In this issue:

 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES MAJOR EXPANSION OF “EDUCATE TO INNOVATE” CAMPAIGN
On September 16th, as part of his “Educate to Innovate” campaign to raise American students to the top of the pack in science and mathematics achievement over the next decade, President Obama announced the launch of “Change the Equation,” a CEO-led effort to dramatically improve education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“Change the Equation,” a new 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is a response by the business community to the President’s “call to action” at the National Academy of Sciences in spring 2009 for all Americans to join the cause of elevating STEM education as a national priority essential to meeting the economic challenges of this century.

"Our success as a nation depends on strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation," said President Obama.  "I applaud ‘Change the Equation’ for lending their resources, expertise, and their enthusiasm to the task of strengthening America’s leadership in the 21st century by improving education in science, technology, engineering and math."

Over the next year, “Change the Equation” plans to successfully replicate privately-funded programs in 100 high-need schools and communities across the country. Examples of these programs include efforts to: “allow more students to engage in robotics competitions, improve professional development for math and science teachers, increase the number of students that take and pass rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) math and science courses, increase the number of teachers who enter the profession with a STEM undergraduate degree and provide new opportunities to traditionally underrepresented students and underserved communities.”   “Change the Equation” will also create a state-by-state “scorecard” to highlight areas for state-level improvement, and help companies increase the impact of their own engagement in STEM education.

“Change the Equation” was founded by astronaut Sally Ride, former Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, and Eastman Kodak CEO Antonio Perez, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  "Change the Equation" currently has a membership of 100 CEOs, and funding of $5 million for its first year of operations.

To review the President’s full remarks, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/16/remarks-president-announcement-change-equation-initiative

Additional information about this initiative can be found at:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/16/president-obama-announce-major-expansion-educate-innovate-campaign-impro

Also, on September 16th, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its long-awaited STEM study entitled, “Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for America’s Future.”  As mentioned in the September 7, 2010 edition of Capitol Update, the report was recently approved by PCAST at its September 2, 2010 meeting. 

Some of the report’s recommendations include:

  • “Recruit and train 100,000 great STEM teachers over the next decade who are able to prepare and inspire students;
  • Recognize and reward the top five percent of the nation’s STEM teachers, by creating a STEM master teacher corps;
  • Create 1,000 new STEM-focused schools over the next decade;
  • Support the current state-led movement for shared standards in math and science.”

While existing federal funding of current programs can be used to carry out many of the report’s recommendations, the report does not provide a detailed budgetary analysis.

For more information about the report, including a copy of its executive summary, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast/docsreports

Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education issues for ASME.  She can be reached at: carlm@asme.org. **

 

 

NEW NSB REPORT FOCUSES ON STEPS TO NURTURE ‘STEM INNOVATORS’
On Wednesday, the National Science Board (NSB) released a new report, “Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation’s Human Capital,” which was the culmination of the NSB STEM Innovators project, a two-year effort that explored “ways that the country can foster the development of our next generation of leading STEM professionals, entrepreneurs, and inventors.”

Of the report’s release, the NSB said in a written statement, “The development of our nation’s capital through our education system is an essential building block for future innovation.  Currently, the abilities of far too many of America’s young men and women go unrecognized and underdeveloped, and thus, these individuals may fail to reach their potential.  This represents both a loss for the individual and society. There are students with high potential from every demographic and from every part of the country, who with hard work and the proper educational opportunities, will form the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) innovators.”

Additionally, Dr. Camilla Benbow, leader of the STEM Innovators Task group, referenced longitudinal data from her own research that showed that “intellectually talented individuals identified and trained at an early age generate a disproportionate number of Fortune 500 patents, peer-reviewed STEM publications, and other creative achievements, and comprise a disproportionate number of tenured faculty at top universities.”

Recommendations of the report center around three key areas: “providing opportunities for excellence, casting a wide net to identify all types of talent from all demographic groups, and fostering a supportive ecosystem that nurtures and celebrates excellence and innovative thinking."

Some of the NSB’s specific recommendations include:

  • Increasing access and quality of advanced coursework for students;
  • Supporting world-class STEM content preparation for teachers;
  • Strengthening  the technological capabilities and network infrastructure in rural and low-income areas, and expanding cyber-learning opportunities;
  • Improving student talent assessment systems; and,
  • Creating a national campaign geared toward highlighting and appreciating academic excellence in STEM.

To review the 62-page report in its entirety, please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/stem/innovators.jsp

Additional information about the NSB can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/

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

 

 

SECRETARY CHU ANNOUNCES SIMULATION-BASED ENGINEERING USER CENTER
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu this week announced the creation of the Simulation-Based Engineering User Center (SBEUC) that will facilitate collaborative computational research for energy applications. Funded with $20 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the SBEUC will be primarily used for developing and deploying the simulation tools developed under the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Simulation Initiative. Through enhanced ability to predict industrial scale performance, the development of the SBEUC will accelerate the research and development of CCS technologies and support the Administration's goal to overcome the barriers to widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years.

"Today's announcement represents a major step forward in the fight to reduce carbon emissions from coal-based power plants," said Secretary Chu. "This center will not only help fight climate change, it will create new jobs and position the United States as a leader in carbon capture and storage technologies for years to come."

The SBEUC will focus its resources in two primary areas:

  • Development of a high performance computing user center as a platform for utilization of the advanced simulation tools; and,
  • Accelerating the deployment of industrial carbon capture technology through enhanced ability to predict industrial scale performance.

Located at the Department's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the SBEUC will be powered by a high performance computer that will allow researchers to simulate phenomena that are difficult or impossible to probe experimentally. The results from simulations will become accessible through user centers that provide advanced visualization capabilities and foster collaboration among researchers. The SBEUC will be used for developing and deploying simulation tools required for overcoming energy technology barriers quickly and reliably.
 
For additional information about the SBEUC, please visit: http://www.energy.gov/news/9503.htm

More information about the CCS Simulation Initiative can be found at: http://www.energy.gov/news/9460.htm

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

 

 

NSF LAUNCHES CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced 15 awardees who will take the lead in planning collaborations across the United States as part of the Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) program. This program will connect climate scientists, experts in theories on how people learn science, and formal and informal education experts, with the goal of increasing public understanding of global climate change and preparing the next generation of scientists and educators.

Each partnership will work to identify and disseminate scientifically accurate educational resources. "It takes time for modern science to make it into textbooks," says Dave Campbell, a program director at NSF, "so teachers rely on websites and news clips in order to introduce these concepts into the classroom. Eventually, the materials developed through this program will help both classroom teachers and educators working in informal learning settings such as museums and parks, address students' questions about climate change from a solid scientific basis."

The program is organized around both environmental themes and geographic regions, since climate change has varied effects depending on the part of the country. The lead primary investigators will issue sub-awards in order to increase the breadth of the partnerships to meet the educational needs of each environmental theme or geographic region.

Phase I of the program is a two-year strategic planning period during which each partnership will conduct a thorough needs analysis and identify key stakeholders and effective educational resources that can help to address those needs. Full implementation of these plans in Phase II is expected to begin in fiscal year 2012.

For more information about the 15 awardees, please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117685&org=OLPA&from=news

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

 

 

CHALLENGE.GOV INVITES CITIZENS TO SOLVE THE NATION’S CHALLENGES
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) last week unveiled Challenge.gov (http://challenge.gov/), a new online site and digital platform where entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizen solvers can compete for prestige and prizes by providing novel solutions to tough national problems, large and small.  Challenge.gov features over 35 challenges posed by more than 15 government agencies. They range from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Game Day Challenge for the university that best reduces and recycles waste at college football games to a $10 million prize, sponsored in part by the Department of Energy, for building vehicles with fuel-efficiencies exceeding 100 miles per gallon.

“Challenge.gov marks a dramatic departure from business as usual,” said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, noting that prizes allow the government to articulate a bold goal without having to predict which team or approach is most likely to succeed, increasing the number and diversity of minds tackling tough problems and paying only for results. “Prizes engage our nation’s top talent as co-creators in the search for solutions, and help the Nation accelerate innovation while achieving better results.”

The challenges are grouped by category: defense; economy; education; environment; health; international affairs; jobs; science and technology; and, personal and public safety. Participating agencies include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Department of Energy (DOE); Department of Defense (DOD); Department of Education (ED); and, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To view the challenges associated with a specific agency, go to: http://challenge.gov/ and click on the appropriate link.

A listing of the various challenges, along with the prizes for each, may be viewed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/challenge-gov-fact-sheet.pdf.

 

 

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.