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2023 Year in Review: Influencing, Educating and Advancing the Role of Engineering in Washington and Around the World

2023 Year in Review: Influencing, Educating and Advancing the Role of Engineering in Washington and Around the World

ASME Global Public Affairs 2023 Year in Review 
For over 50 years and counting, ASME has had an office in Washington DC, which has been a vital hub for many of the society’s activities including government relations and public policy development, engineering education, philanthropic outreach, and more. The DC office has advocated for ASME members’ interests by serving as “the voice of engineering” in the halls of government around the world. ASME Government Relations facilitates diverse programs and initiatives, allowing members across career stages to contribute their engineering expertise to drive impactful public policy, fostering the shared goal of "engineering the greater good." 

In 2023, our community's collective expertise, influence, and voice could be felt and heard at every level. From participating in the National Standards Strategy roll-out at the White House to highlighting engineering challenges and opportunities through briefings, virtual conferences, and op-ed articles, it was a banner year. We are proud to share some highlights of the past year!  

After Supporting Passage of CHIPS and Science Act, ASME Urged Congress to Fully Fund Related Programs 
After strongly advocating for passage of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, ASME’s collective voice was heard again as ASME CEO/Executive Director Thomas Costabile and U.S. Representative Sean Casten (D-IL) co-authored an op-ed in The Hill newspaper, urging Congress to fully fund related programs in the FY24 budget. 

As they wrote: “America’s strengths in science, engineering, and technology are at the heart of our national prosperity and our hopes of solving the world’s most pressing challenges, including climate change and economic growth. And yet, for decades, the federal government has under-invested in science and technology. Now, there’s a golden opportunity to do better, and we must seize it on a bipartisan basis.” 
The CHIPS and Science Act, which passed with strong bipartisan support, allocates $52 billion to spark U.S. manufacturing and R&D of computer chips critical to U.S. competitiveness and national security. The bill also authorizes funding for key research agencies like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and NASA–paving the way to pioneering work in science and engineering over the next decade. 

Read the full op-ed here

The White House Invited ASME to Contribute to the National Standards Strategy Roll-Out 
When the Biden Administration rolled out the first-ever National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies, ASME was there at the White House, represented by ASME Chief Strategy Officer Michael Johnson.  

The event focused on how to invigorate the United States’ rules-based approach to international standards for CETs. The Strategy is aimed at accelerating private-sector-led standards efforts, contributing to interoperability, and promoting U.S. competitiveness and innovation. 

 As a respected voice for engineering and recognized for setting engineering standards worldwide, ASME was invited along with other industry leaders, government officials, and technical experts. 
Learn more here

ASME Joined with Peers in Raising Issues with the New U.S. Open Access Policy 
In August 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) declared that researchers who want to continue to receive federal grants must make all scientific publications resulting from those grants publicly available. On its face, this sounds simple and even laudable—but it isn’t all that simple and it definitely has far-reaching consequences.  

As one of the world’s largest engineering societies and as a significant publisher of engineering-related books, journals, and proceedings, ASME joined with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and other industry peers to raise our concerns about a policy that will significantly disrupt and potentially damage the future of U.S. scientific publishing.  

In 2023, ASME remained steadfast in its advocacy efforts, pushing for a sustainable and inclusive scientific publishing ecosystem. As a result of these on-going endeavors, ASME CEO/Executive Director Thomas Costabile and IEEE-USA President Eduardo Palacio joined forces in this illuminating op-ed published in The Hill newspaper. 

Read the full op-ed here

ASME Advanced Its Climate Change Policy Position and the Role of Engineers 
Enabled by the ASME Board of Governors and with the support of our Sustainability Steering Committee and volunteer leaders, ASME advanced our organizational Climate Strategy, which will allow our organization to scale its historic impact on behalf of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to which ASME has been committed since their inception. The Global Public Affairs team played a pivotal role in advocating for policies that recognize nuclear energy as a crucial component within the clean energy portfolio imperative for achieving net-zero emissions. Through the work of engineers, ASME is actively engaged in shaping hydrogen policies and highlighting its significance as a clean energy solution, moving us closer to creating a more sustainable future.  
During Climate Week in October, ASME hosted a series of gatherings at ASME headquarters and other venues in New York to discuss special issues of significance, from workforce development projections to future energy needs.  
ASME also launched a new Committee on Sustainability, tasked with ensuring that our approach is informed by evidence and supported by qualified leadership. 

Read more on ASME’s Position on Climate Change here

ASME “Policy Impact” Event Convenes Leaders of Government, Industry, and Engineering  
Recent legislation, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, will have major impacts on the engineering community, particularly in the areas of energy, sustainability, and climate change.  
During ASME’s annual “Policy Impact” advocacy event, leaders of ASME, government, and industry came together to discuss what these developments mean for engineering—and how the ASME community can stay involved. 

We successfully conducted over 50 congressional visits with ASME members and Dr. Sally Benson, Deputy Director for Energy for the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, served as our keynote speaker.  

In 2024, we’re creating a year-round Policy Impact Series featuring several in-person and virtual events on key issues. Please let us know if you want to be involved and subscribe to our Capitol Update e-newsletter.  

Contributing to the Dialogue Through Congressional Briefings  
Throughout the year, ASME’s Government Relations team convenes Congressional briefings to inform Members of Congress and their staffs about the science, engineering, and technology aspects of public policy issues aligned with ASME's Technology Strategy. 
In 2023, we held briefings on topics including biomanufacturing for regenerative medicine; deploying advanced nuclear technologies at scale; and addressing workforce development needs for the future of AI and STEM. Panels were comprised of ASME experts and federal agency officials who possessed firsthand knowledge that directly informed policy makers. These briefings not only informed policy makers but fostered collaboration between various sectors. ASME is committed to encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to addressing societal challenges and fostering innovation.  
Learn more here

ASME Federal Fellows Program Celebrates 50 Years at the Heart of Engineering and Policy 
ASME was the first technical society to place experts in federal government fellowships, and in 2023, we celebrated the program’s 50th anniversary!  

ASME selects a cohort of brilliant engineers for a one-year Federal Fellowship, in which they are placed in the White House and key federal agencies to advise on technical and engineering policy. ASME Federal Fellows gain a front-row seat to government in action and professional connections that will benefit them throughout their career.  

With science, technology, and engineering at the heart of many of our nation’s policies—and with relatively few policymakers having an engineering background—ASME’s Federal Fellows provide relationships and expertise to help shape emerging policies and laws. 

ASME CEO/Executive Director Tom Costabile was invited by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to attend an event at the State Department honoring ASME and our partners at AAAS for 50 years of our respective Fellows programs. Secretary Blinken acknowledged the value of engineering and other technical fellows to the federal government, saying: “It is vital that these fellowships continue!” 

In fact, applications are currently being accepted through January 31, 2024, for the 2024-25 cohort. Please help spread the word to the engineers in your network to apply for this career-boosting, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  
Learn more and apply here

Building and Strengthening ASME’s Relationships on Capitol Hill 
Since the opening of ASME’s Washington, D.C. office 50 years ago, the organization has built a reputation in Washington, D.C. as a trusted resource on all things engineering. In 2023, ASME CEO/Executive Director Thomas Costabile participated in more than a dozen meetings with policymakers in Congress and at key federal agencies, including Senator Alex Padilla, Representative Chuck Fleischmann, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and more. It is essential to keep those relationships strong and build coalitions of mutual support. 

ASME Supports World Standards Day: "A Shared Vision for a Better World” 
On World Standard Day, we joined the global standards community in Washington, D.C. to recognize the importance of working together to solve the world’s greatest problems through engineering, science, and technology. United, we can achieve more through standardization, developing solutions to the complex global challenges of sustainability, safety, security, and climate change to leave a better, more resilient, and more equitable world for the next generation.    

Learn more here

Participating as a Delegate at ASNI-ESO in Brussels  
This year ASME was invited to take part in a critical dialogue hosted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the European Standards Organizations (ESO) in Brussels.  The ESO includes the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). ASME representatives highlighted the impact that the Society is having via our many programs and initiatives supporting many of the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals. As a global standards development organization, we always look forward to collaborative discussions on standards and related topics to strengthen the transatlantic economy and more effectively overcome the many global challenges we all currently face. 






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