Administration has issued a threat to veto, including concern that the legislation would effect the total amount of basic research that scientists propose and that NSF chooses to fund.

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

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Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations