FYI Bulletin is a news service covering science policy developments in Washington, DC, with a focus on the physical sciences.

1 Nov 2017

Appropriators of both parties appear increasingly united in opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed 10 percent cap on research overhead reimbursements at the National Institutes of Health.

27 Oct 2017

The Government Accountability Office has agreed to evaluate the state of scientific integrity at federal agencies at the request of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who says he is concerned about reports of political interference in scientific work. Some Republicans, meanwhile, are pressing reforms to agency procedures that they claim will bolster the quality of agency science.

25 Oct 2017

William Easterling, who began a four-year appointment at the helm of the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Directorate this summer, recently outlined how he plans to steer the organization through budgetary and political headwinds.

24 Oct 2017

While a few leaders in the scientific community have expressed concern that U.S. withdrawal from the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will obstruct long-term international scientific collaboration, the U.S. plans to continue supporting and participating in UNESCO science programs as well as other international science efforts.

20 Oct 2017

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced a bill that would make significant changes to peer review and public access policies for federally funded research, such as requiring that a “taxpayer advocate” sit on every grant review panel. Coincident with the bill introduction, Paul convened a hearing at which he asserted that the amount of “silly” studies funded by federal agencies is evidence of a need to reform the system.

19 Oct 2017

Scientists are hailing the observation of gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation from a collision of two neutron stars as marking a new era of multi-messenger astrophysics. It is a field of research enabled by expansive international collaboration between facilities of all sizes, and its first success is likely to lead to the further development of its infrastructure.

18 Oct 2017

Following President Trump’s nomination of AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, some community leaders have expressed support while others have reservations about his lack of scientific background and potential conflicts of interest. Myers’ recent congressional testimony sheds light on his views on a number of science-related topics.

13 Oct 2017

The National Science Foundation is seeking input from the research community as it develops a congressionally mandated strategy for adressing mid-scale research infrastructure needs. Enhancing support for such projects — which historically have been ineligible for funds from NSF’s two foundation-wide infrastructure grant programs — is one of its 10 “big ideas” for future investment.

11 Oct 2017

At a hearing last week, members of the House Science Committee heard testimony about the status of domestic plutonium-238 supplies, an essential fuel for many robotic science missions. A Government Accountability Office report released at the same time recommends that the Department of Energy improve its long-term planning for producing Pu-238 and associated power systems.

5 Oct 2017

A National Academies study committee is currently conducting a decadal survey for materials research at the request of the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. The committee is seeking broad input from materials science and engineering stakeholders as it prepares a final report for completion in early 2018.

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