US Policy Changes Vol.54 (R&D Vol.2)

Here are articles on R&D. Excerpts are on our own.

How Does the US President Decide on Science Policy? (1/4/2017) | @kellysimsgallagher (@TuftsUniversity) @LiveScience @ConversationEDU
One of the president’s most important responsibilities is fostering science, technology and innovation in the U.S. economy. The relationship between science and policy runs in two directions: Scientific knowledge can inform policy decisions, and conversely, policies affect the course of science, technology and innovation.
Historically, government spending on science has been good for the economy. Innovation is estimated to drive approximately 85 percent of economic growth. Not only does it provide a means for “creative destruction” within the economy, it also results in reduced costs for products and services that consumers demand. …
Where does the president get scientific advice?
…Vannevar Bush…the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). OSRD’s mission was to marshal and coordinate civilian and military scientists to develop and deploy new technology in wartime. OSRD helped to establish the Manhattan Project and was the origin of the military-industrial complex. …the Raytheon Corporation… …the National Science Foundation.
…the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)…
…OSTP works alongside the other offices in the White House, including the Domestic Policy Council, the Council on Environmental Quality and the National Security Council. …
Budget is a big part of it
…the president’s budget request must be approved by Congress in order for the spending priorities to be fulfilled.
Innovation research is an uncertain and risky investment, which is why the government has traditionally shouldered the burden for pre- or noncommercial science and technology research and why universities do most of this type of research. …
The Department of Defense manages the largest portion of the federal R&D budget (US$78 billion in the FY17 budget) compared with all other nondefense R&D combined, at $68 billion. The National Institutes of Health comes in second at 0.77 percent with $30.9 billion. The Department of Energy and NASA have far fewer resources, with R&D funds of about $14 billion and only $12 billion, respectively. …
The internet…the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, shale gas fracking from both Defense and DOE investments at Los Alamos National Lab and research on the human genome from NIH. Private firms like Microsoft and Google, Mitchell Energy and Pfizer capitalized upon taxpayer investments…
Case study: Obama’s OSTP
… The OSTP worked to make more than 180,000 federal datasets and collections available to students, entrepreneurs and the public. It produced the first-ever U.S. innovation strategy, launched the Precision Medicine Initiative (providing more than $200 million to accelerate a new era of personalized medicine), embarked on a Cancer Moonshot initiative and launched the BRAIN initiative that resulted in a doubling of research funding for Alzheimer’s research at NIH between 2012 and 2017.
Initiatives like these are a hopeful down payment on results that usually bear fruit years later. Through the efforts of the SunShot and wind R&D programs at DOE and private firms, for example, the United States now generates more than three times as much electricity from wind and four times as much from solar as it did in 2008. That’s because the cost for renewables has come down rapidly – solar costs 1/150th what it did in the 1970s. …
Science opportunities for President Trump
… Indeed, the current President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) produced an excellent report on accelerating U.S. advanced manufacturing in 2014. …

Role of Science in the Trump Administration (12/22/2016) | @AmOrnith
AOS is among 59 organizations to sign a letter from the American Institute of Biological Sciences to… The text of the letter is below.
… Biology is the science of life. Every day, discoveries arising from biological research contribute to improved human health and economic security. Biology is a foundational science from which we build new antibiotic and antiviral medications, translate findings from genetics laboratories into the development of more drought tolerant food crops, and develop new materials inspired by biological compounds and structures. Biological diversity surveys, for example, provide us with the information we need to identify and model diseases, such as Ebola and Zika, which can jump from wild animal populations to humans. Insights derived from our investigations into the human microbial biome are improving our understanding of various health conditions and diseases, such as food allergies, Crohn’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease…
Research is an important engine that powers our economy. Over the past 50 years, roughly half of our nation’s private sector economic growth has resulted from research and development. One analysis of the return on the federal government’s $12 billion investment in the Human Genome Project found that it generated an estimated $800 billion in economic return. Other economic analyses of investments in agricultural research have estimated a $10 return on every $1 the federal government invests. … https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/resources/AIBS_Biological_Innovation_Report.pdf
The federal government provides more than half of the funding for basic research in the United States. …80,000 patents awarded over a 10-year period were based on research initially funded by the federal government’s National Science Foundation. …
Science has not been, nor do we think it should be, a partisan issue. Rather, it is a public benefit. …

Energy research in the Trump administration (1/21/2017) | Stephanie Joyce @GlenwoodPI
… “Maybe shifting some of those resources away from the renewable industry, which has been a tremendous beneficiary of federal assistance under the Obama administration, and directing some of that towards developing technology to help us use our coal resource better,”…
Energy is 2 percent of the total pie of R&D funding on average between 2000 and 2017, or an average of $2.2 billion a year. Compare that to defense R&D, which averaged $78 billion a year over the same time period, or 56 percent of all R&D spending. …
… As a 2010 paper from the Pacific Northwest National Lab shows, private investment has tended to gravitate toward established industries, like oil and gas, rather than less proven technologies, like renewables. …

How the Trump Administration Could Impact Research – Federal Relations’ Jennifer Grodsky on the uncertainties ahead for BU | @sararimer @BU_Tweets
…BU’s vice president for federal relations…
Grodsky:… Presidents matter. But our new Congress matters, too. … So the leading proponents of the big new CURES medical research law were always a bipartisan group. …
The biggest threat to research agencies and student aid budgets continues to be the current budget caps and the threat of sequester if the caps aren’t lifted. The two-year agreement that temporarily lifted the caps ends in March 2017, and it remains to be seen how a Trump administration and a Republican Congress will address the caps. One serious and credible threat to research universities is that politicians will choose to lift the caps for defense spending, but not for nondefense spending. Nearly all our priorities fall under the category of nondefense spending…
…real success for agency budgets will depend on lifting the budget caps.
Research priorities like the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative may well continue into the new administration…
… Research related to the Affordable Care Act, such as work funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute or the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, may be significantly reduced.
…the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)…
The question is who will Trump appoint as the head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. That person can also have a second title—as science advisor to the president—but that’s optional. …
… Vermont’s senators will play important roles as they will become the senior Democrats on both the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees.
…the Association of American Universities. …
As with all my peers at other universities, my job is to get in there early with President Trump’s advisors and make the case for funding research and why research is important. I can take the view that he hasn’t said much, so let’s get in there and arm him with facts that we think make the case for why research and science should be a top priority.

USDA scrambles to ease concerns after researchers were ordered to stop publishing news releases (1/25/2017) | @jdelreal @washingtonpost

President Trump and science: 10 things to look for (and fear?) (1/23/2017) | @jeffmervis @scienmag

Gelernter, potential science advisor to Trump, denies man-made climate change (1/25/2017) | BRITTON O’DALY & DAVID YAFFE-BELLANY @yaledailynews

EPA science under scrutiny by Trump political staff (1/25/2017) | @mbieseck & @borenbears @AP @FoxLexington
… The communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. …