- AAU Sends Letter to Budget Leadership Urging Discretionary Spending Increase
- Senators Introduce STRONGER Patents Act
- University of Missouri System Announces Chancellor
- House Science Committee Passes SBIR/STTR Legislation
- NIH Director Testifies on FY18 Budget
- Department of Education Issues Guidance on Year-round Pell
AAU SENDS LETTER TO BUDGET LEADERSHIPURGING DISCRETIONARY SPENDING INCREASE
On Thursday, AAU sent a letter to House and Senate Budget Committee Leadership urging lawmakers to increase the current Budget Control Act discretionary spending caps.
The letter warns that proposals to slash federal research and higher education programs would cripple economic growth. It also underlines the importance of investment in research and education to prevent an American innovation deficit.
SENATORS INTRODUCE STRONGER PATENTS ACT
On Wednesday, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced the STRONGER (Support Technology and Research for our Nation's Growth and Economic Resilience) Patents Act. AAU, APLU, AUTM, and COGR issued a joint statement thanking the Senators for the bill, which would curtail abusive patent litigation and reinforce the strength of the U.S. patent system.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI SYSTEM ANNOUNCES CHANCELLOR
The University of Missouri System has announced Alexander Cartwright’s appointment as Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia, effective August 1, 2017. Dr. Cartwright is currently the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the SUNY System.
HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE PASSES SBIR/STTR LEGISLATION
On Thursday, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017. H.R. 2763 provides minor updates and improvements to the SBIR and STTR programs, such as requiring the Small Business Administration to provide a comprehensive annual report on these programs to Congress and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
During yesterday’s markup, Rep. Daniel Lipiniski (D-IL) offered an amendment that would require each federal agency to establish an STTR program to carry out the Innovative Approaches to Technology Transfer Grant Program. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) offered an amendment to include language that would encourage “federal agencies to consider providing additional support for the SBIR and STTR programs, especially in technology areas that are a high priority for the Federal agency’s mission.” Members supported the spirit of the amendment but expressed concern for allocating additional funds to the SBIR and STTR programs when federal research budgets are limited. The amendment failed 15-18.
H.R. 2763 has been referred to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
NIH DIRECTOR TESTIFIED ON FY18 BUDGET
On Thursday, Director Francis Collins testified on the FY18 NIH budget before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In the hearing, Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) announced that the proposed NIH cuts in President Trump’s budget are “unacceptable.”
In the hearing, senators questioned Director Collins on proposed cuts to facilities and administrative (F&A) costs. Senator Murray (D-WA) pushed back on the proposed cuts in her opening statement, and her questions highlighted that F&A costs are part of the scientific endeavor. Senator Alexander (R-TN) said the proposed cuts would reduce the number of American jobs. He also stated China’s spending on biomedical research would surpass U.S. spending in five years. Senator Moran (R-KS) asked Dr. Collins about the feasibility of reducing grants’ salary support and having universities underwrite salaries instead.
AAU's summary of the Administration's FY18 budget proposal can be found here. AAU's FY18 NIH budget recommendation one-pager can be found here. F&A cost materials can be found on the AAU Costs of Research webpage.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ISSUES GUIDANCE ON YEAR-ROUND PELL
Late Monday, the Department of Education issued initial guidance for the implementation of year-round Pell Grants, confirming the grants will be payable only out of 2017-18 funds based on need analysis. This change will enable an eligible student to receive up to 150 percent of the student's Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award beginning in the 2017-18 award year.
According to the Department's press release, institutions are strongly encouraged to disburse Pell funds for eligible students enrolled in summer session out of the 2017-18 award year, unless the student has remaining eligibility from the 2016-17 award year. It also notes that although institutions have flexibility to assign crossover payment periods to either relevant award years, the new law requires an institution to make the assignment "as it determines most beneficial to students."