A Periodic Federal Science Update

Congressional Committees Releasing Rosters of their Members at the Start of the 115th Congress – The chairmen and ranking members of various Congressional Committees in the House and Senate have begun to release the rosters of their membership.  Below are links to some relevant announcements (with more expected in coming days):


House Appropriations Subcommittee Memberships - Majority

House Appropriations Committee – New Members - Minority

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Members - Majority

House Natural Resources Committee Membership - Majority

Senate Appropriations Ranking Members by Subcommittee

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee – Subcommittee Chairs


Smart Cities and Communities Draft Federal Strategic Plan: Exploring Innovation Together -- The National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) requests comments from the public regarding the draft Smart Cities and Communities Federal Strategic Plan: Exploring Innovation Together. The draft Strategic Plan is posted here. A key objective of this plan is to identify priorities for federally funded research and development (R&D) as well as capacity-building to help transform our cities and communities and improve our standards of living. To do so, the Strategic Priorities proposed are to: accelerate fundamental R&D for smart cities and communities; facilitate secure and resilient infrastructure, systems, and services for smart cities and communities; foster smart cities and communities through data and knowledge sharing, best practices, and collaboration; and enable evaluation of progress and long-term growth of smart cities and communities. This plan envisions Federal agencies working together and engaging with local leaders, academia, industry, civil society, and other key stakeholders. The aim is to accelerate the development and implementation of new discoveries and innovations that in turn enable cities and communities to achieve local goals and address their most important challenges. The next steps recommended in this strategic plan include, through the Smart Cities and Communities Task Force, promoting interagency coordination and collaboration; engaging cities and communities to collect feedback on and enable continued refinement of this strategic plan and future efforts; and developing a roadmap for specific Federal actions to execute the strategic priorities in the draft plan. More information and directions for submitting comments can be found here.


DHS Town Hall:  Applying for S&T Basic and Applied Research Funding – The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate is holding a Facebook Town Hall to provide information on funding opportunities.  S&T’s Long Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA) is an open invitation to the scientific community for original research proposals to solve tough problems and develop new capabilities.  The goal is to advance scientific and technical knowledge through a competitive solicitation for basic and applied research, and to apply such advances to DHS’ operational environments and the Homeland Security Enterprise. The LRBAA doesn’t focus on a specific system or hardware solution.  Rather, the announcement seeks scientific study and experimentation focused on advancing the state-of-the-art or increasing knowledge or understanding.  The session will take place on Thursday January 26, 2017 from 1-2 p.m. ET for a live Facebook Town Hall with S&T’s LRBAA coordinator to discuss program processes and requirements.  S&T Program Managers will be available to answer questions on a range of research topics contained in the LRBAA solicitation.  The goal of this town hall is to better prepare applicants to apply for and receive funding. Additional information about DHS S&T’s LRBAA may be found here.


Administration Releases Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review -- The Administration has just released the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focuses on the national security, environmental protection, and economic development imperatives of the electricity system in the United States. More than 70 recommendations are proposed to enable the electricity sector to manage the risks and opportunities of the 21st Century through policy change and R&D investments.  The second installment of the QER, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System”, is a rigorous treatment of the nation’s electricity systems from generation, through transmission and distribution to the ultimate end use by consumers.  More information on this report can be found here.


Energy Department Releases State of the National Labs Report -- U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz released the inaugural State of the Department of Energy National Laboratories Report.  The report highlights the accomplishments and capabilities of the National Labs, evaluates some of the improvements DOE has made in recent years in its management and coordination with the labs, and charts a course for continued American leadership in science and technology. Overall, the report concludes that the vitality of the DOE National Laboratories has improved over the past decade in part due to increased investments made into the labs and from a focus on enhancing the relationship between the Laboratories and DOE.  The report was prepared in response to the Congressionally-mandated Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, which recommended that the Department should better communicate the value that the labs provide to the Nation.  The entire report can be found here.