A Periodic Federal Science Update – July 28, 2016

Technology Leaders Send Open Letter Expressing Concern about A Trump Presidency’s Impact on Innovation – On July 14, 145 leaders of the technology sector of this country released an open letter in opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Presidency.  The signatories, who all signed in their personal capacities, expressed concern about Mr. Trump’s proposed policies that would make it harder for the technology sector to attract and retain the technical workforce needed by industry.  They include other reasons for their opposition and summarize their concerns by saying: “We stand against Donald Trump’s divisive candidacy and want a candidate who embraces the ideals that built America’s technology industry: freedom of expression, openness to newcomers, equality of opportunity, public investments in research and infrastructure, and respect for the rule of law. We embrace an optimistic vision for a more inclusive country, where American innovation continues to fuel opportunity, prosperity and leadership.”

Department of the Army Funding Announcement for Robots in Manufacturing Environments – The Department of the Army has released a funding opportunity worth approximately $80 million to establish a Robots in Manufacturing Environments Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RIME-MII). The lead organization is to propose a partnership that may include businesses, manufacturing firms, academic institutions, and non-profit industry consortia. Businesses of all sizes and structures are encouraged to participate as part of a teaming arrangement to capitalize on potential niche expertise. The awardee is expected to lead a program that will be of both regional importance and national prominence. The lead organization must be able to command and engage key stakeholders across disciplines and organizations. Effective management of this effort will require a unique blend of organizational, technical, leadership, cultural, and personal skills. The lead organization will be responsible for quickly pulling together the necessary agreements and funding commitments to establish a vibrant advanced manufacturing innovation ecosystem that will support domestic competitiveness. This ecosystem must also develop sustainable programs and practices that continue to attract industry and other membership beyond the seven-year period of this agreement.  Additional information on this funding opportunity can be found here.

National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Funding Opportunity in Disaster Resilience -- The Disaster Resilience Research Grants Program at NIST seeks applications to conduct research aimed at advancing the principles of resilience in building design and building codes and standards. Research proposals must support the overall effort of developing science-based building codes by evaluating potential technologies and architectural design criteria to improve disaster resilience in the built environment. Research projects must be aligned with existing NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL) Disaster Resilience programs. Approximately $3 million is available.  NIST anticipates funding five to fifteen awards in the range of $300,000 to $1 million.  Proposals are due to NIST by September 23, 2016 and more information on this funding opportunity can be found here.

NOAA’s Climate Program Office (CPO) Announces FY 2017 Funding Opportunities -- CPO supports competitive research through three major program areas: Climate Observations and Monitoring (COM); Earth System Research and Modeling (ESRM); and Climate and Societal Interactions (CSI). Through this Announcement, CPO’s activities are seeking applications for seven individual competitions in FY 2017. Prior to submitting applications, investigators are highly encouraged to learn more about CPO and its Programs, as well as specific Program priorities for FY 2017.  The seven competitions covered by this Announcement are as follows: Ocean climate information and products; Global change climate indicators and data products for assessment; Synthesis Research: Urban Emissions from the Oil and Gas Sector; Observing and Understanding Processes Affecting the Propagation of Intra-seasonal Oscillations in the Maritime Continent Region; Advancing drought understanding, monitoring and prediction; Research to explore seasonal prediction of coastal high water levels and changing living marine resources; and Supporting Resilient Coastal Communities in a Changing Climate. More information on this funding opportunity can be found here

DoD to Hold Conference to Review its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) – On August 22 and 23 DoD will sponsor a conference to review the program’s technical and program progress and the direction of the DoD projects initiated in the FY 2014 MURI program.  The DoD MURI Program supports basic research in science and engineering at US institutions of higher education that is of potential interest to DoD. The program is focused on multidisciplinary research efforts where more than one traditional discipline interacts to provide rapid advances in scientific areas of interest to DoD.  More information on this conference can be found here.

National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML) Releases White Paper on the Value of Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Research — Earlier this month the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML) released a position paper addressed to the next Administration which focuses on the importance of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes research and education to both coastal and inland communities.  The paper was developed by a working group composed of a subset of NAML’s committee on public policy.  The mission of NAML and its three regional associations is to stimulate research and promote education in the marine sciences. NAML seeks to provide a forum for the resolution of problems common to non-profit marine laboratories in the United States. The association encourages the wise use and conservation of marine and coastal resources.  Download a copy of NAML’s white paper here.

Gulf Research Program Announces New Funding Opportunity – In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.  As part of the legal settlements, the Federal Government asked the National Academy of Sciences to establish a new program to manage a 30-year endowment of $500 million to fund and conduct activities to enhance oil system safety, human health, and environmental resources in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. outer continental shelf regions that support oil and gas production.  As part of this program a new $10 million initiative, with joint funding offered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, called Enhancing Coastal Community Resilience and Well-being in the Gulf of Mexico Region is about to be launched to support scientifically-sound research and practice projects that will develop and test information and strategies that can be used immediately by the public, public agencies, educators, community groups, policymakers and other decision makers and individuals to guide actions and plans. Proposed projects should bring together researchers, practitioners, and users of the information and strategies generated so that all relevant perspectives inform possible approaches to advancing the science and practice. Projects must be hypothesis-driven and seek to improve both the science and the practice. Learn more about this new opportunity here