In this issue:

 

 

PRESIDENT MAKES RECESS APPOINTMENTS FOR OSTP
This week, while Congress is at recess for the 4th of July, President Obama announced three recess appointments.  This included Philip E. Coyle III, who was nominated last year for Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The President has the power to temporarily appoint nominees without the consent of the Senate but their terms, without support from the Senate, expire at the conclusion of the session of Congress.  Therefore, Coyle will have to be nominated again for his position in January when a new Congress convenes.

In the release, the President expressed some disappointment with the pace of confirmations.  "With more than 180 nominees still pending before the Senate, it's my hope that my colleagues in Congress will agree to put politics aside and move forward on these vitally important positions."

Coyle previously served as a Senior Advisor to the President of the World Security Institute, and to its Center for Defense Information, a Washington D.C.-based national security study center.  In 2005 and 2006, Coyle served on the nine-member Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), appointed by President George W. Bush and nominated by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Prior to this appointment, Mr. Coyle served on Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger's Base Support and Retention Council.  From 1959 to 1979, and again from 1981 to 1993, Coyle worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California. Over those 33 years Coyle worked on a variety of nuclear weapons programs and other high technology programs.  Coyle also served as Deputy Associate Director of the Laser Program at LLNL.  Coyle retired from the Laboratory in 1993 as Laboratory Associate Director and deputy to the Director.

During the Carter Administration, Mr. Coyle served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs in the Department of Energy (DOE).á In this capacity he had oversight responsibility for the nuclear weapons research, development, production and testing programs of the Department, as well as the DOE programs in arms control, non-proliferation, and nuclear safeguards and security.

For more information about the appointment please click here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-announces-recess-appointments-key-administration-positions-0

 

 

CLEAN VEHICLE RESEARCH INITIATIVE SHOULD CONTINUE TO INCLUDE HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGIES: NRC REPORT
The public-private partnership to develop vehicles that require less petroleum-based fuel and emit fewer greenhouse gases should continue to include fuel cells and other hydrogen technologies in its research and development (R&D) portfolio, according to a new report by the National Research Council (NRC).  Although the partnership's recent shift of focus toward technologies that could be ready for use in the nearer term, such as advanced combustion engines and plug-in electric vehicles, is warranted, R&D on hydrogen and fuel cells is also needed given the high costs and challenges that many of the technologies must overcome before widespread use.

The FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) and Fuel Partnership is a research collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States Council for Automotive Research (whose members are the Detroit automakers), five major energy companies and two electric utility companies.  The partnership seeks to advance the technologies essential for components and infrastructure for a full range of affordable, clean, energy efficient cars and light trucks

The report, the third in a series of reviews on the FreedomCAR  program, calls for the partnership's sustained support of a balanced portfolio of nearer-term and longer-term options, including research on fuel cells and hydrogen technologies.  The report also provides guidance for advancing R&D in several areas. Advancing combustion engines is "clearly important," the report says, since they will be dominant in the marketplace for many years or even decades.  The partnership, which is focusing on developing technologies that can reduce fuel consumption, should also work with government researchers outside of the program who are studying biofuels. In addition, assessment of energy sources and distribution methods should be expanded beyond hydrogen to include biofuels for advanced combustion engines and electricity generation and distribution requirements for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

A summary of the report may be read at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12939

The full report, "Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, Third Report," is available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12939.

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

 

 

PCAST MEETING SET FOR JULY 16TH
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), an advisory group of the nation's leading scientists and engineers which directly advises the President and the Executive Office of the President, will hold its next meeting on July 16th. The meeting will be held at the Keck Center of the National Academies, 500 5th Street, NW. Room Keck 100, Washington, DC, with the open session scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At this meeting, PCAST is tentatively scheduled to hear presentations on space policy and science, technology, and diplomacy. PCAST members will also discuss reports they are developing on the topics of: advanced manufacturing; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; health information technology; and, the energy technology innovation system.

Information on how to register for the meeting is also available on the PCAST Web site. A live video webcast and an archive of the webcast after the event will be available at http://whitehouse.gov/ostp/pcast.  There is no need to register if you plan to watch the webcast of the meeting. Return to the PCAST website the day of the event to view the webcast. Questions about the meeting should be directed to Dr. Deborah D. Stine, PCAST Executive Director, at dstine@ostp.eop.gov or 202.456.6006. Public seating for this meeting is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional information and the agenda will be posted at the PCAST Web site at http://whitehouse.gov/ostp/pcast

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

 

 

"2010 GLOBAL MANUFACTURING COMPETITIVENESS INDEX" PUBLISHED
U.S. manufacturing competitiveness will continue to decline, according to the "2010 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index" (GMCI), a report created through a partnership between Deloitte's Global Manufacturing Industry group and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Based on survey responses from more than 400 senior global manufacturing executives and key government decision-makers, researchers developed an index that ranked the "ten drivers of global manufacturing competitiveness."

Worldwide, respondents agreed that talent-driven innovation is the top ranked driver of global manufacturing. Workers capable of fueling innovation and improving production efficiency have overtaken the availability of "cheap labor," which ranked third.

The report concludes that the increasing talent pools worldwide, coupled with higher U.S. wages, have placed U.S. manufacturing at a disadvantage in global markets. However, the U.S. should remain at the forefront of manufacturing innovation due to a focus on strengthening science and technology research, the strong intellectual property rights, technology transfer policy and STEM initiatives.

The full report is available for download without charge at http://www.compete.org/publications/detail/1378/2010-global-manufacturing-competitiveness-index/

 

 

COMMERCE DEPARTMENT HOLDS INNOVATION FORUMS FOR UNIVERSITY LEADERS
The U.S. Department of Commerce and its Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Administration are holding four innovation forums across the country with university leaders and key stakeholders to discuss the role of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation and commercialization of federally funded research.  "Universities have long been a critical driver of innovation in the U.S.," Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said. "We are committed to working with university leaders to increase the economic impact of our nation's investment in research and development to help drive economic growth and job creation."

Forum participants will discuss the capital needed to move an idea from the lab to the marketplace, university strategies to support commercialization, university and regional economic development, and entrepreneurship education. The first two forums, at the University of Massachusetts (Boston) and University of Southern California (Los Angeles), took place on June 29th and July 8th, respectively.

The final two forums will take place on July 13th at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and July 15th at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta). Featured speakers will include: Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Department of Commerce; David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Travis Sullivan, Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, U.S. Department of Commerce; and, Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy.

For additional information, go to http://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2010/06/28/us-department-commerce-announces-series-forums-american-innovation

 

 

NASA RELEASES MOONBASE ALPHA VIDEO GAME
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has given gamers a taste of lunar adventure with release of Moonbase Alpha, an exciting new, free online video game. The game has single and multiplayer options that allow participants to step into the role of an exploration team member in a futuristic 3-D lunar settlement. Players must work to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a meteor strike cripples a solar array and life support equipment. Available resources include an interactive command center, lunar rover, mobile robotic repair units and a fully-stocked equipment shed.

The game is a proof of concept to show how NASA content can be combined with a cutting-edge game engine to inspire, engage and educate students about agency technologies, job opportunities and the future of space exploration. Moonbase Alpha is rated "E" for everyone.

It is the first game in NASA's Learning Technologies project. The project supports the delivery of NASA content through interactive technologies such as virtual worlds, games and software applications to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education.

Moonbase Alpha is a precursor to a planned NASA-based massively, multiplayer online game project. The project is being designed to have content and missions that require players to gain and demonstrate STEM knowledge to succeed.

For more information about Moonbase Alpha, visit http://www.nasa.gov/moonbasealpha

Paul Fakes handles public policy-related research and development issues for ASME.  He can be reached at fakesp@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.