AAAS Policy Alert -- December 7, 2011
IN THIS ISSUE
The House and Senate leadership from both sides of the political aisle are
continuing to negotiate an end-of-the-year appropriations game plan that will
include the nine appropriation bills that have not been finalized for fiscal
year 2012. According to Congressional news sources, a final mini-omnibus
(also known as a minibus grande) must remain within the discretionary
spending limit of $1.043 trillion set by the Budget Control Act (while
accounting for the Commerce-Justice-Science minibus signed into law last
month), and must include $7 billion in disaster aid. The federal government
is currently operating under a continuing resolution that is set to expire
December 16, 2011.
AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program Website
to stay up-to-date on the latest congressional action on the FY 2012 budget.
OTHER CONGRESSIONAL NEWS
Senate Defense Authorization Bill Includes SBIR Language.
Last week, the Senate, by a vote of 93-7, passed a FY 2012 authorization bill
for the Department of Defense (S. 1867). The bill was amended to include language to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs over the next eight years. The amendment also would increase incrementally the current 2.5 percent set-aside that is taken from the annual research and development (R&D) budget to fund the SBIR program to 3.5 percent over a 12-year period. The amount set aside for the STTR program would grow from 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent over five years. The SBIR/STTR program has been operating under temporary authorizations over the past seven years; the most recent extension expired on October 1, 2011.
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Hazards Bill Clears Committee.
On December 1, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved
the Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act of 2011(H.R. 3479) (PDF file) on a party-line vote of 21-12. Democratic members opposed the bill because of reduced funding levels for hazards programs. The act, introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), would authorize funding for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). Funding for post-earthquake evaluations is the primary difference between the House version of the act and the Senate version
. The Senate version would shift funding from the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS) to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) while the
House version would not.
Task Force on OMB Circular A-21 Issues Summary
. On November 29, the interagency Task Force established by the federal
Research Business Models Working Group issued a summary document of the public comments it received on potential revisions to OMB Circular A-21, 2 CFR Part 220 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions). The Task Force issued a Request for Information (RFI) earlier this summer seeking comments on ways to reduce the "administrative burden or costs associated with compliance requirements for Federal research grants and contracts awarded to educational institutions." Many of the comments expressed concern regarding the costs and time associated with effort reporting and recommended either eliminating or revising the requirement.
On November 28, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the
electronic Research Materials catalogue (eRMa) to help streamline its technology transfer program. The website facilitates the process for companies to find and license research material from NIH labs by providing a "ready-to-go" contract, a database of information, and allowing companies to pay licensing fees online. NIH has also released updates related to its implementation of the latest Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, as well as a webinar on the conflict-of-interest rules the agency finalized this summer.
DOE Examines Proposed Clean Air Standards and U.S. Energy System.
On December 1, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a report examining the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed clean air standards on U.S. energy systems. The report concludes that the standards will not impair the reliability of the systems. The report examined compliance deadlines that are more stringent than those expected in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
OHRP Releases Latest Human Research Standards Compilation.
The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) has announced the
availability of the 2012 edition of "The International Compilation of Human Research Standards." The volume lists more than 1,000 laws, regulations, and guidelines on human subjects protections in more than 100 countries and from several international organizations.
NSABB to Meet.
The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) is hosting a meeting on science and security in the Asia-Pacific region on December 9 at NIH. This meeting will present two case studies - IL4 in mousepox and Bat-SARS-CoV - and a general session on science and security. The session is open to the public but will not be webcast.
Comments Sought on Research Integrity Research.
The Office of Research Integrity and the National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences are seeking input from the extramural and intramural communities to help identify potential topics to be considered in future solicitations for the Research on Research Integrity Program.
EU Reaches Agreement on ITER Funding.
European negotiators reached an agreement to provide €1.3 billion to fund the EU commitment to the 2012-2013 budget for the international ITER nuclear fusion project. Some funding comes from shifting funds under the 2011 and 2012 budgets, including reductions in natural resources and administrative funding. Other funds come via an increase in the 2013 EU budget.
Parties to Biological Weapons Convention Hold Review Conference.
The Seventh Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
(BWC) is being held this week in Geneva, Switzerland. Secretary of State
Clinton is scheduled to speak at the Conference on capacity building for infectious disease surveillance, preventing misuse of the life sciences, and strengthening implementation of the Convention. The White House released a statement highlighting the importance of the BWC on December 5.
EU-US to Boost Economic Partnership and Energy Cooperation.
The EU-US yearly summit was held in Washington, DC, on November 28. Issues on the agenda included economic recovery, climate change and energy, development and a range of foreign policy issues such as the Arab Spring.
People in the News. -
On November 29, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Arun Majumdar, the current director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to serve as the Under Secretary of Energy at the Department of Energy. Majumdar previously served as the Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nomination has been scheduled for December 8.
- Anne Glover
has been named as the first EU Chief Scientific Adviser. Glover, a molecular
and cell biologist, is currently the chief scientific adviser for
Correction: In last week's
regarding the GRANT Reform and New Transparency Act (H.R. 3433), we failed to note that the bill had been amended (PDF file) during committee markup to allow for "unique identifiers" to be utilized in place of the names and titles of all peer reviewers.
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Publisher: Alan I. Leshner
Editor: Erin Heath
Kavita Berger, Joanne Carney, Gwenaele Coat, Mark Frankel, Emily Lamb, Anne
Poduska, Gretchen Seiler, Al Teich, Brad Wible
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