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AAU Weekly Wrap-up

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February 26, 2016

CONTENTS
 

BUDGET, APPROPRIATIONS, AND TAX ISSUES

MORE THAN 660 GROUPS URGE HIGH FUNDING ALLOCATION FOR LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION

A group of more than 660 health, education, and labor groups, including AAU, sent a letter on February 22 to leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees urging them to provide a high FY17 funding allocation for their respective Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittees. The organizations said, in part:

“Without an increase in the Labor-HHS 302(b) allocation, it will be virtually impossible to meaningfully increase investments in important initiatives—such as expanding medical research at the National Institutes of Health, implementing the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, continuing to improve college affordability and completion, or achieving the goals contained in the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA)—without deep cuts in other equally important initiatives.”

COALITION FOR NATIONAL SECURITY RESEARCH URGES REJECTION OF PROPOSED FY17 CUTS

The Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR), in which AAU participates, has submitted its FY17 funding recommendations to the House and Senate armed services committees and defense appropriators, urging legislators to reject the Administration’s proposed cuts in Defense science and technology (S&T) programs.

In the statement, sent February 25, CNSR asks the congressional leaders to reject the Administration’s proposed four-percent cut in Defense S&T to $12.5 billion, including its proposed nine-percent cut in 6.1 basic research to $2.1 billion. The organizations ask the committees instead to provide $13.4 billion for Defense S&T and $2.5 billion for the 6.1 basic research accounts.

The statement notes that the Administration’s proposed funding reductions are inconsistent with its stated desire to advance technological innovation, and “will diminish efforts in ensuring our national security and will result in far fewer graduate programs and students being trained as our next generation of scientists and engineers.”

CNSR is an alliance of industry, research universities and institutes, and scientific and professional organizations committed to advocating for a strong defense S&T enterprise, with particular emphasis on basic (6.1) and applied (6.2) defense research.

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES

SENATE HEARING LOOKS AT EFFECTS OF PROPOSED PATENT CHANGES ON SMALL BUSINESS

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on February 25 held a hearing to examine the potential impact of proposed patent litigation reform legislation on America’s small business community, including university ventures.

The witness panel comprised Brian O’Shaughnessy (Licensing Executives Society, Inc.), Robert L. Stoll (Drinker Biddle & Reath), and Neil Veloso (Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures).

Questions focused on the potential risks of broad legislation, the timing of future reform, the limitations of current patent law, and the frequency of and associated costs of patent litigation.

Chairman David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) expressed interest in moving forward with meaningful, targeted reform measures but also stressed the importance of not rushing reform.

OTHER

ITIF REPORTS ON DEMOGRAPHICS OF INNOVATION IN THE U.S.

A new survey by the Innovation Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has found that more than one-third of U.S. innovators in science and technology were born outside the United States, that women and U.S. minorities are significantly underrepresented among U.S. innovators, and that the median age for innovators is 47.

The report, The Demographics of Innovation in the United States, also found that innovation occurs across the country, but is concentrated in the Northeast, in California, and “near sources of public research spending.”

Among its policy recommendations, the report calls for public policies that enable more women and minorities to earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and that strengthen and expand the pipeline for foreign STEM graduates to remain and work in the U.S.

AAU LAUNCHES CYBERSECURITY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION WEBPAGE

As part of its continuing initiative to demonstrate the work performed by AAU universities to address major societal issues, AAU on February 24 launched a new webpage on the role of AAU universities in addressing the complex issues surrounding cybersecurity.

Helping Safeguard the Connected World features stories about cybersecurity research and education from AAU campuses. The stories range from new ways to secure online information and better protect the power grid, to thorny policy issues in cybersecurity and programs to educate the next generation of cybersecurity experts.

The cybersecurity webpage is the second of a series. The first topical page, created last October, was Helping Solve the Fresh Water Puzzle, which AAU continues to update.

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