July 27, 2018
Capitol Update

In this issue:


Earlier this week, the Senate voted in agreement to pass H.R. 2353, The Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The corresponding Senate version of the bill, S. 3217, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was also introduced to the Senate earlier this month.

The Perkins Act legislation was enacted in 1984, and reauthorized in 1998. The purpose of the legislation is to use federal funds to support and increase the quality of technical education in the U.S. with the long-term hope that this will have a positive impact on the economy. The reauthorization act of 1998 was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006 and passed by Congress that same year.

With the Senate’s approval of the Perkins Act, the bill will now go back to the House for votes to approve the changes the Senate made to the bill. Following the passage of the bill, House Committee on Education and the Workforce Co-Chairs Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) released a joint statement applauding these steps:

"We commend the Senate for taking up H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Over a year ago, the House unanimously passed this bipartisan solution to help close the skills gap and open the door for more innovation in workforce development. Today’s action by the United States Senate is one of the final, crucial steps in making better career and technical education options a reality for millions of Americans."

For further information on H.R. 2353, click here: https://edworkforce.house.gov/cte/

To view the legislation as it currently stands, click here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2353

For further information on S. 3217, click here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3217/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22s.+3217%22%5D%7D&r=1


The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the appointment of 18 new members to an interagency committee advisory panel on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The panel is a cross-agency initiative with involvement from agencies such as NSF, the Department of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was established in October 2017 under the American Innovation and Competitive Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Members serve on the panel for a three year term.

The panel, which was authorized by Congress, is comprised of 18 members from the nonprofit, business, academic and education sectors, and chaired by Gabriela Gonzalez, deputy director of the Intel Foundation with the Intel Corporation. Pursuant to the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, the panel will advise the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM), a collaboration of federal agencies developed under the Obama administration and tasked with coordinating federal programs and activities in support of STEM education, on STEM education-related matters. One of the main goals of the panel is to update the 2013-2018 Federal STEM Education 5-Year Strategic Plan. 

"This new panel has an opportunity to bring fresh eyes and novel approaches to CoSTEM's next five-year strategic plan, which will help enhance the nation's entire STEM ecosystem," said NSF Director France Córdova, aCoSTEM chair. "NSF continues to generate benefits for society through STEM research. To fulfill that mission, we and our federal partners need to make strategic investments to create new generations of discoverers."

For more information about the STEM Education Advisory Panel, click here:  https://nsf.gov/ehr/STEMEdAdvisory.jsp

For more information about CoSTEM, click here: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/costem_charter_signed_01-31-11.pdf


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced its new Artificial Intelligence Exploration (AIE) program, which brings with it a bevy of funding opportunities. The goal of AIE and its funding opportunities is to push the boundaries and technological capacities of current artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, which has been pursued by DARPA in waves. The “first wave” was rule based, the “second wave” was statistical learning based. The “third wave,” and current focus of AIE revolves around research and developing AI theory and applications that help surmount the limitations presented by first and second wave technologies.

“DARPA has established a streamlined process to push the state of the art in AI through regular and relatively short-term technology development projects,” said Peter Highnam, DARPA Deputy Director. “The intent is to get researchers on contract quickly to test the value and feasibility of innovative concepts. Where we’re successful, individual projects could lead to larger research and development programs spurring major AI breakthroughs.”

Those interested in submitting an application for an AIE grant must submit a proposal comprised of three parts: a technical and management proposal, a price proposal and an administration and national and policy requirements document. The award amount will depend on the quality of the proposal and availability of funds. Once an award has been given, researchers must work to establish the feasibility of new AI concepts within 18 months.

For further information on DARPA and its AI initiatives, click here:  https://www.darpa.mil/
To view the current funding opportunities, click here: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=f6149249b0f3c04c5b8994be1a492726&tab=core&_cview=0


The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the launch of its new Lab Partnering Service (LPS). This new service provides a centralized platform for investors and all other parties interested in furthering energy innovation to connect with DOE national laboratory technical experts and connect with one another to forge partnerships.  The overall aim of the LPS is to facilitate access to information for those with the power to make informed decisions and effect change.

Through the LPS, interested parties have direct access to the knowledge and skills bases of each of the 17 national laboratories. To access these resources, users simply submit an inquiry which can be sent to the technology transfer office of any of the labs.

The LPS is comprised of three primary components aimed at encouraging partnership with national labs:

  • Expert Search: provides customers direct access to national lab experts.
  • Technical Summaries: provide information about technologies associated patents, patent applications, and publications from DOE’s national laboratories and other participating research institutions available for licensing. 
  • Visual Patent Search: enables a unique, visually-facilitated search of the patent content contained in the Lab Partnering Service.

For more information on LPS, click here: https://www.energy.gov/technologytransitions/lab-partnering-service


The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that it is awarding $95 million in grants to small businesses in 26 states through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs.  These grants are for Phase II research, and are being awarded to 80 small businesses that demonstrated technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants, which were awarded for prototype of processes development during Phase II.

The SBIR and STTR programs were established by Congress to support scientific excellence and technological innovation and to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies, with the help of federal research funds. Small businesses that are awarded grants under these programs retain the rights to any technology they develop thank to these federal funds and are encouraged to commercialize this technology. Both SBIR and STTR programs has three distinct phases in which grants are awarded:

  • Phase I explores the feasibility of innovative concepts with awards up to $225,000 and 12 months.
  • Phase II is the principal R&D effort, with awards up to $1,500,000 and 2 years.
  • Phase III offers opportunities to small businesses to continue their Phase I and II R&D work to pursue commercial applications of their R&D with non-SBIR/STTR funding.
    • Under Phase III, Federal agencies may award non-competitive, follow-on grants or contracts for products or processes that meet the mission needs of those agencies, or for further R&D.

For further information about the SBIR and STTR programs, click here: https://science.energy.gov/sbir/about/
For further information about the most recent awardees, click here: https://science.energy.gov/sbir/awards/


America Makes recently announced two new project opportunities open to members. The Acceleration of Large Scale Additive Manufacturing (ALSAM) and Advancing AM Post-processing Techniques (AAPT) projects are both funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Technology Division.

As indicated in the project name, ALSAM focuses on the acceleration of large scale additive manufacturing. The overall goal of the project is to become familiar with the challenges presented by Selective Laser Melting (SLM) additive manufacturing that hinder the greater adoption of SLM for technology for production. Approximately $2.6 million is available in funding for this project, which is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes and AFRL. Full project proposals are due Friday, September 14.

The AAPT project focuses on strengthening the understanding of available techniques to achieving qualified parts and certified processes, as well as reducing costs. The AAPT project looks to build on the uses of SLM for critical parts. Approximately $2.4 million is available in funding for this project. Full project proposals are due Friday, October 12.

“On behalf of all of us at America Makes and AFRL, we are excited to be announcing two Directed Project Opportunities, both of which we believe will play an integral role in accelerating the adoption of Selective Laser Melting additive technologies in particular,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Executive Director. “With the second Directed Project Opportunity concentrating on the advancement of post-processing techniques, and the first Directed Project Opportunity targeting a multi-laser open platform, we are confident that the industry impact of these two R&D projects will be substantial and widespread.”

For further information regarding the ALSAM project opportunity, click here: https://www.americamakes.us/dpo_alsam/

For further information regarding the AAPT project opportunity, click here: https://www.americamakes.us/dpo_aapt/?utm_source=NCDMM+Distribution+List&utm_campaign=46fe4cfa0d-PR_AM_Announcing+ALSAM-AAPT18%2F7%2F18+11%3A51+AM&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_333d201fe1-46fe4cfa0d-191855581

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.

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036

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

Paul Fakes is the Regulatory and Government Relations Manager, Technology Policy. He covers Standards and Energy and Environment.

Samantha Fijacko is the Senior Government Relations Representative. She covers Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics and R&D.

Anne Nadler is the Government Relations Representative. She covers Bioengineering, STEM Education and R&D.