A Periodic Federal Science Update

Five States Account for Half of U.S. Business R&D in 2013 – According to a new report released by the National Science Foundation on September 30, 2016, five states – California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Washington – accounted for half of the research and development paid for and performed by companies in the U.S. in 2013.  Companies performed $265 billion ofo R&D paid for by their own company expenses in the United States in 2013, of which $255 billion could be attributed to one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.  California alone accounted for 30% ($77 billion) of all self-funded business R&D performance in the United States in 2013. In 2008, California accounted for 25% of such R&D performance. Between 2008 and 2013, the growth of California’s self-funded business R&D performance outpaced that of the rest of the United States, increasing by 42%, compared to a 7% increase for all other states combined. 

A single industry dominates the business R&D in 4 of the top 10 states.  Automobile manufacturers accounted for 74% of Michigan’s total, software publishers for 62% of Washington’s total, and the pharmaceutical industry for 53% and 48% of New Jersey’s and Pennsylvania’s totals, respectively. The semiconductor and other electronic components industry (the largest industry in terms of R&D in California) accounted for only 20% of California’s business R&D, but all information and communication technology (ICT) industries combined accounted for 67% of the state’s business R&D.  Mining, extraction, and support activities was the single largest industry in terms of R&D in Texas, but the ICT industries as a group accounted for 53% of the state’s R&D.

Defense Innovation Board Releases Recommendations for DOD – Last week the Defense Innovation Board – which was established by Secretary Ash Carter in March of this year in an effort to enhance DOD’s culture, organization, and processes via a closer association with the tech community – issued its first set of recommendations.  A chief innovation officer, a digital ROTC, embedded software teams are a few of the ideas the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Advisory Board is preparing to explore over the coming months.  The board is led by by Eric Schmidt, executive director of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

New Leadership Announced for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate -- On Oct. 3, Thomas Zurbuchen became NASA’s associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) after NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced his selection last week. SMD, with a budget of about $5.3 billion, encompasses NASA’s Earth Science, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics Divisions. It is also responsible for such high-profile projects as the $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope and the future Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.  Dr. Zurbuchen joins NASA from the University of Michigan, where he was a professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering and in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He is originally from Heiligenschwendi, a small, rural municipality in the Swiss Alps, and was the first member of his family to pursue a higher education. He attended the University of Bern in Switzerland, where he received a master’s degree in physics, mathematics, and astronomy in 1992, and a Ph.D. in physics in 1996.

HHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Research Integrity Conferences -- The Office of Research Integrity (ORI), within the Department of Health and Human Services, announces the anticipated availability of funds for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 for competitive grants for the planning and implementation of conferences or workshops. Conferences or workshops must be designed to provide a forum for discussion and produce tangible outcomes related to at least one of the following themes: 1) responsible conduct of research training; 2) fostering an environment that promotes research integrity; 3) prevention of research misconduct; 4) handling of research misconduct allegations; 5) whistleblowing; 6) international issues in research integrity; or, 7) other topics clearly linked to research integrity and compliance with relevant federal regulations. Ideally, the proposed conference or workshop will generate publishable, quality materials or extramural funding applications.  More information on this funding opportunity can be found by going to www.grants.gov and look for funding opportunity ORI-IR-17-001.

NSF Announces Funding Opportunity for Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) -- The NSF vision for a Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) considers an integrated, scalable, and sustainable cyberinfrastructure to be crucial for innovation in science and engineering. The Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) program is an integral part of CIF21. The DIBBs program encourages development of robust and shared data-centric cyberinfrastructure capabilities, to accelerate interdisciplinary and collaborative research in areas of inquiry stimulated by data.  DIBBs investments enable new data-focused services, capabilities, and resources to advance scientific discoveries, collaborations, and innovations. The investments are expected to build upon, integrate with, and contribute to existing community cyberinfrastructure, serving as evaluative resources while developments in national-scale access, policy, interoperability and sustainability continue to evolve.  Effective solutions will bring together cyberinfrastructure expertise and domain researchers, to ensure that the resulting cyberinfrastructure address researchers’ data needs. The activities should address the data challenges arising in a disciplinary or cross-disciplinary context. The projects should stimulate data-driven scientific discoveries and innovations, and address broad community needs, nationally and internationally.  The deadline for submission of full proposals in January 3, 2017.

U.S. Army Releases Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Extramural Medical Research -- The United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) mission is to provide solutions to medical problems of importance to the American Service member at home and abroad, as well as to the general public at large. The scope of this effort and the priorities attached to specific projects are influenced by changes in military and civilian medical science and technology, operational requirements, military threat assessments, and national defense strategies. The FY17 BAA is intended to solicit extramural basic and applied research and development projects to support scientific study and experimentation directed towards advancing the state of the art or increasing knowledge or understanding rather than focusing on development of a specific system or hardware solution. Research and development funded through this BAA are intended and expected to benefit and inform both military and civilian medical practice and knowledge. The BAA provides a general description of USAMRMC’s research and development programs, including research areas of interest, evaluation and selection criteria, pre-proposal/pre-application and full proposal/application preparation instructions, and general administrative information. Invited full proposals/applications can be submitted under this FY17 BAA through September 30, 2017.

Industry CEO’s Place Ad on Importance of Research -- Last week, a group of 36 CEOs and industry executives from major U.S. corporations signed on to an ad supporting federal basic research funding. The ad, the product of University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, ran in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal . The industry leaders represented a broad spectrum of sectors including high-tech, aerospace, health, energy, finance, telecommunications, and consumer goods. The main message was that federal investment in basic science is an investment in "prosperity, security and well-being."