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Washington Update

APLU and AAU Submit Comments on National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing
In response to the Request for Information on the National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing, APLU and the Association of American Universities (AAU) submitted comments advocating for robust investment in a balanced portfolio of long-, medium-, and near-term advanced manufacturing research efforts and higher education programs. The comments also reiterate APLU and AAU’s commitment to helping develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy for advanced manufacturing.

New Office for Civil Rights Case Processing Manual
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a new case processing manual to guide its process for adjudication of civil rights complaints. Among changes are the elimination of references to “systemic” investigations. This is consistent with prior instructions from Candice Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, to OCR Regional Directors. The instructions provided for a narrower scope of investigations in cases where systemic issues are not alleged.

NSF Releases FY2019 Budget Requests
The National Science Foundation (NSF) released its detailed FY2019 budget request. While the topline request for NSF ($7.472 billion) was included in the rollout of the president’s budget request on February 12, the NSF overview and summary tables provide much more information about requested funding levels for the directorates. The agency also released a budget request summary and a press release on the budget.

Science Coalitions Urge FY2018 Spending Boosts
In response to the $63 billion increase in funding for non-defense discretionary programs included in the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2018, a number of science coalitions have sent letters to appropriators urging them to allocate new funds to science agencies and programs. The Coalition for National Science Funding letter calls for $8 billion for the National Science Foundation, reflecting four percent real growth from the FY2016 level. The Energy Sciences Coalition letter calls for a $5.7 billion appropriation for the Department of Energy Office of Science, which would reflect four percent real growth above FY2017 levels. The Coalition for Aerospace and Science letter calls for a $20.5 billion appropriation for NASA, a five percent increase above the House proposal for fiscal year 2017. Additionally, the Coalition for National Security Research letter urges appropriators to provide robust funding for the Department of Defense Science and Technology and warns of the consequences of proposed cuts. APLU is actively engaged in all these coalitions and supports the advocacy for the FY2018 funding numbers.

I-Corps Expansion Bill Introduced in House
Last week, Representatives Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Daniel Webster (R-FL) introduced H.R.5086, the Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2018. The bill expands the I-Corps program, established in 2011 by the National Science Foundation to help prepare scientists and engineers extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and accelerate the economic and societal benefits of basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. According to the press release, the bill would add a course for commercialization-ready participants to focus on critical skills needed to start a successful and scalable business.

Senators Hirono and Van Hollen Introduce AG RESEARCH Act
On March 1, Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced S.2479, the AuGmenting Research and Educational Sites to Ensure Agriculture Remains Cutting-edge and Helpful (AG RESEARCH) Act. The bill would establish competitive grants to fund renovations at schools of agriculture and direct funds to the modernization of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) facilities. APLU’s Board on Agriculture Assembly supports the bill and appreciates this effort to address the deteriorated state of campus infrastructure to more effectively and efficiently conduct 21st century research and education in agriculture and allow the US to maintain our competitive advantage.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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