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AAU Weekly Wrap-up

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April 1, 2016

CONTENTS

CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES

House Small Business Bill Would Increase SBIR/STTR Research Set-asides

Associations Urge House Infant Lives Panel to Protect Individuals’ Information

Regulatory Reform Bills for Research Introduced in House and Senate

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Associations Comment on Notice-and-Takedown System for Internet Copyright Infringement

OTHER

First 2016 Golden Goose Award Winners Announced


CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES

HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS BILL WOULD INCREASE SBIR/STTR RESEARCH SET-ASIDES

The House Small Business Committee on March 22 approved legislation that would increase the set-asides for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in the extramural research and development budgets of participating research agencies. The increase is part of a five-year reauthorization bill for the two programs. Their current authorization runs through FY17.

The Commercializing on Small Business Innovation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4783) would increase the SBIR set-aside by 0.26 percent each fiscal year from FY18 through FY22, raising the set-aside percentage from 3.2 percent in FY17 to 4.5 percent in FY22. The bill would increase the STTR set-aside by .05 percent for two fiscal years beginning in FY18, raising the percentage set-aside from .45 percent in FY17 to 0.6 percent in FY22.

H. R. 4783 now goes to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, to which it has also been referred. The Senate Small Business Committee is expected to draft its own SBIR/STTR reauthorization bill.

ASSOCIATIONS URGE HOUSE INFANT LIVES PANEL TO PROTECT INDIVIDUALS’ INFORMATION

Three associations, including AAU, yesterday sent a letter to the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives detailing concerns about the panel’s investigation of providers and users of fetal tissue for research.

The letter, signed by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and AAU, expresses concern about reports that the panel intends to issue subpoenas impelling organizations to release the identities and personal information of researchers and others without a process governing how the panel would use and protect that information.

The letter states:

“We urge the Panel to work in a bipartisan fashion to craft rules for how the Panel intends to use this information and to articulate the specific steps the Panel is taking to promote the security of these individuals and their institutions. In the absence of such rules, we urge the Panel not to compel the release of individually identifiable information. We urge you to allow academic institutions to continue their cooperative engagement with the Panel, providing requested information about practices and the value of fetal tissue research without unnecessarily endangering the safety of those seeking to advance discovery and improve health.”

REGULATORY REFORM BILLS FOR RESEARCH INTRODUCED IN HOUSE AND SENATE

House and Senate policymakers this week put forward legislation to address the overregulation of research, as recommended in a report last year by the National Academies .

The Senate bill, the Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act , was introduced by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leaders Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA). The measure, which focuses on regulatory issues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be marked up in the HELP Committee on April 6.

The House bill, the University Regulations Streamlining and Harmonizing Act of 2016 , introduced by Rep. Dan Lipinksi (D-IL) as a proposed measure, addresses the regulatory burden on research across federal agencies. AAU and the Council on Governmental Relations jointly endorsed the bill.


EXECUTIVE BRANCH

ASSOCIATIONS COMMENT ON NOTICE-AND-TAKEDOWN SYSTEM FOR INTERNET COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

AAU joined EDUCAUSE and APLU on March 29 in submitting comments to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding a provision of copyright law that gives copyright owners a “notice-and-takedown” procedure for challenging online infringement of their works.

The Copyright Office had requested comments on the provision, Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), in a Notice of Inquiry issued December 31, 2015.

Section 512 also provides a “safe harbor” that limits the liability of service providers – including colleges and universities that provide network services to their students, faculty, and staff – that expeditiously remove allegedly infringing content.

The associations’ comments reaffirm that colleges and universities, in their capacity as service providers, take seriously their responsibilities for Section 512 compliance. They are troubled, however, by the substantial increase over the past few years in the notice-and-takedown requests they receive from copyright holders and their enforcement agents. Many of the notices, the comments continue, are overreaching and/or contain inaccurate information.

The associations point out that there is no meaningful statutory deterrent for those who send fraudulent or abusive notices that create substantial resource burdens for the recipients. Their comments urge the Copyright Office to create real remedies for abuses of the system, such as audits or fines.

The associations also ask the Copyright Office to consider reviving an earlier effort to develop a standardized format for notice-and-takedown notices. Establishing such a format, they write, likely would help rights holders and their enforcement agents generate more complete and accurate notices.


OTHER

FIRST 2016 GOLDEN GOOSE AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Five researchers who have led a highly influential longitudinal study of adolescent health are the first 2016 winners of the Golden Goose Award. The award, which was founded in 2012 by a coalition of organizations, including AAU, honors scientists whose federally funded work may have seemed odd or obscure when it was first conducted but has resulted in significant benefits to society.

The researchers—Drs. Peter Bearman, Barbara Entwisle, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Ronald Rindfuss, and Richard Udry—worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1980s and early 1990s to design and execute the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, or Add Health for short. As described in the press release:

“The social scientists’ landmark federally funded study has not only illuminated the impact of social and environmental factors on adolescent health—often in unanticipated ways—but also continues to help shape the national conversation around human health. Their work has provided unanticipated insights into how adolescent health affects wellbeing long into adulthood and has laid essential groundwork for research into the nation’s obesity epidemic over the past two decades.”

Team member Barbara Entwisle is also UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice chancellor for research.

The team will be honored with two other groups of researchers—yet to be announced—at the fifth annual Golden Goose Award Ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 22. Information about the award and past winners can be found on the Golden Goose Award website.

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