Y Combinator Opens Research Lab to Tackle Big Problems

The influential startup incubator is launching a research lab to work on problems too big for startups.  Why?  Because fundamental research in the U.S. is in a bad state.

We’re doing this because funding and the environment for fundamental research keep getting worse. The government cuts science funding every year, academia is badly broken in many ways, and corporate research is not open enough, or too directed toward what that company needs.

— Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator

Source:  MIT Technology Review

New Center for Computational Materials Sciences at Brookhaven  Lab and Rutgers

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $12 million in funding over the next four years for a new Center for Computational Design of Functional Strongly Correlated Materials and Theoretical Spectroscopy at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Rutgers University.  Center scientists will develop next-generation methods and software to accurately describe electronic properties in complex strongly correlated materials, as well as a companion database to predict targeted properties with energy-related application to thermoelectric materials.

Source(s): Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Department of Energy

NSF, NIST launch new consortium to support advanced manufacturing 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor will lead a consortium to identify new, emerging areas of advanced manufacturing that would benefit from shared public-private investment in research and development, education, and training.

The Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight (MForesight) will provide a channel for rapid input from industrial, academic and other private sectors on future manufacturing technologies. Its work will help align advanced manufacturing research with national priorities and challenges to ensure efficient use of federal and private funding for the greatest possible return on investment.


Streamlining, Harmonizing Regulations for Federally Funded Research:  The National Academies 


Continuing expansion of federal research regulations and requirements is diminishing the effectiveness of the U.S. scientific enterprise and lowering the return on the federal investment in research by directing investigators’ time away from research and toward administrative matters, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  The report identifies specific actions Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and research institutions should take to reduce the regulatory burden.

Source:  Optimizing the Nation’s Investment in Academic Research:
A New Regulatory Framework for the 21st Century: Part 1 (2015) 

U.S. R&D Increased in 2013, Well Ahead of GDP: NSF

Research and development performed in the United States totaled $456.1 billion in 2013. This is compared to $435.3 billion in 2012 (revised downward from an earlier estimate) and $427.8 billion in 2011. In 2008—just before the onset of the main economic effects of the national and international financial crisis and the Great Recession—U.S. R&D totaled $407.0 billion. Data are from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation.

Source: NSF National Center for Science & Engineering Statistics

NSF Grants Conference to be held in Arlington, VA — November 2-3

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is going just a few Metro stops down the road for their Fall 2015 Grants Conference.  It will be hosted by Georgetown University in Arlington, VA on November 2-3, 2015 at the Key Bridge Marriott.

Key officials representing each NSF program directorate, administrative office, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the Inspector General will participate in this two-day conference. The conference is considered a must, particularly for new faculty, researchers, educators and administrators who want to gain insight into a wide range of important and timely issues at NSF including: the state of current funding; the proposal and award process; and current and recently updated policies and procedures.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to NSF;
  • NSF’s proposal preparation and merit review process;
  • Award management;
  • Conflict of interest policies;
  • New programs and initiatives;
  • Cross-disciplinary and special interest programs; and
  • Breakout sessions by discipline.

For more info & sign-up:  Fall 2015 National Science Foundation Grants Conference