2014 in Review: Highlights from FYI

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Publication date: 
15 January 2015

A review of selected developments covered in FYI in 2014, categorized by the month of the issue date.  See the 2014 FYI archive for the full issue. 


President Obama signed a massive appropriations bill providing funding for the nine remaining months of FY 2014.  The Air Force announced the possible relocation of its Office of Scientific Research.  The President’s State of the Union mentioned the importance of basic research to American competitiveness.  The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and NASA announced an extension of the International Space Station until at least 2024, and reaffirmed support for a proposed mission to retrieve a near-Earth asteroid. 


A Senate hearing on a bipartisan critical minerals bill drew uniform and enthusiastic support.  Citing a legislatively-mandated accounting change, the DOE Office of Science announced reduced success rates for new and renewal grants and cooperative agreements for the next three to five years.  The National Research Council released an updated report on high magnetic field research.  The National Science Board issued Science and Engineering Indicators 2014.  Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced his retirement at the end of the current session of Congress.


The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology discussed the irreproducibility of scientific data.  President Obama submitted his FY 2015 budget request to Congress; changes in program budgets tracked by FYI ranged from a 33.2 percent requested increase to a 23.8 percent requested decrease.   Senior House leaders asked NASA to consider a Mars Human Flyby Mission in 2021.  A subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved a reauthorization bill for the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology.  House appropriators expressed strong support for NSF and the DOE Office of Science in hearings.


The White House unveiled a Climate Data Initiative.  House Science Committee members expressed concern about the NASA budget request.  The House passed a bill to reorganize the weather resources of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.   OSTP released a report on coordinating federal STEM education programs.  The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel published a summary report of its latest assessment for policy makers.  A key hearing on NASA’s budget request was marked by disagreements between House appropriators and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.  The Air Force announced that its Office of Scientific Research would remain in Arlington VA.  A hearing by a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee discussed management problems at the National Nuclear Security Administration.  The National Science Board criticized the House NSF reauthorization bill.  DOE requested comments on a new accelerator stewardship program.  The House Science Committee approved a bipartisan NASA reauthorization bill. 


NASA held an exploration forum to discuss its proposed pathway to Mars.  Senate appropriators criticized the FY 2015 NASA request.   A report was presented to the White House on applied optics and photonics research.  The House Science Committee approved an NSF and NIST reauthorization bill on a party-line vote. 


A Senate hearing on a global climate change report found committee members divided along party lines.  The National Academies published a human spaceflight study.   A House hearing examined administrative burdens associated with federally funded research.  An upbeat hearing was held on a new report by the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5).


NASA security protocols were criticized for being confusing, uneven, and uncoordinated at a House hearing.   The White House issued a veto threat for the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report described significant management challenges to DOE’s support of the ITER program.  A House hearing demonstrated considerable support for ITER.


A Senate bill was introduced to reauthorize NSF, NIST and other S&T programs.  The Administration requested public input on a Strategy for American Innovation.  Hearings were held on nanotechnology and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. 


GAO issued a report on management and funding problems affecting the Space Launch System rocket.  The House Science Committee chairman and subcommittee chairman expressed concern about a NASA statement to shift the schedule for the Space Launch System.  NASA announced the selection of two Commercial Crew transportation contractors.  Congress passed a short term bill to continue funding in FY 2015. 


The Air Force announced an upcoming competition for an integrated photonics manufacturing institute.  The House Science Committee chairman explained that his review of NSF grants will continue into 2015.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman announced her plans to resign. 


The White House issued a report recommending the establishment of nanotechnology grand challenges.  DOE released a report recommending new approach for the disposal of defense nuclear waste.  The Secretary of Defense launched a Defense Innovative Initiative.  Mildred Dresselhaus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Final funding legislation was enacted for FY 2015, with budgetary changes ranging from an increase of 15.0 percent to a decrease of 17.3 percent for programs tracked by FYI.  The Orion and the Space Launch System were the subject of a hearing by a subcommittee of the House Science Committee.  A subcommittee held a hearing on next generation nuclear reactors and future energy policy.  NSF and the chairman of the House Science Committee released statements about the foundation’s grant making process.