Federal Science Partners Periodic Update

Interagency Workshop on the Convergence of High Performance Computing (HPC), Big Data (BD), and Machine Learning (ML) to be Held – Under the auspices of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office (NCO), Federal agencies of the High End Computing (HEC) and Big Data (BD) Interagency Working Groups are jointly conducting a workshop focused on the convergence of HPC, BD, and ML. Experts from government, private industry, and academia will help discuss the current use cases and the technology, tools and practices that are effective, and identify gaps and issues that will require additional research to resolve. The workshop will take place on October 29 from 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET and October 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET at the Natcher Conference Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Participation is by invitation only, but observers are welcome on a first come first served basis. Space is limited, but this event will be webcast. The agenda and information about how to join the webcast will be available here the week of the event.

NSF Geosciences Advisory Committee Meets October 17-18, 2018 – Next week on October 17 and 18, the NSF Geosciences Advisory Committee will hold its fall meeting at the NSF’s headquarters in Alexandria, VA.  The agenda for this two-day meeting is available here.  Topics expected to be covered during this meeting include the draft report, 21st Century Geosciences, an update on the development of proposed new initiative on Coastlines and People (CoPe), and a discussion on strategies for stabilizing graduate student support in the geosciences.  The Advisory Committee will also meet with the NSF Director, Dr. France Cordova, and Chief Operating Office, Dr. Fleming Crim.  NSF has just completed a series of workshops to solicit input on the research objectives for the forthcoming CoPe initiative.

Court Decision Says NOAA Does Not Have Authority to Regulate Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico – On September 25, 2018 the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that regulations promulgated by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service to establish a process to permit aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico Exclusive Economic Zone was invalid.  NOAA had argued that the Magnuson Stevens Act gave it authority to regulate open water aquaculture but the Court agreed with the Center for Food Safety and a coalition of fishing and public interest groups that NOAA’s authority was limited to harvesting wild fish, not aquaculture.  The Stronger America Through Seafood coalition responded to this ruling by calling on Congress to enact new legislation, such as the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act now pending in the Senate and House.

NOAA Funding Available for Research on Harmful Algal Blooms – NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science is soliciting proposals for the Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB) and The Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) Research Programs. Funding is contingent upon the availability of Fiscal Year 2019 Federal appropriations. It is anticipated that projects funded under this announcement will have a September 1, 2019 start date. For the MERHAB program, NOAA anticipates that up to $2.5 million may be available in Fiscal Year 2019 for the first year for all MERHAB projects combined. Approximately 7 to 9 projects are expected to be funded at the level of approximately $200,000 to $600,000 per year per proposal. Projects are expected to last 3 to 5 years.  Both Regional and Targeted projects are expected to be funded.  For the ECOHAB program, NOAA anticipates that up to approximately $3 million may be available in Fiscal Year 2019 for the first year for all ECOHAB projects combined.  Approximately 1-4 Regional projects are expected to be funded at the level of $700,000 to $1,000,000.  Projects are expected to last 5 years.  Only Regional projects are expected to be funded.  More information on this funding opportunity can be found here

NSF Offers Funding Opportunity for International Network-to-Network Collaborations -- The goals of NSF’s Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program are to accelerate the process of scientific discovery and prepare the next generation of U.S. researchers for multiteam international collaborations. The AccelNet program supports strategic linkages among U.S. research networks and complementary networks abroad that will leverage research and educational resources to tackle grand scientific challenges that require significant coordinated international efforts. The program seeks to foster high-impact science and engineering by providing opportunities to create new collaborations and new combinations of resources and ideas among linked global networks.  This solicitation invites proposals for the creation of international networks of networks in research areas aligned either with one of the NSF Big Ideas or a community-identified scientific challenge with international dimensions. AccelNet awards are meant to support the connections among research networks, rather than supporting fundamental research as the primary activity. Each network of networks is expected to engage in innovative collaborative activities that promote synergy of efforts across the networks and provide professional development for students, postdoctoral scholars, and early-career researchers. Additional information on AccelNet can be found here.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Offers Funding for Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research -- The Fishing Safety Research Grant Program established by The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, is intended to provide funding to individuals in academia, members of non-profit organizations and businesses involved in fishing and maritime matters, and others with expertise in commercial fishing safety. The funding, with up to $3 million expected to be available in FY 2019, is used to support research on improving the occupational safety of workers in the commercial fishing industry. This includes: improving vessel design; developing and improving emergency and survival equipment; enhancing vessel monitoring systems; improving communication devices, de-icing technology, and severe weather detection. In order to support and administer the grant program, the Coast Guard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) within the CDC have put in place a Memorandum of Understanding for this program. While the Coast Guard, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), provides regulatory oversight for safety and health matters within the commercial fishing industry, NIOSH is an agency with the mission of generating new knowledge in occupational safety and health and transferring that knowledge into practice to prevent worker injury, illness and death. NIOSH conducts and funds scientific research, develops methods to prevent occupational hazards, develops guidance and authoritative recommendations, translates scientific knowledge into products and services, disseminates information, identifies factors underlying work-related disease and injury and responds to requests for workplace health hazard evaluations.

NIOSH has a history of conducting research to understand and to reduce hazards in the commercial fishing industry. This research has largely been conducted in close collaboration with crews, industry and the US Coast Guard. Research objectives supported by NIOSH include, but are not limited to: identification and investigation of the relationships between hazardous working conditions and associated occupational injuries and fatalities; development of more sensitive means of evaluating hazards at work sites; development of methods for measuring early markers of injuries and fatalities; development of new protective equipment and engineering control technology to reduce work-related injuries and fatalities; development of work practices that reduce the risks of occupational hazards; and evaluation of the technical feasibility or application of a new or improved occupational safety procedure, method, technique, or system, including assessment of economic and other factors that influence their diffusion and successful adoption in workplaces.  The solicitation is expected to be posted on or about November 1, 2018.  More information can be found here.

NOAA Issues Draft Regulations for Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) for U.S. Aquacultured or Farmed Shrimp and Abalone -- NOAA Fisheries has issued a proposed regulation to implement the first-ever traceability program for U.S. aquacultured shrimp and abaloneestablishing comparable reporting requirements to those required for imported seafood products under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP).  Congress directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish a domestic traceability program for U.S. aquaculture of shrimp and abalone from point of production to entry into U.S. commerce, by December 31, 2018.  This proposed regulation establishes the domestic counterpart to the traceability requirements for imported seafood under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP)—a necessary step to allow imports of the comparable product to be subject to U.S. seafood traceability requirements under SIMP.  SIMP and the traceability system it established facilitates better data collection and retention, sharing, and analysis among relevant regulators and enforcement authorities for imported seafood.  This is designed to be a significant step forward for addressing illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud.

Compliance with SIMP requirements started on January 1, 2018; however, the effective date of compliance with respect to shrimp (the largest U.S. seafood import) and abalone was stayed until a comparable traceability program for domestic aquaculture could be established.

Establishing comparable requirements for domestic aquacultured shrimp and abalone allows imports of shrimp and abalone to be subject to SIMP requirements— further leveling the playing field for U.S. fishermen, aquaculture producers, and seafood producers who play by the rules. NOAA Fisheries is currently accepting public comments on the proposed regulation to implement a traceability program for U.S. aquacultured (farmed) shrimp and abalone.  Comments are due by November 26, 2018.

NIH Seeks Comments on Future Data Management and Sharing Policy -- On October 10, 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a Request for Information (RFI) in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts to solicit public input on proposed key provisions that could serve as the foundation for a future NIH policy for data management and sharing.  The feedback we obtain will help to inform the development of a draft NIH policy for data management and sharing, which is expected to be released for an additional public comment period upon its development. Comments on the proposed key provisions will be accepted through December 10, 2018, and can be made electronically here.  To further engage stakeholders, NIH will also be hosting a webinar on the proposed key provisions on November 7, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET. Details about the webinar, including how to register can be found here.