Federal Government Reopens While FY 2019 Budget is Delayed Until February 12th

Federal Government Reopens While FY 2019 Budget is Delayed Until February 12th. – On Monday, January 22, after a weekend shutdown of the Federal Government, Congress passed, and the President signed into law another Continuing Resolution that keeps federal programs and operations going until February 8, 2018 and extends the Children Health Insurance Program for six years.  An agreement was reached in the Senate after Leader McConnell made a commitment on the Senate floor to take up an immigration bill that would include a fix for the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program.  The new CR would need to be addressed the week before the President’s FY 2019 budget request which has been re-scheduled for release on February 12.  The President is scheduled to give his first State of the Union Address on January 30.

NOAA and NASA Nominees Approved by Senate Commerce Committee – on January 18 the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee re-approved, along party lines, the nomination of Mr. Barry Myers to be the next NOAA Administrator and Rep. James Bridenstine to be the next NASA Administrator.  Both of these nominations were approved during the first session of this Congress (2017) but since their nominations were not acted upon by the full Senate by the end of the session, they needed to be re-submitted to the Committee for their approval.  Floor action on these nominees has not yet been announced.

Aquaculture Hearing Scheduled for January 30 before the Senate Commerce Committee – The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing entitled, Growing the Future: Opportunities to Support Domestic Seafood Through Aquaculture.  The hearing will examine the current state of aquaculture in the United States, future opportunities for offshore, coastal, and inland communities, and the potential impact on the economy.  

Witnesses will includeDr. Kelly Lucas, Director of the Marine Aquaculture Center, University of Southern Mississippi; Mr. Mark Luecke, Managing Director and CEO, Prairie AquaTech: Mr. Donald Kent, President and CEO, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute; and Mr. Barton Seaver, Chef and Author.  The hearing will take place in 253 Russell Senate Office Building with witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing available here.

NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants Program Funding Opportunity – On January 24, NOAA announced the FY 2018 NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants Program. The principal objective of the program is to implement projects that build resilience of U.S. coastal communities and ecosystems. In FY 2018, this solicitation is seeking coastal habitat restoration projects that build resilience by conserving and restoring sustainable ecosystem processes and functions and reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities and infrastructure from the impacts of extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions. This program supports activities that restore or create natural infrastructure and natural landscape features to provide valuable ecosystem functions and services, such as habitat for fish, improved water quality and quantity, flood reduction, and erosion protection. Approximately $10 million will be available to support proposals under this solicitation. A copy of the solicitation is available here.

Department of Energy to Host 2018 ARPA-E Summit -- The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will host its ninth annual Energy Innovation Summit from March 13-15, 2018. The Summit draws thousands of participants from across the United States and internationally to convene a forum on the future of energy innovation. The Summit encourages leaders from industry, government, and academia to build partnerships that shape the direction of public-private cooperation in energy technology.

The Summit will include the Technology Showcase which features more than 275 innovative technologies from across all energy sectors, including prototypes and commercial-ready products—many on public display for the first time. In addition, it will also feature panel discussions and mainstage addresses from leading experts on a range of technology issues affecting energy innovation.  The Summit will be held at the Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland.  For more information and to register for the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, please visit here.

ARPA-E Seeks New Concept Papers -- Last month, ARPA-E announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of the agency's latest OPEN funding opportunity. OPEN will support America’s top innovators through dozens of early-stage research and development projects as they build technologies to transform the nation’s energy system.  ARPA-E has issued previous OPEN solicitations in 2009, 2012, and 2015. The projects selected under OPEN in 2018 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation across the full spectrum of energy applications. The agency collaborates across the department’s extensive research enterprise, providing support that complements existing DOE-wide initiatives. The deadline to submit a concept paper is February 12, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. E.T.  For additional information on the OPEN funding opportunity, please visit here.

NSF Seeks Proposals to Operate Regional Class Research Vessels -- Planning for construction of new RCRVs for the U.S. Academic Research Fleet (ARF) has been ongoing at the National Science Foundation for more than a decade.  In early 2012 a Solicitation (NSF-12-558) was issued for the design and construction of up to three RCRVs.  That solicitation further indicated that selection of operating institutions for any additional vessels would be conducted by means of a separate competition that would be completed prior to delivery of the first RCRV. This solicitation seeks to select qualified institutions to operate the additional RCRV Class vessels. These institutions shall either have current membership in the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) or be capable of becoming UNOLS members prior to taking over responsibility for full vessel operations. Separate proposals are required for each vessel. A copy of the solicitation can be found here.

DARPA Announces PREEMPT Funding Opportunity -- DARPA is soliciting innovative proposals to develop novel and scalable approaches to preempt viral spillover and transmission from animals and/or vectors into humans.  The program is also seeking to support proposals that develop and validate new scalable technologies to target potential human-capable viral pathogens in wild reservoirs and/or mosquito vectors to prevent transmission to humans. This Broad Agency Announcement for PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT) is available here.

NOAA Funding Opportunity: Joint Technology Transfer Initiative -- Through the Joint Technology Transfer Initiative (JTTI) Program, NOAA Research’s Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) is soliciting proposals to conduct research and development activities related to advancing data assimilation of new observations and data assimilation techniques for convective-scale weather prediction, improving water prediction capabilities through enhancements to National Water Model, improving daily to subseasonal scale prediction of Arctic sea ice, and communicating forecast uncertainty.  Approximately $2 million is available for grant support.  A copy of the solicitation can be found here.

NSF Funding Opportunity for Antarctic Research -- The U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) supports scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.  NSF’s Office of Polar Programs (OPP) provides operational research support for these projects. OPP’s Antarctic Sciences Section (ANT) supports research to 1) expand fundamental knowledge of the Antarctic region, 2) improve understanding of interactions between the Antarctic region and global Earth systems, and 3) utilize unique characteristics of the Antarctic continent as an observing platform. Antarctic fieldwork is supported for research that can only be performed, or is best performed, in Antarctica. ANT encourages research, using existing samples, data, and models, that does not require fieldwork. ANT also encourages research that crosses and combines, disciplinary perspectives and approaches.  More information on this program can be found here.