FYI Archive

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.

4 Oct 2017

Last week, five representatives from the scientific community testified at a House Science Committee hearing on the August total eclipse, discussing eclipse-enabled research opportunities, future capabilities in heliophysics, and solar weather research and preparedness. They also spoke about the expansive public engagement efforts associated with the event.

4 Oct 2017

On Sept. 25, President Trump directed the Department of Education to annually commit at least $200 million of existing grant funds to activities that expand access to STEM and computer science education. The order makes clear that STEM education is an administration priority, although it contrasts with Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2018, which called for the elimination of several DOEd programs that support STEM education.

2 Oct 2017

Science agencies have stable funding as they begin fiscal year 2018 under a continuing resolution. However, their long-term outlook is less clear, as they wait for annual appropriations to be finalized and prepare for the fiscal year 2019 budget request. The deadline has just passed for them to submit “agency reform plans” detailing workforce and program cuts to be implemented over the next several years.


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