|January 27, 2012|
U.S. military envisioned in the Defense Department's
FY 2013 budget will "have to be prepared to be able
to leap ahead technologically," Defense Secretary
Leon Panetta, at left, said Thursday. The budget
"leverages . . . new concepts of operations and
advances in space, cyberspace, special operations,
long-range precision strike capabilities." Panetta
spoke of "protecting or increasing investments in
cyber capabilities, the ability to project power in
denied areas, special operations forces . . .
homeland missile defense, and countering weapons of
mass destruction. In order to protect vital
investments in the future, we protected science and
technology programs as well." The defense cuts,
mandated by last year's Budget Control Act, are
drawing criticism from influential Republicans.
Comparison of the
Pentagon's 2012 and 2013 Budgets:
FY 2012 $553 571 587 598 611 622
FY 2013 531 525 534 546 556 567
A COUNTER VIEW: "Reform of defense R&D could save tens of billions of dollars while increasing support for the basic research that has powered the American economy, from radar to the Internet." So writes Subrata Ghoshroy, an electrical engineer and research associate at MIT who spent a number of years as a Hill staffer and defense analyst at the Government Accountability Office. While it's "politically dangerous" for members of Congress to oppose defense R&D, much of what's called R&D "is not research in the sense that it produces scientific and technical knowledge widely applicable inside and outside the Defense Department." A large part of it "revolves around building very expensive gadgets that are often based on unsound technology and frequently fail to perform as required."
'RACE TO THE TOP' FOR UNIVERSITIES: President Obama is proposing a $1 billion competitive grant to spur governors and state legislators to keep tuition affordable and improve student outcomes, according to CQ. A second $55 million competitive grant program would go to public and private colleges and nonprofit organizations that develop plans to boost higher education attainment. Speaking today at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Obama said: "We are putting colleges on notice: You can't assume that you'll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can't stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down."
LEAVING WHITE HOUSE: The
administration's chief technology officer, who has
sought to make government more efficient through
information technology, is "widely expected" to run
for lieutenant governor of Virginia, according to
the Washington Post.
by First Lady Michelle Obama after the State of the
Union were two entrepreneurs whose presence
symbolized the administration's drive to attract and
keep well-trained immigrants in the United States:
Mike Krieger, a Stanford-educated Brazilian who
cofounded Instagram; and Hiroyki Fujita, a Japanese
native who got a Ph.D. in physics from Case Western
Reserve and founded Quality Electrodynamics in
Cleveland. Read more.
Science Board, Science and Engineering
BUILDS TO PUBLICATIONS BILL: Ten
library and open-access advocacy groups plus the
Modern Language Association have joined opponents of
the Research Works Act, HR 3699, sponsored by Reps.
Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).
would bar federal agencies from disseminating any
private-sector research work without prior consent
of the publisher and also block policies that
require authors or their employees to assent to
dissemination of a private-sector research work. The
bill is backed by the Association of American
Publishers, although some members have dissented.
CONTINUING FINANCIAL PRESSURE: That's what the majority of colleges and universities will continue to face, Inside Higher Ed reports, citing Moody's Investors Service. Pressures include "state and federal funding cuts, concerns about costs among students and families, falling demand, and balance sheet illiquidity." Moody's sees a stable outlook for "a small number of highly rated colleges and universities."
Grads Don't Make the Grade" is the title of a report
based on a survey of "500 elite business
decision-makers" by the research firm Global
Strategy Group. The executives say recent graduates
"fall short of expectations on highly valued
attributes like problem-solving, collaboration and
written communications skills, while exceeding
expectations on little-valued social media and
technology skills." Adds one respondent: New grads
"don't have a great work ethic." The survey was
commissioned by the design firm Woods Bagot.
FOR SUSTAINABLE ENGINEERING: A
partnership of Syracuse, Carnegie Mellon, Arizona
State, and Georgia Tech, the center is holding two
workshops for faculty members who teach engineering
courses in Syracuse June 4 and 5 and June 7 and 8.
NSF will cover expenses of the workshop, ground
transportation, food, and lodging, but participants
will have to pay their own way to Syracuse. Learn
more from Carol Stokes-Cawley at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Cliff Davidson at email@example.com. Or apply.
BOOM'S ORIGINS: A
by the Breakthrough Institute traces the technology
that made the shale oil and gas boom possible to
research funded three decades ago by the Department
of Energy in the Ford administration. A Penn State
geologist, Terry Engelder, is quoted as saying,
"Funding from the federal government had a huge
impact on the evolution of the industry."
MORE SUPPORT FOR HOMELAND SECURITY S&T: Northeastern's president, President Joseph Aoun, has been joined by 11 other university leaders in appealing to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to support research by DHS's science and technology directorate in the FY 13 budget. Congress took a big bite out of S&T in FY12. The presidents write that S&T "collaborates with university partners to protect our nation's ports, coasts, borders and transportation infrastructure, prevent terrorist and cyber attacks and help make our communities more resilient."
THAT LOW GRANT SUCCESS RATE: The
18 percent success
rate -- an all-time low -- among researchers seeking
National Institutes of Health grants is not just a
matter of increased competition, ScienceInsider reports.
True, there was an eight percent rise in proposals
last year, but this included a 17 percent increase
in proposals for shortterm R21 grants. "The mainstay
for most labs is the larger R01," the
investigator-initiated grant. Read more
on research chief Sally Rockey's blog.
OUT . . . Why
the National Science Board wants clearer
explanations of the National Science Foundation's merit
NSB is holding a two-day meeting Feb. 2 and 3, but
no agenda has yet been posted.
SCIENCE PROGRAM OVERLAP: The Government Accountability Office has surveyed 209 STEM programs administered by 13 different federal agencies. It found that 83 percent of them "overlapped to some degree with at least one other program in that they offered similar services to similar target groups in similar STEM fields to achieve similar objects." They need to be "well-coordinated and guided by a robust strategic plan." The GAO study may give Congress reason to cut the $3 billion spent on the programs, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
OF EPA: Jerald
Schnoor, left, professor of civil and environmental
engineering at the University of Iowa, will be among
witnesses Feb. 3 when the House Energy and
Environment subcommittee holds a hearing on
Fostering Quality Science at EPA: Perspectives on
Common Sense Reform. The panel is chaired by
Maryland Republican Andy Harris. The
hearing will be webcast.
CYBERLAW: Comprehensive bipartisan cybersecurity legislation could hit the Senate floor as early as February, CQ reports, the product of "years' worth of negotiation and discussion."
NANO WORRIES: Even as nanomaterials have become a billion-dollar business, not enough is known about their safety, the National Research Council says in a new report. For instance, NRC says in a press release, "little progress has been made on the effects of ingested nanomaterials on human health and other potential health and environmental effects of complex nanomaterials that are expected to enter the market over the next decade." The report lays out a strategy for coordinated research. Read "Peril in Small Places," Prism's cover story on nanosafety.
NEW EXEC: Bruce Darling will become executive officer of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, succeeding William Colglazier. Darling is now vice president for laboratory management at the University of California. Read more.
REVIEWERS OF SUSTAINABILITY TEXTBOOKS: ASEE is
participating in an initiative
funded by the U.S. Department of Education to
address the Big Sustainability Questions in the
classroom. Major textbook publishers are looking for
names of potential reviewers who would be paid for
suggesting ideas about how to educate for a
sustainable future. These ideas will be used as
examples and themes in textbook revisions.
Names can be forwarded to EducationForASustainableFuture@gmail.com.
2011 ANNUAL CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS: Plenary and Distinguished lecture presentations from the 2011 Annual Conference in Vancouver, Canada are now available on the ASEE website http://www.asee.org/conferences-and-events/conferences/annual-conference/2011/program-schedule/conference-highlights
WORKSHOP - PROPOSALS SOUGHT. ASEE's
Ninth Annual Workshop on K-12 Engineering
Education - “Employing Engineering for STEM
Learning”. The event will be held on Saturday,
June 9, in San Antonio, Texas, one day before the
opening of the annual conference. Proposals will be
accepted November 1, 2011 through January 27,
Individual workshops should prominently feature hands-on classroom activities, provide take-home or classroom-ready materials and be designed to engage participants in interactive exercises. Workshops that offer tangible material to attendees, in addition to written material, are specifically solicited. Proposals addressing 1.) elementary/primary grades and 2.) demonstrated methods for involving practicing engineers and engineering students in the classroom are also sought.
Watch the K-12 Workshop website for updates: http://teachers.egfi-k12.org/2012-asee-workshop-on-k-12-engineering-education/
HOT OFF THE PRESS! The 5th edition of eGFI (Engineering, Go For It), ASEE's inspiring magazine for K-12 students. The new edition presents readers with a multifaceted picture of engineering by offering briefs on different engineering disciplines; first-hand accounts from engineering students, teachers, and professionals; and tips on how to prepare for, finance, and succeed in pursuing an education in engineering. Since its launch in 2003, eGFI has reached more than 1.7 million readers. To inquire about sponsorship or to place advance orders, contact Grace Hill (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-350-5760 or GoForIt@asee.org).
PLASTICS DESIGN COMPETITION – Free Entry to
EDITOR: Mark Matthews; CONTRIBUTORS: Jaimie Schock, David Mitchell, William E. Kelly, Thomas K. Grose