In this issue:

 

 

STAR METRICS TO MEASURE THE IMPACT OF FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH
A new initiative to monitor the impact of federal science investments on employment, knowledge generation, and health outcomes - Science and Technology for America's Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science (STAR METRICS) - is a multi-agency venture led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). STAR METRICS will help the Federal government document the value of its investments in research and development to a degree not previously possible.

"It is essential to document with solid evidence the returns our Nation is obtaining from its investment in research and development," said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "STAR METRICS is an important element of doing just that."

There are two-phases to the program. The first phase will use university administrative records to calculate the employment impact of federal science spending through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and agencies' existing budgets. The second phase will measure the impact of science investment in four key areas:

  • Economic growth will be measured through indicators such as patents and business start-ups;
  • Workforce outcomes will be measured by student mobility into the workforce and employment markers;
  • Scientific knowledge will be measured through publications and citations; and,
  • Social outcomes will be measured by long-term health and environmental impact of funding.

For more information about STAR METRICS, visit http://nrc59.nas.edu/star_info2.cfm

Paul Fakes covers public policy R&D issues for ASME.  He can be reached at FakesP@asme.org.

 

 

NSF: NUMBER OF S&E GRADUATE STUDENTS INCREASES 7.8 PERCENT
The National Science Foundation recently released data showing graduate enrollment in Science and Engineering programs grew 2.5 percent over comparable data for 2007. First-time, full-time enrollments of S&E graduate students increased 7.8 percent across all S&E fields.

Overall, the class of new full-time graduate students entering S&E fields in fall 2008 was the largest in the history of the "Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering" which began in 1973. The numbers also showed a 10-year span in which enrollment in S&E graduate programs increased each year, with the exception of a one-year decline from 2003 to 2004.

A key component in growth during this period was the variation in first-time enrollment by citizenship. From 2001 to 2003, growth was driven by increases in enrollment by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. From 2007 to 2008, increases in first-time, full-time enrollment of foreign students on temporary visas was 11 percent, which outpaced the 5.9 percent for U.S. citizens and permanent residents in S&E fields. The decline in 2003-04 was driven by decreasing foreign enrollment.

The InfoBrief, NSF 10-320, may be read at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf10320/nsf10320.pdf *

 

 

NRC: NEW TECHNOLOGIES CAN RESULT IN LESS FUEL CONSUMPTION, HIGHER PURCHASE PRICES FOR PASSENGER VEHICLES
Various combinations of commercially available technologies could greatly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and other light-duty vehicles without compromising vehicle performance or safety, says a new report by the National Research Council (NRC).  The technologies would also increase vehicle purchase costs for consumers, sometimes by as much as several thousand dollars.

"Reducing the amount of fuel we use is an important goal for the nation and for the individual consumer," said Trevor O. Jones, chair of the committee that wrote the report and chair and CEO of ElectroSonics Medical Inc.  "These technologies, whether adopted individually or in combination, offer the potential to meet that objective.  Consumers will need to consider the trade-offs between higher vehicle prices and saving fuel and money at the gas pump."

Using a 2007 base vehicle, the committee estimated the potential fuel savings and costs to consumers of available technology combinations for three types of engines: spark-ignition gasoline, compression-ignition (CI) diesel, and hybrid.  According to its estimates, adopting the full combination of improved technologies in medium and large cars and pickup trucks with spark-ignition engines could reduce fuel consumption by 29 percent at an additional cost of $2,200 to the consumer.  Replacing spark-ignition engines with diesel engines and components would yield fuel savings of about 37 percent at an added cost of approximately $5,900 per vehicle, and replacing spark-ignition engines with hybrid engines and components would reduce fuel consumption by 43 percent at an increase of $6,000 per vehicle.

The report also examined a range of non-engine vehicle technologies. Relatively minor changes that do not involve re-engineering the vehicle or require recertification for fuel economy, emissions, or safety can be implemented within the next several years.  They include reducing vehicle mass by using lighter materials, improving aerodynamics, or switching to low-rolling-resistance tires.  Two important areas of research for long-range improvements include transmission systems and light-weighting - making vehicles very light with new materials under development.

"Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles" is available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12924.

A brief summary of the report may be read at http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=12924

Rob Rains covers public policy Energy issues for ASME.  He can be reached at RainsR@asme.org.

 

 

MATH AND SCIENCE TEACHERS ACROSS THE NATION SELECTED FOR PRESIDENTIAL AWARD
Recently President Obama named 103 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  The educators will receive their awards in Washington, D.C. later this year.

"Science and technology have long been at the core of America's strength and competitiveness, and the scientists and engineers who have led America on its remarkable path to success share something very precious: science and math teachers who brought these critical subjects to life," said President Obama. "Today we honor some of the best of these teachers and thank them for their dedication. They are inspirations not just to their students, but to the Nation and the world."

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.  Each year the award alternates between mathematics and science teachers teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.  This year it goes to teachers teaching 7th through 12th grades.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.

To view the full list of recipients please click here http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-math-and-science-teachers-award-release

Melissa Carl covers public policy STEM issues for ASME.  She can be reached at CarlM@asme.org.

 

 

FRONTIERS OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION NOMINATIONS OPEN
The 2010 Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Symposium, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will take place December 13-16 in Irvine, CA. The FOEE Symposium brings together faculty members who are actively teaching in U.S. engineering programs and have recently implemented significant innovations in their classes.

The 2010 Symposium will be organized around four pedagogical topics:

  • Active learning in the classroom: incorporating activities to keep students cognitively active during class;
  • Project-based learning: including classroom projects that relate to real-world situations;
  • Engaging students in self-directed learning: encouraging students to take initiative and responsibility for their own learning; and,
  • Learning technologies: using technology to enhance engagement and learning.

NAE invites the nominations of engineering faculty who are making contributions in one of these areas of engineering education. Nominees might be faculty members who were recently reviewed for promotion and tenure who demonstrated innovation in their teaching. Alternatively, they might be professors who have received institutional teaching awards that recognized their innovative techniques, or who are involved in discussions on educational and curricular reform. Nominees need not have conducted research on engineering education nor have formally published on educational topics.

NAE is currently accepting nominations of faculty members who are within 15 year of receipt of their doctorate who are engaged in innovative projects in engineering instruction. Nominations will only be accepted from NAE Members and Deans of Engineering and are due June 18th. Nominated individuals will then be invited to submit an application. The nomination process is on-line. To obtain the link to the nomination form, e-mail Beth Cady at ecady@nae.edu.

 

 

USPTO SEEKING ENTRIES FOR "INVENT NOW COLLEGIATE INVENTORS COMPETITION"
The Invent Now Collegiate Inventors Competition, now in its 19th year, is inviting inventive students to enter its 2010 competition. The Collegiate Inventors Competition is designed to recognize and honor student innovators at the graduate and undergraduate levels. This year, nearly $80,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winning undergraduate and graduate students and advisors at a special awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the fall.    The Competition is sponsored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Abbott Fund.

The deadline for entering this year's Competition is June 25, 2010.  Entries are judged on originality of the idea, process or technology, and their potential value and usefulness to society.

Collegiate Inventors Competition winners from 2009 included: a team from Dartmouth who developed a device to filter arsenic from drinking water in third world nations;  Geoffrey von Maltzahn from MIT who created nanoparticles that communicate with each other to more effectively target therapy to tumors; Stephen Diebold from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who invented a tool to facilitate independence for quadriplegics;  and, Harris Wang from Harvard whose Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering, or MAGE, is an efficient way for faster cell programming, perhaps resulting in manufactured microorganisms.

Competition judges select ten to 12 finalists who receive an all-expense paid trip to the final judging round and awards ceremony.  National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees participate in the final round of judging, and past judges have included individuals such as Don Keck, inventor of optical fiber for communications; George Smith, 2009 Nobel Prize recipient and inventor of the charge-coupled device; and James West, inventor of the electric microphone.

Entry forms and more information on the program are available at www.invent.org/collegiate

 

 

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.