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AAU Weekly Wrap-up

 

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CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES

SENATORS INTRODUCE COMPETES ACT REAUTHORIZATION

Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) on June 23 released details of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act ( S. 3084 ), the Senate version of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. The measure, which is also cosponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL), is scheduled for markup in the Commerce Committee on Wednesday, June 29.

The bill does not include authorized funding levels for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). However, an amendment in the nature of a substitute will be offered that would include authorized funding levels for the two agencies for two years. For NSF, the amendment would authorize FY17 funding at $7.5 billion, the same level in the Senate’s FY17 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, with a four-percent increase for FY18.

AAU on June 23 released a statement expressing appreciation for the positive provisions in the bill, and encouraging committee approval of the amendment with authorized funding levels.

HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE APPROVES PACKAGE OF HIGHER EDUCATION BILLS

The House Education and the Workforce Committee on June 22 approved by voice vote a package of five higher education bills.

The American Council on Education on June 21 submitted a letter to committee leaders on behalf of several higher education associations, including AAU, expressing support for the bills, but citing concerns about how two of the bills would be implemented. Those bills are the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act ( H.R. 3178) and the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act ( H.R. 3179).

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

NIH RELEASES FINAL POLICY ON USE OF SINGLE IRBS

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) on June 21 published its long-awaited final NIH Policy on the Use of a Single Institutional Review Board for Multi-Site Research. NIH has been signaling this policy change since December 2015. The measure, which is designed to streamline the Institutional Review Board (IRB) review process, will take effect May 25, 2017.

The policy “establishes the expectation that all sites participating in multi-site studies involving non-exempt human subjects research funded by NIH will use a single Institutional Review Board to conduct the ethical review required by the Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects…”

NIH has prepared a number of resources to assist the research community in preparing for implementation of the policy. A set ofFAQs, as well as guidance on scenarios illustrating the use of direct and indirect costs for single IRB review under the policy, are now available on the NIH Office of Science Policy website.

JUDICIAL BRANCH

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

The Supreme Court on June 23 issued its decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, upholding the university’s consideration of race as a factor in college admissions. The vote was 4 to 3.

AAU expressed delight at the Supreme Court’s decision, saying the ruling was “good for higher education and good for the country.” The statement also expressed appreciation for the Court’s “restatement of its longstanding recognition that educators are best qualified to determine the proper mix of students to achieve optimal educational outcomes.”

OTHER

LATEST GOLDEN GOOSE AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

Two scientists whose work on the sex life of the screwworm has saved the livestock industry billions of dollars are the latest 2016 recipients of the Golden Goose Award. The honor recognizes scientists whose federally funded research may have seemed odd or obscure when first conducted but has resulted in significant benefits to society.

Edward F. Knipling and Raymond C. Bushland will be honored posthumously at the fifth annual Golden Goose Award ceremony at the Library of Congress on September 22. Two other teams of researchers will also be honored at the ceremony, including a group of five researchers who created a landmark study of adolescent health and whose Golden Goose award was announced March 31. A third team of 2016 award recipients will be announced later this year.

ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF INNOVATION: AN AMERICAN IMPERATIVE RECOGNIZED

Last year at this time, a coalition of industry, higher education, science, and engineering leaders issued a call to action urging Congress to enact policies and make investments that ensure the United States remains the global leader in innovation. Yesterday on the one-year anniversary ofInnovation: An American Imperative, the organizers of the statementannounced that the number of endorsers had topped 500 and provided a progress report on the recommendations in the call to action.

Supporters of the statement, including AAU, have used social media to publicize the statement using the hashtag, #InnovationImperative.
 

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