A Periodic Federal Science Update

Northeastern Association of Marine and Great Lakes Laboratories (NEAMGLL) to Meet – On July 24 and 25 NEAMGLL will meet at the Bowdoin College’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center in Harpswell, Maine.  The agenda for this summer meeting includes:  updates from each of the lab directors present, tours of the facilities at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center, a public policy update, a session on lab-based environmental networks with a number of speakers including Jen Seavey from the Northeastern Coastal Stations Alliance and Curtis Bohlen of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.  There will also be an optional site visit to the University of Marine’s Darling Marine Center located on the Darmiscotta River.

New Aquaculture Legislation Introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) -- Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has recently introduced the “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act.” The legislation, S. 3138, would streamline the permitting process for aquaculture farms in federal waters, and fund research and development to advance the aquaculture industry. The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla.  Aquaculture refers to the farming of fish and plants in water for food. Over 90 percent of the seafood in the United States is imported, 50 percent of which is derived from aquaculture. The AQUAA Act would establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which would be charged with coordinating the federal permitting process. Additionally, a permit would be established through NOAA that would give an individual the security of tenure necessary to secure financing for an aquaculture operation. The legislation attempts to maintain environmental standards and fund research and extension services to support the growth of aquaculture in the United States.

NIH to Request Proposals for New Pain Center Grant -- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for a Clinical Coordinating Center (CCC) for a new Clinical Trials Network on Pain Research (CTNPR).  The CTNPR is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative. The network will be charged with testing novel, non-addictive treatments for patients suffering from acute or chronic pain conditions. The CTNPR will harness multidisciplinary expertise in pain science and clinical research to collaboratively design and conduct Phase 2 multicenter clinical trials testing novel pain treatments. It will also perform validation studies of biomarkers with promise to inform target engagement or proof of principle in Phase 2 clinical trials.  The CTNPR will be composed of one CCC, one Data Coordinating Center (DCC), and approximately 10 clinical centers (Hubs).  The Hubs will be Centers of Excellence with physicians with pain expertise from neurology, anesthesiology, rheumatology, physical medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, orthopedics, gastroenterology, and other subspecialties providing care to patients with pain.  Each Hub is envisioned as a regional medical center that will enroll patients along with its network of 2-10 satellite sites (Spokes).  The CCC and the leaders of the Clinical sites will play a critical role designing clinical trial protocols to be conducted in the CTNPR.   The FOA is expected to be published in July 2018 with an expected application due date in September 2018. This FOA will utilize the U24 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are available here.

House Passes Reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens Act -- On July 11, The House approved legislation to overhaul the nation's major fishing law, passing the update largely along party.  H.R. 200, the "Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act," passed the House on a 222-193 vote. The bill aims to overhaul how the federal government manages the nation’s fisheries. The measure would make significant changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a 1976 law that’s been credited with boosting fish stocks through restrictions on overfishing, among other successes. H.R. 200 would give more authority to local fishery councils to set fishing standards such as limits and seasons. It would allow for longer timelines for species recovery, or no timelines at all in some circumstances, and let fishery councils use alternative standards for measuring the health of a fishery. The legislation is supported by recreational fishing groups and opposed by conservationists and major commercial fishing organizations who argue that it would threaten sustainable fishing practices that have helped revitalize many important species.

W. Russell Callender Named Director of Washington Sea Grant -- Dr. W. Russell Callender will become the next Director of the Washington Sea Grant program in September.  Dr. Callender is a committed champion for coastal science and conservation and brings more than 30 years of experience in science, policy, and management to Washington Sea Grant.  This includes several years as the Assistant Director of the Virginia Sea Grant Program. He has spent the last eighteen years at NOAA, and most recently, as the Assistant Administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, where he managed a yearly budget of $565 million and oversaw the work of more 1,700 individuals over 50 locations nationwide.

Draft Report on Federal Priorities for Ocean Science and Technology Released for Public Comment – On June 27 the Administration released a draft interagency report entitled Science and Technology for America’s Oceans: A Decadal Vision. The draft report was prepared by the interagency Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST).  The Administration is requesting comment by August 27, 2018.  America’s unrestricted access to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Western Rivers, Great Lakes, and Arctic region powers domestic and global commerce. The ease of moving cargo and people beyond its coasts fuels the Nation’s competitive advantage, advances trade, generates capital, and drives the domestic economy forward, in turn projecting strength abroad and safeguarding its national interests. Ensuring responsible ocean stewardship with science and technology (S&T) breakthroughs depends on a strategic Federal portfolio supported by foundational basic research. Science and Technology for America’s Oceans: A Decadal Vision identifies research needs and areas of opportunity within the ocean S&T enterprise for the coming decade, 2018-2028. This vision identifies five goals to advance U.S. ocean S&T and the Nation in the coming decade: (1) Understand the Ocean in the Earth System; (2) Promote Economic Prosperity; (3) Ensure Maritime Security; (4) Safeguard Human Health; and (5) Develop Resilient Coastal Communities. Each goal is supplemented with specific objectives and actionable priorities to achieve those objectives.  More information on this report and instructions for submitting comments can be found here

Members of New STEM Education Advisory Panel Announced -- Last week, the National Science Foundation announced the initial membership roster of the newly formed STEM Education Advisory Panel. Created by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, its primary duty is to advise the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM), an interagency coordination body that is responsible for developing five-year strategic plans for federal STEM education programs. CoSTEM is due to issue an update to the current plan by the end of fiscal year 2018.  The panel is composed for individuals from nonprofit, business, academic and informal education organizations including Dr. Jacqueline Huntoon, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Michigan Technological University.

Bluefin Tuna Research Program -- The BTRP program provides opportunity to compete for financial assistance for projects which seek to increase and improve the working relationship between fisheries researchers from the NMFS, state fishery agencies, universities, other research institutions and U.S. fishery interests (recreational and commercial) focusing on northern bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. The program is a means of advancing research objectives to address the information needs to improve the science-based fisheries management for Atlantic bluefin tuna. This program addresses NOAA's mission goal to "Protect, Restore, and Manage the Use of Coastal and Ocean Resources through an Ecosystem Approach to Management.".  The FY 2018 funding opportunity is available here.

Lane Genatowski to be Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy at the Department of Energy -- Mr. Genatowski is currently a managing partner in investments in Dividend Income Advisors, a firm he founded in 2012.  Prior to that, Mr. Genatowski was a senior energy investment banker and business group manager at JP Morgan Chase, Kidder, Peabody, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.  His involvement in the energy industry started in 1976 as an attorney at Hawkins, Delafield & Wood in New York.  Mr. Genatowski earned a bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.  He currently resides in Houston, Texas.

James Morhard Nominated to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- Mr. Morhard currently serves as the U.S. Senate Deputy Sergeant at Arms.  Previously, he served as Staff Director of the Senate Appropriations Committee where he managed the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. Mr. Morhard began his career in the Secretary of the Navy’s Office of the Comptroller. He earned his B.S. in accounting from St. Francis University, M.B.A from George Washington University, and J.D. from Georgetown University.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had been publicly promoting Janet Kavandi, Director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center and a former astronaut, for the slot.

William Bryan to be the Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security --Mr. Bryan currently serves as Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  As the science and technology advisor to the DHS Secretary, he leads the research, development, innovation, and testing activities in support of DHS operational components and first responders across the Nation.  Previously, he was the President of ValueBridge International’s Energy Group and held leadership roles in the Departments of Energy Defense.  Mr. Bryan is a United States Army veteran.  He graduated summa cum laude from Colorado Technical University and earned his M.S. from the Joint Military Intelligence College.

Scott Hutchins to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics at the Department of Agriculture -- Dr. Hutchins currently serves as the global leader of integrated field sciences for Corteva Agriscience and as an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska.  Previously, he served as president of the Entomological Society of America.  Dr. Hutchins earned his B.S. in entomology from Auburn University, M.A. from Mississippi State University, and Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

F. Fleming Crim Rejoins NSF as Chief Operating Officer – Dr. Fleming Crim, who served for several years at NSF as its Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, has returned to NSF as its Chief Operating Officer.  He was welcomed back to NSF during the National Science Board meeting that took place on July 18.

Department of Homeland Security to Host National Cybersecurity Summit -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will host a National Cybersecurity Summit on July 31, 2018 at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York City, New York. The DHS National Cybersecurity Summit will bring together a broad group of representatives from across government including officials from Department of Defense, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy, and Department of Treasury. They will be joined by academia and industry CEOs across sectors including telecom, financial, and energy to lay out a vision for a collective defense model to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure. Through panels, keynote addresses, and breakout sessions, the summit will serve as a launching point for a number of DHS initiatives to advance cybersecurity and critical infrastructure risk management.

DARPA Defense Sciences Office Sponsors Proposers Day for Space Environment Exploitation (SEE) Program -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is sponsoring a Proposers Day to provide information to potential proposers on the objectives of an anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Space Environment Exploitation (SEE) program. The Proposers Day will be held on July 31, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM at the Executive Conference Center (4075 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22203). The event will be webcast for those who would like to participate remotely. Advance registration is required both for attending the Proposers Day in person and for viewing the webcast.  Additional information regarding this SN can be found here.  

DARPA Defense Science Office Funding Opportunity -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is issuing a Disruption Opportunity (DO) Special Notice (SN) inviting submissions of innovative basic research concepts exploring radically new architectures and approaches in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that incorporate prior knowledge, such as known physical laws, to augment sparse data and to ensure robust operation. The Physics of AI (PAI) basic research Disruption Opportunity aims to develop novel AI architectures, algorithms and approaches that “bake in” the physics, mathematics and prior knowledge relevant to an application domain in order to address the technical challenges in application of AI in scientific discovery, human-AI collaboration, and a variety of defense applications. Additional information regarding this DO can be found here.