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Vol. 2011, No. 14 (21 November 2011)


House Subcommittee Examines Future Mars Exploration


US Economic Development Administration’s Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

United States Patent and Trademark Office Launches Small Business Innovation Research Pilot Program

United States Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Office Launch New Website for the Cooperative Patent Classification Project

OSTP Seeks Comments on Public Access to Digital Data and Scientific Publications


IEEE IP Seminar: The New Patent Law and What it Means to You

Webinar - IEEE-USA Legislative Affairs Update (November 30th)




NIST - NICE Issues Cybersecurity Workforce Framework for Public Comment

Seeking WISE Applications
SUMMER 2012 PROGRAM Monday, 4 June - Friday, 3 August

Each year, outstanding engineering students are selected to spend nine weeks in Washington, D.C., learning about the public policy process, including how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions. WISE seeks applications from outstanding engineering students who display evidence of leadership skills and have a keen interest in public policy. Minority students are encouraged to apply. Applicants should select a sponsoring society(s), fill out an application form (documents linked), write two (2) brief essays in response to questions, arrange for two (2)faculty references, and forward an official transcript. The deadline for 2012 is 31 December 2011.

Seeking 2013 Government Fellows Applications
Linking Science, Technology & Engineering Professionals with Government

Each year, IEEE-USA sponsors three government fellowships for qualified IEEE members. The fellows — chosen by the IEEE-USA Government Fellows Committee and confirmed by the Board — spend a year in Washington serving as advisers to the U.S. Congress and to key U.S. Department of State decision-makers. Known as either a Congressional Fellowship or an Engineering & Diplomacy Fellowship, this program links science, technology and engineering professionals with government, and provides a mechanism for IEEE's U.S. members to learn firsthand about the public policy process while imparting their knowledge and experience to policymakers. The application forms for 2013 are available online. (State; Congressional) The deadline for 2013 is Friday, 16 March 2012. (View upcoming webinar.)



House Subcommittee Examines Future Mars Exploration

The House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing to examine the prospects for future exploration of Mars and implications of the current fiscal crisis to the future of U.S. planetary science.

“Through development of critical technologies, NASA has orbited Mars with powerful satellites, put rovers on its surface, and in less than two weeks time is preparing to launch yet another rover that will be bigger and more capable still,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS).“The conundrum now facing NASA is selecting a mission that is the next logical step in our exploration of Mars, and how to pay for it.”

This week, November 25th, NASA will launch the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), a rover that will wander the Martian surface to conduct a variety of experiments on the geological, atmospheric and chemical composition of Mars. Yet, even as MSL begins its journey, the follow-on missions in 2016 and 2018 – jointly planned with the European Space Agency (ESA) – have been scaled back and could be cancelled altogether.

In March of this year, the National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive report titled Visions and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013 - 2022.This report reflects a broad consensus of the planetary science community, identifying key questions and strategies to guide NASA in the decade ahead as it endeavors to plan the next series of missions.It is the product of an immense effort that sought a wide range of input, including papers, meetings, and reviews by a committee chaired by Dr. Steven Squyres.

Testifying at the hearing, Dr. Squyres discussed the importance of ambitious planetary science missions and warned of severing diplomatic ties with our space-faring allies.“The ability to carry out the most challenging tasks in deep space exploration – tasks like landing and roving on Mars – is one of our nation’s scientific and technical crown jewels,” Squyres said.“If we give up that capability by abandoning planetary Flagship missions, then we do a disservice not just to ourselves, but also to future generations of American scientists, engineers, and explorers… More pragmatically, I fear that an inability to enter into a mutually beneficial partnership with a willing, eager, and highly capable agency like ESA would jeopardize future international partnerships as well.”In response to a question about the importance of maintaining America’s technical preeminence in planetary missions, Dr. Squyres responded, “the danger to our leadership is that we could lose it.”

While conceding “increasing budget pressures,” hearing witness Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science Division at NASA, praised the upcoming MSL mission, and attempted to reaffirm ongoing cooperation with ESA.“NASA has had a long and productive history of successful cooperation with ESA, particularly in the area of space science,” Dr. Green noted. “Last month Administrator Bolden and the ESA Director General Dordain met to discuss among other topics the progress of the ongoing Mars exploration program review.At that time they both reaffirmed their Agencies’ commitment to explore cooperation on a mutually beneficial Mars exploration program.”


US Economic Development Administration’s Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

A new Obama Administration initiative is designed to spur job creation and accelerate economic growth in 20 regions across the US. The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a multi-agency competition was launched in May to support the advancement of 20 high-growth, regional industry clusters. Investments from three federal agencies and technical assistance from 13 additional agencies will promote development in areas such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, aerospace and clean technology, in rural and urban regions in 21 states. Projects are driven by local communities that identify the economic strengths of their areas, with funding awarded to the best proposals. Winners of the $37 million were announced in September.

The winners were selected based on their ability to leverage federal economic development, workforce, and small-business funds to help grow regional innovation clusters that will bring an estimated 4,800 jobs to communities around the country. The winning public-private partnerships are expected to leverage about $69 million in private capital to boost regional innovation and job growth in their areas.

United States Patent and Trademark Office Launches Small Business Innovation Research Pilot Program

President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing all federal agencies with research facilities to improve the transfer of research from their labs to the marketplace. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, is piloting a program to provide Small Business Innovation Research awardees with comprehensive intellectual property support through the agency’s small business programs and resources.

United States Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Office Launch New Website for the Cooperative Patent Classification Project

To promote harmonization in the field of patents, the European Patent Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office have launched a dedicated website for the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) initiative. CPC is a joint project aimed at developing a classification scheme for inventions that will be used by both offices in the search and examination of patent applications. The launch of the website highlights the progress of this collaborative effort over the year since the offices agreed to work toward formation of a joint patent classification system.

OSTP Seeks Comments on Public Access to Digital Data and Scientific Publications

The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, signed by President Obama earlier this year, calls upon OSTP to coordinate with agencies to develop policies that assure widespread public access to and long-term stewardship of the results of federally funded unclassified research. Towards that goal, OSTP released two Requests for Information (RFI) soliciting public input on long term preservation of and public access to the results of federally funded research, including digital data and peer-reviewed scholarly publications. You can see the RFI on public access here and the RFI on digital data here.


IEEE-USA In The News

Recent IEEE-USA Testimony, and Letters to Congress & Administration

IEEE-USA Press Releases

Public Policy Priority Issues(112th Congress, 1st Session, 2011) -- Committees of IEEE volunteers draft IEEE-USA's public policy priorities, as well as all of IEEE-USA's position statements, and IEEE-USA's Board of Directors approves them. IEEE members interested in becoming involved with the development of the priorities, or working towards their implementation, should contact the committee in which they are interested.

Public Policy Position Statements on issues deemed to be of concern to or affecting IEEE's U.S. members. The statements make specific public policy recommendations for the consideration of Congress, the Executive Branch, the Judiciary, representatives of State and Local Government, and other interested groups and individuals, including IEEE members.

IEEE-USA E-Books - To see the latest E-Books, visit our online catalog which includes the 2010 IEEE-USA Salary & Fringe Benefits Survey, the 2010 Profile of IEEE Consultants and two new GovDocs.

Have an Idea For an IEEE-USA E-Book? - If you've got an idea for an e-book that will educate your fellow IEEE members on a particular topic of expertise, e-mail your e-book queries and ideas to IEEE-USA Publishing Manager Georgia Stelluto.

IEEE IP Seminar: The New Patent Law and What it Means to You

In case you missed it, on 22 October, IEEE-USA and its new Intellectual Property Professionals Initiative hosted a seminar to help those interested in the patent process better understand The America Invents Act and its potential impact. Video from the seminar is now available online. The event has been archived online.

Webinar - IEEE-USA Legislative Affairs Update

IEEE-USA maintains an active presence in Washington, D.C. Join us every month to learn what is happening in Congress from the perspective of technology professionals. Actions taken by the federal government can affect your career, business and profession. Don't be surprised by new laws or miss opportunities. Join the IEEE-USA Government Affairs Team for their monthly legislative update.

U.S. STATES - If you like to keep up with what's going on in state politics, provides a good overview of the activities in all 50 state legislatures.'s annual report on state trends and policy, "State of the States 2009" is now available. The report is full of helpful graphics and maps, in addition to reports on the most significant developments in the 50 states.


National Science Foundation Recent opportunities can be found here, including:

Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN)

Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation

Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI)

AAAS GrantsNet Express - A weekly American Association for the Advancement of Science listing of science funding opportunities from private foundations and organizations, and new U.S. government grant announcements in the sciences. AAAS will send GrantsNet by e-mail to AAAS member subscribers.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solicitations - The majority of EERE financial opportunities are for business, industry, and universities. - The President's 2002 Fiscal Year Management Agenda established as a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs. The site provides access to approximately $400 billion in annual awards. Most agencies, such as the DOE's Office of Science, use only to list all funding opportunities. Other funding opportunities of interest include the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and NASA.

AAAS: Communicating Science, Tools for Scientists & Engineers - Scientists and engineers who foster information-sharing and respect between science and the public are essential for the public communication of and engagement with science. Although traditional scientific training typically does not prepare scientists and engineers to be effective communicators outside of academia, funding agencies are increasingly encouraging researchers to extend beyond peer-reviewed publishing and communicate their results directly to the greater public. In response to this need in science communications, the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology has partnered with the National Science Foundation to provide resources for scientists and engineers, both online and through in-person workshops to help researchers communicate more broadly with the public.


NIST - NICE Issues Cybersecurity Workforce Framework for Public Comment

The National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education (NICE) has published for public comment a draft document that classifies the typical duties and skill requirements of cybersecurity workers. The document is meant to define professional requirements in cybersecurity, much as other professions, such as medicine and law, have done.

NICE is an interagency effort coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and focused on cybersecurity awareness, education, training and professional development. NICE activities include increasing cybersecurity awareness for children and adults of all ages, promoting community college and university-level programs in cybersecurity, and expanding professional training opportunities.

The new document, the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, was created by the NICE group responsible for creating and maintaining a highly skilled workforce to meet the nation’s computer security needs. Over 20 participating agencies contributed to the group’s efforts. To read the document and provide comments, go to The webpage also provides a template for comments, which are due Dec. 16, 2011.

Network for New Energy Choices

Net Metering: A powerpoint slide show showing state grade progression in net metering from 2007 to 2011. [pdf version]

The 2011 Edition of Freeing the Grid, a policy guide that grades all 50 states on two programs: net metering and interconnection procedures.

Government Accountability Office

DHS Research and Development: Science and Technology Directorate's Test and Evaluation and Reorganization Efforts GAO-12-239T, Nov 17, 2011 Summary (HTML)   Full Report (PDF, 14 pages)   Accessible Text

Congressional Research Service

Regulatory Incentives for Electricity Transmissions-Issues and Cost Concerns

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What's New @ IEEE-USA's Eye on Washington highlights important federal legislative and regulatory developments that affect U.S. engineers and their careers. In addition to this biweekly newsletter, subscribers receive legislative bulletins and action alerts on IEEE-USA priority issues, including: retirement security, employment benefits, research & development funding, computers and information policy, immigration reform, intellectual property protection and privacy of health/medical information.

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