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USGS, DOE Nominees Clear Committee, Head to Full Senate

Earlier today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved by voice vote the nominations of David Applegate to be Director of the USGS and Evelyn Wang to be Director of ARPA-E.

Both nominations now head to the full Senate for its consideration.

Biden Expected to Tap Former Head of DARPA as New OSTP Director

President Biden is expected to nominate Arati Prabhakar to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Alondra Nelson has been running OSTP on an interim basis since Eric Lander’s resignation earlier this year.  She has served in prior Democratic administrations, as the director of the National Institute of Science and Technology under Bill Clinton and as the head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under Barack Obama.

Read more about her likely nomination here and here..

NSF Hosts Virtual Grants Conference

The National Science Foundation will host a virtual grants conference the week of June 6-10, 2022.

The conference will cover:

• New programs and initiatives
• NSF Directorate sessions
• Future directions and strategies for national science policy
• Proposal preparation and the merit review process
• Award management topics

Sign up here to be notified when registration is open.

2022 Federal Agenda Now Live

The University of Washington has published our 2022 Federal Agenda reaffirming our commitment to a robust partnership with the federal government. You can view the agenda here.

On March 24th at 12pm PT, Director of Federal Relations Sarah Castro will participate in a Town Hall highlighting the key elements of our federal agenda. Members of the UW community can register here.

Eric Lander Resigns as OSTP Director

Dr. Eric Lander, the President’s Chief Science Advisor and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has reportedly submitted his resignation effective February 18th. The resignation comes amidst several reports that he bullied subordinates. Read more here.

House Passes America COMPETES Act

The House passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521) on a nearly party-line vote. The bill has a broad focus attempting to tackle research, climate, supply chain, education, and immigration issues. As it stands, the legislation reauthorizes the NSF and key components of the Department of Energy, invests in semiconductor chips production, and contains diplomatic, research security, and immigration provisions. Several amendments were adopted, and the bill will need to be conferenced with the bipartisan US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA, S. 1260). You can find a fact sheet here.

Register Now: Federal Relations Spring Town Hall

The Office of Federal Relations will host a virtual town hall for the campus community on Thursday, March 24th from 12pm-1pm PT. Our staff will provide an update on the federal budget, infrastructure and competitiveness bills, and preview the UW’s 2022 federal agenda. This will be followed by an opportunity for Q&A. Register here (NetID restricted).

House Releases America COMPETES Act of 2022

Today, House leadership revealed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). Much like the bipartisan United States Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), which passed in the Senate last summer, the bill authorizes strategic investments in advanced scientific research at NSF and the Department of Energy, semiconductor chip manufacturing, supply chain and natural resource issues, and key diplomatic efforts.

Of particular relevance:

  • $52B for the CHIPS for America Act.
  • Comprehensive reauthorization of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
  • Reauthorizes the entire National Science Foundation and establishes a new Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions (SES).
  • Establishes a National Engineering Biology Research and Development Initiative.
  • Enhances outreach and access to STEM education at all levels.
  • Reauthorizes Title VI International Education programs.

A factsheet is available here and a section-by-section summary is available here.

OSTP Releases Guidance for U.S. Scientific Research Security That Preserves International Collaboration

Today the National Science and Technology Council, Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), released guidance for Federal departments and agencies on implementing National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) on National Security Strategy for U.S. Government-Supported Research and Development.

The guidance addresses the below key elements of NSPM-33:

1) disclosure requirements and standardization;

2) digital persistent identifiers;

3) consequences for violation of disclosure requirements;

4) information sharing; and

5) research security programs.

As a next step, Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is directing agencies to develop model grant applications and instructions within 120 days that can be used by any funding agency.

In a press statement, Dr. Lander said “the implementation guidance reflects the principles I laid out in August: to protect America’s security and openness, to be clear so that well-intentioned researchers can easily and properly comply, and to ensure that policies do not fuel xenophobia or prejudice.”

You can read the full guidance here.

Biden Signs EO on Federal Government Customer Service

Today President Biden signed an Executive Order, Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government. The Order will aim to improve fiscal stewardship and improve citizens’ interactions with the Federal Government. A fact sheet is available here.

Specifically, the Order calls for the below improvements in higher education. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s statement is available here.

“For the 1 in 6 Americans, or approximately 45 million people, who are managing their student loans:

  • Direct Loan borrowers will need to navigate only a single repayment portal on StudentAid.gov, so that they can apply for, manage, and repay their loans without having to visit multiple websites and manage multiple sets of credentials for different aspects of their student loans.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness candidates, including civil servants and active-duty service members, will be able to apply for the program with less paperwork than currently and without having to fill out forms with information they have already provided to the Federal government previously.
  • Students and borrowers can receive relevant recommendations for other benefits and services they may qualify for, like health care subsidies, broadband support, and food assistance, in order to connect them with support to lower additional economic barriers to post-secondary education completion.”