November 11, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


President-elect Donald Trump’s victory will have dramatic impacts on U.S. policies as lawmakers re-shape the policy landscape that for the last several years has pushed the development of clean energy sources, worked to invest in advanced manufacturing, and pushed policies aimed at educating a more technologically savvy workforce to take up positions in these key technology areas.

While on the campaign trail and visiting states that had lost manufacturing jobs such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Trump said that trade deals were to blame for lost U.S. manufacturing jobs and that he wanted to renegotiate NAFTA and other U.S. trade agreements, as well as stand up to foreign currency manipulation in China and punish industries that export jobs. Trump also stated he would push to lower the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent as a complement to increase manufacturing jobs.

In one speech he said, “In order to bring back manufacturing to North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and so many other places, we're going to undertake a major reform of our federal bureaucracy. American trade policy is currently mismanaged by dozens of competing bureaucracies spread across the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, State and Treasury‚ĶMy administration, under it, all trade policy will be consolidated into one office. It will report to a thing called the American Desk.”

When providing answers to Science Debate on America's Top 20 Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Issues in 2016, Trump said that with limited funds,there needs to be a focus on clean water and developing energy sources that do not use fossil fuel. President-elect Trump also has denounced the Obama administration's regulatory agenda and wants to see the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan dismantled, which has mandated carbon emission reductions from power plants. He has also pledged to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

In the area of STEM programs, he wants to make education opportunities available to everyone and to allow the market to bring better educational options to kids since he believes the top down approach to education has failed students. Trump has advocated for creating more options for educating kids and keeping public education managed at the state/local level not by Department of Education.

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The 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) and the Council on Competitiveness (the Council) produced results showing the ongoing influence manufacturing has on driving global economies to economic prosperity. Nations are increasing their focus on developing advanced manufacturing capabilities by investing in high-tech infrastructure and education. Advanced manufacturing applies increasingly advanced and sophisticated product and process technologies and materials.

There is also convergence of the digital and physical worlds of manufacturing and an understanding that competitiveness for a country is driven by how advanced their manufacturing capability is and how innovative.

Six nations that represent 60 percent of global manufacturing were focused on during the study: United States, China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and India.

These nations drive manufacturing trends. Of these nations, the United States and China are at the top of the heap, but it is expected that China will slip to number two over the next five years. Germany holds the number three position.

For a look at the dynamics among global manufacturing nations, please visit:


The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) have jointly awarded $21.6 million for nine new projects to find disruptive and revolutionary solutions that will enable more energy-efficient computing. These funds will go toward new approaches such as developing nanoscale devices and materials and integrating them into three-dimensional systems, and inventing new computer architectures to process, store and communicate data.

The goal is to create a new type of computer that can proactively interpret and learn from data, solve unfamiliar problems, and operate with a human brain’s energy efficiency. Currently, computing performance is severely limited by the amount of energy needed to manipulate, store and transport data. The strengths of industry and academia are drawn upon to advance the human-technology frontier through investments in engineering, computer science and materials research.

To read about the nine new projects, please visit:


Creating a complete inventory of the diverse cells in the human body is a major undertaking and now a real possibility after a scientific meeting in London recently. A mapping project such as this would eventually allow scientists to indicate which genes drive our risk of disease especially with 30 trillion cells in the body sharing the same gene. One needs to know which cells are actually using the specific gene. For example, scientists already know the C4 gene drives an increased risk for schizophrenia, but there was no one place to go for such research.

A deeper knowledge of our cells is needed. Building a knowledge base -- the various types of cells, where they are found, what they specialize in, which cells can transform into other cell types, the subtypes of cells, and the various states in which they can exist--will likely lead to biomedical advances beyond the use of stem cells to regrow tissue.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Canada’s Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced the opening of a new 1 Megawatt Thermal (MWth) facility to test an advanced process to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants with $13 million in funding under DOE’s Fossil Energy’s advanced combustion program.  The project is a product of long standing U.S.-Canadian collaboration on clean energy technology development.

The new 1 MWth facility is located in Ottawa and will test oxy-fired pressurized fluidized bed combustion (oxy-PFBC) to more efficiently and economically capture CO2, and thereby advance the commercialization of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) in both countries.  Oxy-PFBC is based on the oxy-fuel combustion process, which uses pure oxygen to burn fuel and produces heat that generates electricity without the production of other pollutants. The oxy-PFCB process improves efficiency by concentrating the CO2 produced prior to combustion of fuel in the turbine, thereby reducing the cost of capturing the CO2.  Captured CO2 can then be stored or used in the development of feedstock and chemicals.

CCUS is a critical tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Successful results will help scale up the oxy-PFBC process to commercial scale. More information can be found at:


Harvard University researchers have made the first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing. Also known as microphysiological systems, they may be able to match the properties of a specific disease or even a specific patient’s cells after being fabricated and customized, allowing researchers to easily collect reliable data for short-term and long-term studies--drastically simplifying data acquisition. Their study is published in Nature Materials.

Organs-on-chips mimic the structure and function of native tissue and could become an alternative to traditional animal testing. These microphysiological systems can mimic the microarchitecture and functions of lungs, hearts, tongues and intestines. The microfabrication approach also opens new avenues for in vitro tissue engineering, toxicology and drug screening research.

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