In this issue:

 

 

ADVANCE YOUR CAREER AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! APPLY FOR AN ASME 2010-2011 FEDERAL FELLOWSHIP
For more than 35 years, ASME Federal Fellows have been applying the same pragmatic, problem-solving approach to public policymaking that they are trained to apply in the physical world.  Their experience and understanding of the "law of unintended consequences" often counters partisan rhetoric and special-interest bias on scientific and technical issues.  In short, ASME Federal Fellows are "engineering the greater good" for society.

ASME is currently accepting applications for the 2010-2011 Federal Fellows Program, which enables selected ASME members to spend one year in Washington, D.C. working on the staff of a congressional committee, U.S. senator or U.S. representative.  Federal Fellowships offer the opportunity for ASME members to provide a valuable public service to the nation while at the same time providing those engineers with a unique opportunity to participate directly in the policymaking process.

Because of the limited number of fellowships available each year, the process is very competitive.  A stipend of $60,000 is awarded to each Fellow for the year.  All applicants must be U.S. citizens and ASME members at the time of application.  General information and participation criteria is available at: http://www.asmefederalfellows.org/.

The online application is available at: https://secure.asme.org/fedgovfellows/appform.cfm.

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2010. Applicants need to review participation criteria thoroughly and submit all requested information.

In addition, the ASME Foundation is conducting the "Engineering the Greater Good" campaign to assure the sustainability of the ASME Federal Fellows Program.  To learn how you can contribute to the campaign.

 

 

ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES ENERGY REGIONAL INNOVATION CLUSTER
The U.S. Department of Energy recently issued a combined Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) of up to $129.7 million over five years to create a regional research center that will develop new building efficiency technologies and work with local partners to implement the technologies in area buildings.

"This unique partnership will not only advance the development of new, energy efficient technologies, it will help local governments, businesses, and homeowners save money on their utility bills by putting the technology to work," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Seven federal agencies are working together to leverage funding and resources to promote regional growth through an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) that is centered around an Energy Innovation Hub focused on developing new technologies to improve the design of energy-efficient building systems.á The Department of Energy is providing up to $22 million for this project in the first year, with up to $100 million over the next four years.

The goal of this funding opportunity is to support an E-RIC that will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Develop and demonstrate sustainable and efficient models for attaining national strategic objectives, with a focus on (i) developing, expanding, and commercializing innovative energy efficient building systems technologies, designs, and best practices for national and international distribution and (ii) reducing the carbon footprint of the United States;
  • Create jobs (as defined in the FOA);
  • Reduce or eliminate gaps between the supply and demand for skilled workers in the E-RIC through training and education;
  • Increase regional gross domestic product (GDP);
  • Promote innovation in science and technology generally and, with respect to the Hub, promote energy efficient building systems, designs and best practices; and
  • Enhance the economic, technological, and commercial competitiveness of the United States on the global stage.

The E-RIC will work to disseminate new technologies into the local marketplace and share best practices with the public and private sectors. It will be supported through agency investments in technology and business development, and will include support for workforce education and training.

For more information on the Energy Innovation Hubs please click here http://www.energy.gov/hubs/index.htm

For more information on E-RIC please click here http://www.energy.gov/hubs/eric.htm

Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME.  He can be reached at rainsr@asme.org

 

 

DOE COMMITS $8.33 BILLION FOR CONSTRUCTION OF TWO NEW NUCLEAR REACTORS
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced earlier this week that it has offered conditional commitments for $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a plant in Burke, GA. The project is scheduled to be the first U.S. nuclear power plant to break ground in nearly three decades.

In making the announcement, President Obama said, "To meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we need to increase our supply of nuclear power and today's announcement helps to move us down that path.  But energy leaders and experts recognize that as long as producing carbon pollution carries no cost, traditional plants that use fossil fuels will be more cost-effective than plants that use nuclear fuel.  That is why we need comprehensive energy and climate legislation to create a system of incentives to make clean energy profitable."

The two new 1,100 megawatt Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant will supplement the two existing reactor units at the facility. According to industry projections, the project will create approximately 3,500 onsite construction jobs. Once the nuclear reactors become operational, the project will create 800 permanent jobs.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized DOE to issue loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and employ new or significantly-improved technologies as compared to technologies in service in the United States at the time the guarantee is issued.  These are the first conditional commitments for loan guarantees to be offered by DOE for a nuclear power facility since enactment of the 2005 law.

For review the entire DOE press release, please visit: http://www.energy.gov/news/8643.htm

Additional information about the DOE loan guarantee program can be found at: http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov/

Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME.  He can be reached at rainsr@asme.org

 

 

NSF LAUNCHES OPEN GOVERNMENT WEB PAGE
Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a new interactive Web page designed to encourage participation and collaboration between the agency and the citizens it serves.  Additional information about this activity, as well as a link to the OpenNSF dialogue, is accessible at www.nsf.gov/open. The dialogue page is open for ideas and comments until March 19.

In working to achieve the transparency, public participation and collaboration outlined by the Obama Administration's Open Government Directive, agencies across the government have established Open Government Web pages to collect ideas and suggestions from the public.

NSF's Open Government Web page will allow members of the public to submit ideas, comment on and vote for ideas proposed, and flag posts that are off-topic. In addition to welcoming general ideas and comments, NSF specifically seeks input regarding access to large data sets and collaborations that aim to facilitate transformative research.  The agency will incorporate submitted ideas and suggestions into an official Open Government Plan, to be published on April 7, 2010. This plan will serve as the "road map" for NSF's efforts to improve transparency, better integrate public participation and collaboration into its core mission, and become more innovative and efficient.

Additional information on the Open Government Directive can be found on the White House Web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/Open

Paul Fakes handles public policy-related research and development (R&D) issues for ASME.  He can be reached at fakesp@asme.org

 

 

EWEEK FUTURE CITY FINALISTS JOIN PRESIDENT TO CALL INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Several student finalists from the Engineers' Week Future City competition recently joined President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders at the White House for a "long distance" video call with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).  During the call, President Obama congratulated the astronauts on the ISS and the Space Shuttle Endeavour on their successful ongoing mission, and then the Future City finalists were allowed to ask the astronauts several questions about the mission and being an astronaut in general.

This year's Engineers Week's theme, Engineers Make a World a Difference: Celebrate Volunteerism, is complementary to the President's own "Educate to Innovate" campaign and his emphasis on inspiring young adults to pursue excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.  Each year, ASME professional and student members are actively engaged in EWeek, and ASME will once again host EWeek in 2012.

The video and transcript of this call are now available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/president-obamas-call-international-space-station.

Additional information about the President's "Educate to Innovate" campaign can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-expands-educate-innovate-campaign-excellence-science-technology-eng

For more information about ASME's plans to host EWeek in 2010, please review ASME President Amos Holt's February column in ASME News, which can be found at: http://www.asmenews.org/0210_1stories/president.html

For general information about EWeek and the Future City competition, please visit: http://www.eweek.org

Melissa Carl handles public policy-related STEM workforce issues for ASME.  She can be reached at carlm@asme.org

 

 

NAE SEEKS "EXTRAORDINARY STORIES" NOMINATIONS
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE), through its Extraordinary Stories Award Program, is seeking nominations of students who have made a contribution to one of the NAE Grand Challenge problem areas: sustainability; health; vulnerability; and, joy of living. Five of the nominated individuals or teams will split a $15,000 prize.

In addition, a professional video of each of the five winning projects will be produced and featured at the April 21, 2010 Grand Challenge Summit to be held at Wellesley College in Boston. The summit will bring together educators, students and leaders from business and government to explore new ways to educate the next generation of Grand Challenge leaders and to celebrate the efforts of young people working to solve grand challenge problems.

Nominations must be submitted by March 1, 2010, 11:59 PM Hawaii time. Award winners will be selected in mid-March. More information on nomination guidelines, judging criteria and how to enter, can be found at: http://www.grandchallengestories.org/.

The April Grand Challenge Summit is part of a series of regional summits currently being held across the country to focus public attention on the NAE Grand Challenges.  For more information about this summit series, please visit: http://summit-grand-challenges.pratt.duke.edu/

Melissa Carl handles public policy-related STEM workforce issues for ASME.  She can be reached at carlm@asme.org

 

 

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.

EDITOR: Mary James Legatski, ASME Government Relations, 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 906, Washington, DC 20036-5104.