Tagged: nsf

Inspectors general provide recommendations to help agencies regulate smarter. (Credit: NASA)

Listening to the Watchdogs

What good is a watchdog if you ignore its barking? Wouldn’t it be great if Fido not only warned you of trouble as it was happening but gave you a heads up about a problem coming down the road? The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to receive recommendations from their watchdogs – inspectors general – on how federal agencies can, as Chairman John Thune put it, “regulate smarter – protecting public safety and market fairness while fostering economic grown and innovation.”

Both the House and Senate have passed the the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084). The bill will soon be sent to the President's desk for President Obama to sign into law. (Credit: Pete Souza/The White House)

Conferenced American Innovation and Competitiveness Act Lands On The President’s Desk

While students around the country were recalling organic chemistry processes and physics formulas during their end-of-semester exams last Friday, Congress was also at work. Following in the Senate’s footsteps, the House passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), a reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology Education and Science Act of 2007, or America COMPETES, which was last reauthorized in 2010. The 2016 bill outlines policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); and other federal science and innovation programs, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs.

Dr. William Easterling will lead the Geosciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation starting in June 2017. (Credit: NSF)

Geography And Earth Systems Expert Will Head NSF’s Geosciences Directorate

Dr. France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), selected Dr. William E. Easterling to lead NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences. The Directorate supports basic research to advance knowledge and innovation in atmospheric, earth, ocean, and polar sciences, providing over 60 percent of federal funding for basic research in the geosciences at academic institutions across the country.

National Science Board sets priorities for the National Science Foundation (Credit: NSF)

NSF Meeting Highlights Accomplishments and Progress

What do that MRI you had after damaging your knee while running, knowing whether to bring an umbrella to work, and antifreeze in Antarctic fish have in common?MRIs, the Doppler radar, and the identification of “antifreeze” glycoproteins in Antarctic fish were made possible through research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition to its 66-year history of promoting scientific progress, the NSF funds 24 percent of federally-supported research at colleges and universities across the nation. The 24-member National Science Board (NSB) leads NSF and meets five times per year, most recently on November 8 and 9. NSF Director Dr. France Córdova opened the meeting by touting some of the agency’s monumental successes in 2016, including six NSF-supported scientists winning Nobel Prizes and 213 teachers being awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

National Science Board sets priorities for the National Science Foundation (Credit: NSF)

National Science Board Touts Merits of Merit Review And Looks To The Future

A former patent clerk named Albert Einstein sketched notes on the theory of relativity in 1905. More than a century later, the long-standing theory was validated when the Laser Interferometer Gravitation-Wave Observatory detected gravitational waves originating from the collision of two black holes. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which makes possible scientific discovery from space observations to human genetics to volcanic influence on sea level.

Dr. William Easterling will lead the Geosciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation starting in June 2017. (Credit: NSF)

Changes For NSF’s Major Research Facilities

With bipartisan support, the NSF Major Research Facility Reform Act (H.R. 5049) passed in the House by roll call vote, 412-9. The bill, introduced by Representative Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), is intended to yield improved financial management and oversight of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s major (more than $100 million) multi-user research facilities.