December 18, 2013—As 2013 comes to a close, the House and Senate agreed on a budget deal for 2014 and 2015 (see the APLU statement on the deal). With top-line budget numbers now set, Congressional appropriators have begun behind-the-scenes FY14 spending negotiations.
Congress is also working on several bills of importance to APLU members including the farm bill and TRANSFER Act. In addition, APLU was part of a group that released a new report on select agent regulations; the Department of Education is seeking input on creating an institutional ratings system and NSF released guidelines for universities on transparency and accountability.
The House of Representatives passed an extension of the 2008 farm bill through January 31, 2014 (HR 3695). The Senate has been reluctant to take up the extension as they hope current negotiations will result in a deal in January 2014.
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved the TRANSFER Act (HR 2981) with bipartisan support. The TRANSFER Act accelerates the transition of technology developed at universities, federal laboratories and non-profit research institutions to the private sector. The bill builds upon the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program by creating grant opportunities for proof-of-concept research and other innovative technology transfer activities at universities, research institutes and federal laboratories to accelerate the commercialization of federally-funded research and technologies.
As the bill moves through Congress, APLU will ask for support on targeted advocacy in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, please contact Jim Woodell (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
APLU, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Association of American Universities (AAU), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced a new report on Implementing the Revised Select Agents and Toxins Regulations. This report describes the experiences of officials from research institutions and diagnostic laboratories as they have implemented the revised Select Agents and Toxins Regulations. The report lists suggestions for alleviating key challenges faced by research institutions and diagnostic laboratories.
The Department of Education officially published their Request for Information to Gather Technical Expertise Pertaining to Data Elements, Metrics, Data Collection, Weighting, Scoring, and Presentation of a Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (pre-publication pdf) in the Federal Register. The Department is seeking help in its efforts to develop a Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS). “The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) invites the submission of information about data elements, metrics, methods of data collection, methods of weighting or scoring, and presentation frameworks for a PIRS for assessing the performance of institutions of higher education (IHEs) and advancing institutional accountability while also enhancing consumer access to useful information.” Comments are due within 45 days.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a new strategy for improving accountability and communication on their investments to the public and policymakers in the report Important Notice to Presidents of Universities and Colleges and Heads of Other National Science Foundation Awardee Organizations: Transparency and Accountability at NSF.
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