The final appropriations agreement for FY 2017 provides a 0.8 percent increase for the Department of Energy Office of Science. Five of the office’s six research programs were increased over FY 2016. Fusion energy was curtailed due to disputes over the progress of the International Thermonuclear Energy Reactor (ITER) project. The total increase was below the 4.1 percent increase proposed by the Obama Administration.
Sources: American Institute of Physics, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
LIVE Breakthrough Initiatives Summit on Life in the Universe and Space Exploration
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Software patches deal with symptoms of system insecurity without addressing underlying hardware vulnerability. Left untouched, hardware weaknesses leave systems vulnerable to follow-on software-based exploits. To counter this, DARPA’s new System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware (SSITH) program challenges researchers to design security directly at the hardware architecture level.
DARPA will host a Proposers Day in support of the SSITH program on Friday, April 21, 2017, at the Booz Allen Hamilton Conference Center (3811 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 600, Arlington, VA, 22203) from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT. See also: Baking Hack-Resistance Directly into Hardware
Federal R&D is highly concentrated among a few states, with funding flowing to states with major federal research facilities such as NASA Centers, DoE National Laboratories or major research universities.
According to a recent report by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, ten states (nine + the District of Columbia) receive the lion’s share of federal R&D funding, combining for 57% ($71.7 billion) in fiscal year 2015 . Maryland, home of HHS’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), was the top state recipient at $16.8 billion and received 48% of its funding from HHS. California was the second highest recipient at $15.3 billion and received most of its funding (93%) from DOD, DOE, HHS and NASA. Virginia ranked third, receiving $7.5 billion with 77% coming from DOD.
Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories have created a device that is orders of magnitude faster at analyzing data to identify cyber attacks. According to Sandia, The Neuromorphic Cyber Microscope is the world’s first practical implementation of neuromorphic technology to a major computer science mission.
U.S. research universities are facing dramatic cuts to their federal overhead payments, known as facilities and administration (F&A) or indirect cost reimbursements. These are costs not attributable to a single research project but include support costs such as rent, facilities maintenance and libraries.
This concern is triggered by a proposal contained in the recent Trump administration budget framework for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While a detailed budget has yet to be released the document included language that notes: “[t]he Budget also reduces administrative costs and rebalances Federal contributions to research funding.” According to a report in journal Science, this language is targeted at reducing reimbursements to universities for conducting federal research. Full budget details are scheduled to be released in mid-May but proposals to reduce overhead payments are likely to engender strong opposition from universities as their rates are pre-negotiated with the government and must cover costs of compliance with numerous federal rules and regulations.
This will likely be a highly contentious issue during the 2018 budget debate and Arch Street will be watching closely.