September 16, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


Since 1973, ASME has sponsored over 100 Federal Fellows, providing them with an opportunity to serve a one-year term in the Administration or U.S. Congress. Fellows serve as independent, non-biased advisors in engineering, science and technology, bringing a nonpartisan, pragmatic approach to analysis and input which has a profound impact on the decision making process. The result is effective and technologically appropriate public policy based on sound engineering principles.

ASME will be accepting applications for our 2017-2018 Congressional Fellowship until January 31, 2017. Applicants for this Fellowship must have a strong energy background. ASME has long supported a balanced portfolio of energy supplies to meet the nation's energy needs, including advanced clean coal, petroleum, nuclear, natural gas, waste-to-energy, biomass, solar, wind and hydroelectric power. ASME also supports energy efficient building and transportation technologies, as well as transmission and distribution infrastructure sufficient to satisfy demand under reasonably foreseeable contingencies.

For more information, review ASME's General Position Paper entitled "Securing America's Energy Future" at:   

Additional information about ASME’s public policy priorities is available at

Policymakers are addressing major legislative and policy issues that are facing our nation and as federal legislation becomes increasingly technical, the need for engineering expertise is essential, which is why this program is so invaluable.  If you’re interested in learning more about what a Congressional Fellow actually does, listen to our 2016 webinar entitled “ASME Federal Government Fellows: Technology Intersecting Policy and Politics”. 

This webinar highlights the fellowships of Briana Tomboulian, Ph.D., ASME’s 2015 Congressional Engineering Fellow, who served in the office of Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), and Stephen Lehrman, who served as ASME’s 2006 Congressional Engineering Fellow for Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and, after his fellowship, went on to fill a full-time staff position in the office of Senator Pryor. Click “register now” and enter your email address for access to the webinar.

Additional information about the ASME Federal Government Fellowship Program is available at:

This ASME Congressional Fellowship is sponsored by ASME Government Relations, the ASME Foundation and the ASME Petroleum Division.


A new report published by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and led by senior fellow in science and technology policy Neil Lane argues that building a strong advisory capacity for science and technology should be among the first issues the next president-elect tackles following his or her election. Lane served under President Bill Clinton as science advisor, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and before that as director of the National Science Foundation.

The report begins, “Innovation, a hallmark of 21st century private industry in the United States and around the world, relies on a skilled and diverse workforce as well as advances in science and technology (S&T) made possible by strong public and private investments in research and development (R&D). The influence and products of S&T are present in almost every aspect of daily life. Wise government policies, forward-looking S&T investments, and broadened participation of women and underrepresented minority men and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and related fields will provide jobs and economic opportunity and continue to improve the well-being of individuals at home and abroad.

Many existing challenges and unforeseen crises will require an increased understanding of the science behind their causes and rely on new technologies to provide innovative solutions. The next administration will need to address a number of public policy challenges necessitating immediate S&T expertise, including emerging infectious diseases (such as Zika); chronic diseases impacting the future health of our aging population (such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease); environmental concerns (such as clean water and air quality); food security; and security threats to Americans (including terrorism, cyber-attacks, identity theft, and natural disasters). S&T alone will not solve these problems, but without new scientific knowledge and technological innovation, and sensible government policies, progress will be slow.”

To read the full report, please visit,4HIQN,E29O8W,GKN3O,1


Since science, engineering, health and environmental issues affect everyone, supporters of provided twenty questions refined by experts at America’s leading nonpartisan science and engineering organizations, including ASME, to the Presidential candidates earlier this year.  On September 13, released the following answers from the candidates who responded as of press time. They were Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jill Stein, which can be found at:

The questions on science and innovation, which account for over half of the economic growth of the United States since World War II, are meant to support evidentiary public policymaking according to Steven Otto, Chair, Some questions that may be of interest to ASME members include:  Innovation, Research, Climate Change, Energy, Water, Nuclear Power, Global Challenges, Regulations and Scientific Integrity.

In addition, Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s platforms on science and technology issues can be respectively found at: and

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation report also recently released a new report about the differences between Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s innovation policies, which is available at:,

For more information about Science Debate, go to


The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently announced $37 million in funding for 16 innovative new projects as part of a new ARPA-E program: Integration and Optimization of Novel Ion-Conducting Solids (IONICS). IONICS project are geared towards developing technologies that overcome the limitations of current battery and fuel cell products.

By creating high performance parts built with solid ion conductors – solids in which ions can be mobile and store energy – the IONICS program will focus on new ways to process and integrate these parts into devices with the goal of accelerating their commercial deployment. In particular, IONICS projects will work to improve energy storage and conversion technologies in three categories: transportation batteries, grid-level storage, and fuel cells.

“While battery technologies have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, there remain some imposing physical and chemical barriers that have stifled further innovation,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams. “Solid ion conductors made of affordable, easily produced materials could replace today’s mostly liquid electrolytes and expensive fuel cell parts, helping create a next generation of batteries and fuel cells that are low-cost, durable, and more efficient.”

Battery technologies are crucial to storing electricity from intermittent, carbon-free resources like wind and solar power, as well as in utilizing electricity from the energy stored in fuels like natural gas or hydrogen. IONICS project teams are seeking to improve energy storage options through the use of solid ion conductors, which have shown potential as a robust and high-performance alternative to traditional liquid electrolytes or expensive materials used in current fuel cell stacks.

Further details on the IONICS program are available here:


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued its first-ever awards for the NSF INCLUDES program. The program is a comprehensive initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering through broadening participation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

"For more than six decades, NSF has funded the development of STEM talent, with the goals of furthering scientific discovery and ensuring the nation's security, economy and ability to innovate. NSF INCLUDES aims to broaden participation in STEM by reaching populations traditionally underserved in science and engineering," NSF Director France Córdova said. "I'm gratified to see such a strong start to this program, which we hope will be an enduring investment in our nation's future in scientific discovery and technological innovation."

NSF INCLUDES, or Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science, is focused at the national scale. It is designed to provide better access to STEM education and career pathways especially for underserved populations.  Expansion is expected over the next ten years with the aim of developing a science and engineering workforce that is more reflective of the diversity in the United States.

In this first award, 37 Design and Development Launch Pilots are being funded through two-year grants aimed at supporting projects with the potential to deliver prototypes for bold, new models that broaden participation in STEM, and 11 grants are receiving funding for conferences that will explore the development of backbone organizations to support a national network of NSF INCLUDES alliances and partnerships.

To read more about the awardees, please visit:


The Energy Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office announced up to $3 million in available funding for manufacturers to use high-performance computing resources at the Department's national laboratories in order to tackle major manufacturing challenges. The High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program has a diverse group of small and large entities from various industry sectors led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

HPC4Mfg will enable innovation in U.S. manufacturing and focus on the adoption of high performance computing (HPC) to advance applied science and technology with an aim of increasing energy efficiency, advancing clean energy technology, and reducing energy’s impact on the environment.

There is a special focus to include challenges identified in the Energy Departments’  2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR). HPC is a platform of enabling information technology for innovation and manufacturing.

“We are entering a renewed era in manufacturing for the U.S.,” said Mark Johnson, director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office for the Department of Energy. “Across the board we are seeing the opportunity for productivity improvements when our most advanced capabilities are applied to challenges of energy in manufacturing.”

The Energy Department could select up to 10 projects for this third round of funding and seeks qualified industry partners to participate in a one-year term collaborative project. Applications are due by October 14, 2016.

It is anticipated that there will be two rounds of proposals sought each year, one in the spring and the other in the fall.

For more information, please visit:


GE Renewable Energy is looking to floating offshore wind turbines as the renewable energy of the future. Working with DCNS, a French shipbuilding and energy company, they are focused on developing an offshore wind turbine system where wind turbines are installed atop a floating buoy of tethered steel and concrete embedded in the sea floor in waters up to 200 meters deep.

The hope is to mitigate challenges currently faced by offshore wind developers, such as the need to build offshore wind farms in waters only up to 60 meters depth and the unpredictability of wind, waves and offshore storms.

“Floating wind farms are very innovative and can be a crucial part of the energy mix of the future,” said Léonore Petit, strategy and business development coordinator at GE Renewable Energy.

The floating wind farm has other cost benefits, as workers can assemble the turbines in port rather than on the open seas, and turbines can be brought back to port for heavy maintenance rather than repaired by crews dispatched to sea.

For more information, please visit

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at for daily news and policy developments, including the following:


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