On April 23rd, the Council on Graduate Schools (CGS) released its latest report Broadening Participation in Graduate Education at a legislative forum featuring Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA).
CGS Overview: The U.S. system of higher education is arguably the best in the world, but there is a leak in the pipeline. Even as our nation is becoming increasingly diverse, some groups remain highly underrepresented in graduate schools, particularly in science and engineering.
This report highlights programs that have had success in enhancing diversity and inclusiveness in graduate education, and offers policy recommendations aimed at identifying and cultivating talent wherever it exists, with particular emphasis on developing domestic talent from traditionally underrepresented groups.
The research update below was recently released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
To Friends and Partners of NOAA Research:
There are several news items we would like to share with you today.
FY 2009 APPROPRIATIONS SUMMARY
On March 11, the President signed the FY 2009 omnibus spending bill into law. The final bill provides a total of $4.37B for NOAA, an increase of $457M or 10% over the FY 2008 appropriation. It includes $408M for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), which is $10.6M above the FY 2008 enacted amount. Attached is an updated table that shows the FY 2009 appropriations for OAR.
NOAA has submitted its spend plan for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to Congress. The Act provides $830M for NOAA, including a $170M increase in Procurement, Acquisitions, and Construction (PAC) for High Performance Computing (HPC) for Climate Modeling and Data. NOAA plans to procure and utilize two computing systems in separate locations that will improve the accuracy of seasonal climate and global climate change assessments. The two HPC sites will be selected by a competitive process and create jobs in manufacturing, construction, and software engineering.
The FY 2010 President’s budget request will be released in early May. We will send an e-mail with FY 2010 budget information at that time. (more…)
The nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, leaving only a vote of the full Senate. What was once expected to be a rather comfortable confirmation has evolved into a rather partisan debate over President Obama’s intentions in reforming the U.S. health insurance system. Conservatives on the panel sought assurances — which they did not receive — from Governor Sebelius that HHS would not seek a plan that limited consumer choice of doctor, hospital, or coverage options. Despite the reservations expressed by some members, the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination on a largely party line 15-8 vote. Consideration of the nomination by the full Senate could take place later this week.
The Association of American Universities (AAU) is asking its member campuses to recommend individuals to serve as temporary personnel to help organize the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The Department of Energy (DoE) is looking for individuals with the knowledge and expertise to help it organize the new agency. These individuals would serve as temporary program managers and provide additional program support (for both 6-to-12-month and three-year terms of service). AAU has already collected and forwarded to DoE several resumes from its member campuses, but would appreciate receiving additional nominations.
Resumes and questions can be sent to Jonathan Nurse, UW Assistant Director of Federal Relations, who will forward UW recommendations to AAU as a set.
To establish ARPA-E, Congress provided DoE with $400 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $15 million in the FY09 omnibus appropriations bill. ARPA-E was originally authorized in the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) in 2007, but it received no funding in FY07 or FY08.
The Department of Energy hopes to staff the agency quickly with highly qualified faculty members and others who can help the agency become established and begin to fund research proposals. Recovery Act funds must be obligated within the next two years.
As the 111th Congress returns to regular session this week, the University of Washington and several higher education associations have sent letters to lawmakers in a show of support for the President’s proposal to make the Pell Grant program an entitlement. Such a move would provide annual increases equivalent to inflation (plus an additional 1%), eliminating the need for an annual debate over the program’s funding. UW’s letter was distributed to the entire Washington congressional delegation. A joint letter — from the Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, American Association of State Colleges and Universitiesm, American Council on Education, and American Association of Community Colleges — was distributed to each member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Pell Grant entitlement proposal will be debated as part of the annual appropriations process over the course of the spring, summer and early fall.
The Pell Grant entitlement would be largely paid for by savings realized from elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which is administered by financial institutions, and transition to the direct lending program for all schools. The University of Washington is already a direct lending school.
The deadline for submitting letters of intent to participate in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) short-term faculty recruitment program is April 29, 2009. Final applications are due one month later, on May 29.
NIH plans to obligate up to $100 million in Economic Recovery Act funds for the program by September 30, 2010, contingent on its receiving a sufficient number of “scientifically meritorious applications.”
The program, which was created to address the faculty recruitment crunch caused by the economic recession, is focused on recruiting young faculty members in biomedical research fields. Awards to institutions will provide “funding to hire, provide appropriate start-up packages, and develop pilot research projects for newly independent investigators.”
President Obama has nominated Princeton University physicist William F. Brinkman to head the $5 billion Department of Energy Office of Science.
William F. Brinkman is currently a Senior Research Physicist in the Physics Department at Princeton University. Prior to working for Princeton, he was Vice President (now retired) of Research from Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he was responsibile for the direction of all research to enable the advancement of the technology underlying Lucent Technologies’ products. Previous to this position he was Physical Sciences Research Vice President and Vice President of Research at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. William received his BS and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Missouri in 1960 and 1965, respectively. He joined Bell Laboratories in 1966 after spending one year as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University. In 1972, he became Head of the Infrared Physics and Electronics Research Department, and in 1974 became the Director of the Chemical Physics Research Laboratory. He held the position of Director of the Physical Research Laboratory from 1981 until moving to Sandia in 1984. He returned to Bell Laboratories in 1987 to become Executive Director of the Physics Research Division. In 1993, he became Physical Sciences Research Vice President, and in January 2000 became Vice President, Research. William is a member of the American Philosophical Society, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on a number of national committees, including chairmanship of the National Academy of Sciences Physics Survey and their Solid-State Sciences Committee.
The National Institutes of Health seeks applicants for $200 million in grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for large-scale research projects that are likely to spur growth and investment in biomedical research, public health and health care delivery. Funding priorities include research on information technology that lets physicians share radiological images across health care organizations to reduce health care costs and improve decision-making. Applications are due by May 27.
National Science Foundation Press Release, April 14, 2009
The National Science Board (NSB) today released a draft report, “Building a Sustainable Energy Future,” for public review and comment. The report calls on the nation to lead the fundamental transformation of the current energy economy from one that is dependent on fossil fuel to one that thrives on sustainable and clean energy. The NSB collaborated with colleagues and stakeholders throughout the federal, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors to address the challenges and opportunities for sustainable energy in the 21st century. The NSB recommends that the U.S. government develop and lead a nationally coordinated research, development demonstration, deployment, and education strategy to advance a sustainable energy economy that is significantly less carbon-intensive.