A Periodic Federal Science Update

Congress Returns From Memorial Day Recess; Set to Start on FY 2019 Appropriations Bill – As Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess it is set to take up several appropriations measures for FY 2019.  In the House, a so-called “minibus” is scheduled for floor action.  The Energy and Water, Military Construction-VA, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Bills will be packaged together and debated next week.  The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up its version of a Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill.  The FY 2018 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill, the bill that funds NSF, NOAA, and NASA, is scheduled for subcommittee mark up during the week of June 11.  Below is a chart comparing the FY 2019 allocations made to each House and Senate appropriations subcommittee based on the budget agreement reached in February to adjust the statutory spending caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019.  These allocations will ultimately have to be reconciled via the conference process that usually occurs later on in the FY 2019 appropriations process.

NOAA Releases Saltonstall-Kennedy Funding Opportunity -- The Saltonstall-Kennedy Act established a fund (known as the S-K fund) used by the Secretary of Commerce to provide grants or cooperative agreements for fisheries research and development projects addressing aspects of U.S. fisheries, including, but not limited to, harvesting, processing, marketing, and associated business infrastructures. The goal of the S-K program is to fund projects that address the needs of fishing communities, optimize economic benefits by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, and increase other opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable. The FY19 solicitation seeks applications that address the following priorities: promotion, development, and marketing; marine aquaculture; and support of science that maximizes fishing opportunities, revenue and jobs in U.S. fisheries while ensuring the long-term sustainability of marine resources.  Grants and cooperative agreements are made on a competitive basis (subject to availability of funding) to assist in carrying out projects related to U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries.  Additional information on this funding opportunity can be found here.

DOD Releases Funding Opportunity – Bilateral Academic Research Initiative (BARI) Pilot Program -- The BARI program supports basic research in science and engineering stemming from interactive collaborative efforts between U.S. institutions of higher education and U.K. institutions of higher education that is of potential interests to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.K Ministry of Defense (MOD). The program is focused on international collaborative research efforts where teams from the United States and the United Kingdom combine unique skillsets and approaches to provide rapid advances in scientific areas of mutual interests to the U.S. DoD and UK MOD. The area of interest is artificial intelligence (AI) and collaborative decision making. The research goal is to progress beyond collaborative human-machine sense making to develop approaches that might also enable collaborative decision making. The end goal is for humans and technology to be effective parts of the same team, with a machine behaving as an equal team member that can reason as well as its human team mates.  Award sizes are expected to range from $1 million to $3 million.  More information on the BARI funding opportunity can be found here.

USAID Requests Input for Forthcoming Funding Opportunity Related to Food Security Research -- USAID seeks to implement a Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Research, Capacity and Policy Influence, aiming to advance food security policy through high quality, relevant research from credible research institutions. The Innovation Lab is supposed to deliver on this vision by: strengthening the capacities of select country and regional research institutions to undertake research that is relevant and sound, to communicate findings in ways that are more likely to influence policy-makers, and to better manage their organizations so they can be sustainable over time; and implementing a global research agenda. USAID is seeking comments on this initiative to guide the development of final Notice of Funding Opportunity expected to be released in September 2018 with an anticipated award date of March 2019, subject to availability of appropriations.  More information is available here.

NOAA Releases Deep Sea Exploration Initiative Related to National Marine Sanctuaries – NOAA’s FY18 Deep-Sea Exploration, Characterization, and Education in National Marine Sanctuaries funding opportunity is being offered to explore and document the deep-sea oceanography, marine habitats, cultural sites, and living and non-living resources in and around national marine sanctuaries to better understand their biology, ecology, geology, and cultural resources. The research should use deep-sea technology and telepresence communication systems to create high-end 4K imagery, collect critical data and information, and create derived products with that data, including maps of deep-water regions in the National Marine Sanctuary System. In addition, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) strives to engage broad audiences to enhance America’s environmental literacy through the excitement of ocean discovery. This deep-sea research should utilize telepresence technology from the research platform to beam high resolution images and video to distributed land-based locations to engaged distributed science parties, as well as to locations accessible to the general public and formal and informal educators and their associated facilities. ONMS regularly forms such collaborations to reach out to the public in innovative ways to improve the literacy of learners with respect to ocean issues.  More information on this funding opportunity can be found here.

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