Workshop: NIST Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a framework to better manage risks to individuals, organizations, and society associated with artificial intelligence (AI).

The Framework will be developed through a consensus-driven, open, transparent, and collaborative process that will include workshops and other opportunities to provide input. It is intended to build on, align with, and support AI risk management efforts by others.

NIST’s work on the Framework is consistent with its broader AI efforts, recommendations by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and the Plan for Federal Engagement in AI Standards and Related Tools. Congress has directed NIST to collaborate with the private and public sectors to develop the AI Framework.

The on-going NIST effort aims to foster the development of innovative approaches to address characteristics of trustworthiness including accuracy, explainability and interpretability, reliability, privacy, robustness, safety, security (resilience), and mitigation of unintended and/or harmful bias, as well as of harmful uses. The Framework should consider and encompass principles such as transparency, fairness, and accountability during design, deployment, use, and evaluation of AI technologies and systems. These characteristics and principles are generally considered as contributing to the trustworthiness of AI technologies and systems, products, and services.

A initial virtual workshop to enable expert participation from industry, academia and government will be held on October 19-21.

Investing in Rural Prosperity — New Approaches

Rural communities throughout the United States are vibrant places, with great people, rich culture and heritage, and deep social ties. But recent structural changes to the economy, along with long-term challenges, have left many in these communities at a crossroads, wondering which direction will lead to prosperity for all.

Investing in Rural Prosperity, a forthcoming book from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Federal Reserve Board, seeks to help people living in rural areas navigate the challenges and opportunities they face to reach a future in which economic prosperity is a reality.

Chapter 9 is available in advance on the St. Louis Fed’s website.  It outlines a new framework for fostering shared economic prosperity in rural communities. The authors’ proposed approach to rural development—abbreviated with the acronym “TRIC”—is tailored to the specific goals, assets and organizational infrastructures of communities. It is designed to be resilient in changing circumstances; inclusive about who is at the decision-making table and who benefits from local development; and promotes a collaborative process. The chapter explores each of the principles in the TRIC framework, including their meanings, their interconnectedness and interdependence, and their ability to inform and shape rural development.

For more information see:  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis –  The “TRIC” to Fostering Shared Economic Prosperity in Rural America

White House Releases Nanotechnology Plan

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) unveiled the 2021 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategic Plan on October 9, 2021. The strategy seeks to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in nanoscience discoveries as well as in translating and manufacturing its products to benefit all of America. In addition to identifying priorities for the NNI to best support the research community in the United States, the plan prioritizes efforts to expand sustainable infrastructure and advance equity in the nanotechnology workforce.

The plan emphasizes the need for specialized nanotechnology research tools and facilities, emphasizing the need to expand and refresh the research infrastructure, and provide access to these facilities for research and industry. The plan also links investments in research infrastructure to the training of the future nanotechnology workforce and continued growth in high-paying jobs.

Tech Transfer Presentation: The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program

Washington Area Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society (T2SDC) will be hosting an online presentation on the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from Noon to 1 p.m..

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program leverages the resources of the University System of Maryland (USM) to help create new products and services that feed the growth of Maryland businesses. Since the program’s inception in 1987, MIPS–enabled products have generated sales of $42 billion.

MIPS provides funding, matched by participating companies, for university-based research projects that help the companies develop new products. The program is administered at the flagship campus at the University of Maryland, College Park, and works throughout the 12 member institutions of the University System of Maryland, plus Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College. In these academic-industrial, public-private partnerships, MIPS connects the resources of the Maryland public universities to businesses from all parts of Maryland.

Presenting will be Joseph Naft, Director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program of the University of Maryland (UMD).

To register, please go use the following link.

Software Bill of Materials Minimum Elements Defined by NTIA

The President’s recent cybersecurity Executive Order (14028) directed the Department of Commerce, in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to publish the “minimum elements” for a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). See: .PDF iconThe Minimum Elements For a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) This report builds on the work of NTIA’s SBOM multistakeholder process, as well as the responses to a request for comments issued in June, 2021, and extensive consultation with other Federal experts. 

An SBOM is a formal record containing the details and supply chain relationships of various components used in building software. In addition to establishing minimum elements, this report defines the scope of how to think about minimum elements, describes SBOM use cases for greater transparency in the software supply chain, and lays out options for future evolution

The minimum elements as defined in the report are the essential pieces that support basic SBOM functionality and will serve as the foundation for an evolving approach to software transparency. These minimum elements comprise three broad, interrelated areas.

  1. Data Fields: Documenting baseline information about each component that should be tracked
  2. Automation Support: Allowing for scaling across the software ecosystem through automatic generation and machine-readability
  3. Practices and Processes: Defining the operations of SBOM requests, generation and use

SBOM minimum elements will enable basic use cases, such as management of vulnerabilities, software inventory, and licenses. The report also looks at recommended SBOM features and advances that go beyond the minimum elements, including key security features and tracking more detailed supply chain data.

Arch Street on NSF Funding, Senate Tech Legislation

Tim Clancy, President of Arch Street was quoted in the June 3 edition of Chemical and Engineering News on potential new funding for the National Science Foundation and a proposed new NSF technology directorate as envisioned by the US Innovation and Competition Act (S.1260), previously the Endless Frontier Act.

The new legislation and a companion House bill would expand NSF funding of advanced technology and development and push the agency to adopt a “strong program manager” funding model utilized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This would be significant shift of philosophy for the NSF which has focused on basic, fundamental research selected through rigorous peer review with program managers playing a facilitating role. In the NSF budget request for Fiscal Year 2022, the Biden Administration has proposed the creation of a new NSF technology directorate as well as additional funding for regional innovation activities focused on critical technologies such as advanced manufacturing and semiconductors.

New SBIR Funding Opportunities for Regional Accelerators and Entrepreneurship Development

SBIR/STTR 11 Agencies, 1 Vision: Seed the Future

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released several funding opportunities to support and promote equitable and inclusive economic recovery for entrepreneurs and small businesses. They include the new Community Navigator Pilot Program, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the SBIR Catalyst Prize Competition (SBIR Catalyst).

Established by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Community Navigator Pilot Program will award $100 million to support regional “hub and spoke” networks in providing technical assistance, training, direct financial assistance, and other services to underserved small businesses. The program seeks to leverage the coordinating power of network “hubs” and the direct outreach and stakeholder engagement “spokes” to deliver services to underserved businesses, especially those owned by women, veterans and socially disadvantaged individuals. Award amounts will vary depending on the size of proposed networks and the markets they are able to serve, with total funding ranging from $1 million to $5 million per network. Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) must apply by July 12 — see: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=333792

The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the SBIR Catalyst Prize Competition (SBIR Catalyst) will provide a total of $5.25 million in funding for impactful and inclusive approaches for supporting entrepreneurs in conducting R&D. The GAFC and SBIR Catalyst Competition is a two-track program. The GAFC track will infuse accelerators and incubators with additional resource capital of up to $50,000 per award to provide focused assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs, including but not limited to support for company formation as well as awareness and education of the SBIR/STTR programs. The SBIR Catalyst program funds ESOs with up to $150,000 per award to act as connectors across current and future programs that fund innovation clusters, hubs, and navigators. Successful proposals will also detail efforts to align federal resources with existing state and local resources, regional strengths and economic growth opportunities. Apply for either track by July 2.

Webinar: Small Business and Entrepreneurial Innovation at the NIH

Grants and Funding logo

WHAT: Webinar on Healthcare Innovation and the NIH

WHEN: Thursday, May 27, 2021; 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET

The National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) will host a webinar on Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Developing products across the biomedical spectrum requires NIH’s collaboration with universities and research institutions, small businesses, trade associations and societies, angel investors, venture capitalists, and strategic partners. The SEED office leads initiatives that develop these relationships and assist NIH innovators to further their product development efforts.

SEED director Matthew McMahon will give an introduction to NIH programs and services that accelerate biomedical innovation and increase diversity throughout the NIH innovator community.

Registration is free and can be accessed here: NIH SEED Webinar

New NIST Draft Guide Released on Cybersecurity for Distributed Energy Resources

NIST NCCOE

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) has published for comment a preliminary draft of NIST SP 1800-32, Securing the Industrial Internet of Things: Cybersecurity for Distributed Energy Resources. The public comment period is open until May 24, 2021.

In the practice guide, the NCCoE applies standards, best practices, and commercially available technology to protect the digital communication, data, and control of cyber-physical grid-edge devices. The guide demonstrates an example solution for monitoring and detecting anomalous behavior of connected industrial internet of things (IIoT) devices and building a comprehensive audit trail of trusted IIoT data flows.

New AI.Gov Web Presence Launched

The Biden Administration has launched a new web presence for ai.gov the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative (NAII).

The NAII was established by the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 (NAIIA) – bipartisan legislation enacted at the beginning of, 2021. The legislation directs the President to sustain and support various AI R&D, education, workforce, and outreach initiatives including trustworthy AI, as well as support international R&D cooperation in AI with key allies.

Congress also establishes the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office (NAIIO) to coordinate and support the NAII. The NAIIO is tasked to:

  1. Provide technical and administrative support to the Select Committee on AI (the senior interagency committee that oversees the NAII) and the National AI Initiative Advisory Committee;
  2. Oversee interagency coordination of the NAII;
  3. Serve as the central point of contact for technical and programmatic information exchange on activities related to the — AI Initiative across Federal departments and agencies, industry, academia, nonprofit organizations, professional societies, State and tribal governments, and others;
  4. Conduct regular public outreach to diverse stakeholders; and
    Promote access to technologies, innovations, best practices, and expertise derived from Initiative activities to agency missions and systems across the Federal Government.

The National AI Initiative provides an overarching framework to strengthen and coordinate AI research, development, demonstration, and education activities across all U.S. Departments and Agencies, in cooperation with academia, industry, non-profits, and civil society organizations. The work under this Initiative is organized into six strategic pillars – InnovationAdvancing Trustworthy AIEducation and TrainingInfrastructureApplications, and International Cooperation.