The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is seeking public comment on a draft memorandum titled Advancing Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management for Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to the Biden Administration, the draft policy would “empower Federal agencies to leverage AI to improve government services and more equitably serve the American people.” The memorandum would establish new agency requirements in areas of AI governance, innovation, and risk management, and would direct agencies to adopt specific minimum risk management practices for uses of AI that impact the rights and safety of the public.
On September 18th, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $45.6 million for 24 semiconductor projects under the NSF Future of Semiconductors (FuSe) program, part of NSF’s CHIPS and Science Act research and education efforts.
According to a press release by NSF, the new funding will support 24 research and education projects through 61 awards to 47 institutions, including eight to minority-serving institutions and seven to NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) jurisdictions, and addresses three research topics:
Collaborative Research in Domain-Specific Computing
Advanced Function and High Performance by Heterogeneous Integration
New Materials for Energy Efficient, Enhanced-Performance and Sustainable Semiconductor-Based Systems
The FuSe program is a funded in part by four semiconductor manufacturers — Intel, IBM, Samsung and Ericksson. According the FuSE solicitation, the four companies have committed to providing annual contributions to NSF for the purpose of funding proposals awarded under this solicitation although the total industry contribution remains unclear from the information provided by NSF.
Under the program, NSF and each participating company will receive a non-exclusive, worldwide, paid-up, non-transferable, irrevocable royalty-free license to all intellectual property rights in any FuSE-derived inventions, consistent with the Bayh-Dole Act, which governs intellectual property rights under federally-supported research grants and contracts.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency published a new Cybersecurity Strategic Plan that will guide CISA’s efforts through fiscal year 2026 Aligned with the White House National Cybersecurity Strategy and nested under CISA’s overall Strategic Plan, the new CISA plan provides a blueprint for how the agency will address current and future cyber threats, help organizations become more secure and resilient, and ensure that technology products are secure by design and default. To this end, the Strategic Plan outlines three enduring goals:
- Address Immediate Threats by making it increasingly difficult for our adversaries to achieve their goals by targeting American and allied networks;
- Harden the Terrain by adopting strong practices for security and resilience that measurably reduce the likelihood of damaging intrusions; and
- Drive Security at Scale by prioritizing cybersecurity as a fundamental safety issue and ask more of technology providers to build security into products throughout their lifecycle, ship products with secure defaults, and foster radical transparency into their security practices so that customers clearly understand the risks they are accepting by using each product.
Under the plan CISA’s efforts must have have a measurable impact in reducing cybersecurity risk. This emphasis on impact includes the creation of better outcome-based measures of effectiveness. .
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking technologies and solutions to counter small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS). The RFI will be used to invite respondents whose capabilities are selected to participate in two DHS-funded sUAS mitigation demonstrations scheduled for July 10-28, 2023, and July 2024 at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in North Dakota.
“This effort is designed to expand our knowledge of kinetic sUAS mitigation technologies and how they apply to the multiple DHS mission sets,” said Shawn McDonald, S&T Counter-UAS Program Manager in a press release issued by DHS. “Information and data collected during this event will assist S&T in understanding, measuring and minimizing collateral effects.”
Selected technologies and solutions will test under the direction of the DHS C-UAS program, which assesses C-UAS technologies both in laboratory and real-world operational environments to deliver critical C-UAS capabilities to DHS components.
This RFI is for participation in the demonstration events only. DHS will not award a contract based on this RFI, but selected participants may be asked to sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. government.
Industry, academic institutions, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and other government organizations interested in participating must submit their response to the RFI via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10:00 AM ET on May 5, 2023.
The development of commercial fusion energy, which promises to provide a clean, abundant, and sustainable source of electricity, faces significant technical, financial, and regulatory challenges, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Mar 30, 2023. The report, titled “Fusion Energy: Potentially Transformative Technology Still Faces Fundamental Challenges,” provides an overview of the current state of fusion energy research and the potential implications for the U.S. energy system and economy.
The commercial potential of fusion energy has been the subject of much excitement and hype since the announcement of ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Lab after a multi-decade effort. However, commercially viable fusion is not just around the corner. GAO cautions that “several challenges must be overcome to achieve commercial fusion, and stakeholders’ projections of this timeline range from 10 years to several decades.”Continue reading
The Department of Commerce has released new application materials and other resources for the first CHIPS for America funding opportunity for various types of semiconductor fabrication facilities. Commerce has also posted full application materials for applicants seeking incentives for leading-edge facilities.
The Department is asking applicants to submit detailed applications so that it has all the information it needs to evaluate applications and plan awards across the semiconductor ecosystem. This will include financial models that will help reviewers evaluate the commercial viability and financial strength of projects and ensure the application is emphasizing important program priorities such as activating third party capital and customer commitments.
On Thursday, March 9, the White House released the President’s budget outline for 2024, also known as the “skinny budget”. The outline contains general top line information about science and technology budgets including funding authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act. CHIPS and Science programs are set to receive $6.5 billion above FY 2023, a 26 percent increase under the President’s Plan but well short of the targets set in the CHIPS and Science legislation.
CHIPS and Science funding highlights include: $11.3 billion for NSF, $8.8 billion for DOE’s Office of Science, $1 billion for NIST, part of the Department of Commerce, and $4 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), also part of Commerce.
The total for NSF includes $1.2 billion for activities under the new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships Directorate, including $300 million for new NSF Engines Regional Innovation Centers — a 43 percent increase.
More details are expected to be released on Monday, March 12 with the full version of the President’s FY 2024 Budget Plan.
The Biden administration announced the release of first CHIPS for America funding opportunity for semiconductor manufacturing incentives. Administered by National Institute of Standards and Technology within the Department of Commerce, the CHIPS for America program was established by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.
The administration also released a separate vision statement outlining strategic objectives for the program as discussed by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a speech at Georgetown University on February 23, 2023.
The vision statement sets out four major goals for the CHIPS program by the end of decade: 1. make the U.S. home to at least two, new large-scale clusters of leading-edge logic chip fabs, 2. make the U.S. home to multiple, high-volume advanced packaging facilities, 3. produce high-volume leading-edge memory chips, and 4. increase production capacity for current-generation and mature-node chips, especially for critical domestic industries.
The funding opportunity is the first in a series to be released under the CHIPS program. According to a new release by the administration, Commerce will release a funding opportunity for semiconductor materials and equipment facilities in the late spring of 2023, and one for research and development facilities in the fall.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning with leading-edge facilities with applicants able to submit optional pre-applications starting immediately and full applications starting March 31, 2023. For current-generation, mature-node, and back-end production facilities, pre-applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning May 1, 2023, and full applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning June 26, 2023. While optional, pre-applications are recommended according the Department.
For more information see the CHIPS for America FAQ.
Key Department of Defense (DoD) research offices have released their funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) program for the fiscal year 2024. All of the FOA’s can be accessed through Grants.gov
Under DURIP, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and U.S. Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory’s Army Research Office (ARO) seek to improve the capabilities of accredited United States institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment or instrumentation.
Closing date for each opportunity is May 12, 2023.
The National Science Foundation has launched a new effort aimed at building capacity and infrastructure for translational research at U.S. Institutions of Higher Education. The Accelerating Research Translation (ART) spans all directorates and disciplines supported by the Foundation and is targeted at universities that do not have a high level of translational research as measured by indicators such as patents, invention disclosures, licenses and other metrics.
According to the NSF, the program seeks to: 1) strengthen the institutional infrastructure to support and grow research translation, 2) fund educational/training opportunities for graduate students to become entrepreneurs and/or seek use-inspired and/or translational research-oriented careers and, 3) support “translational research activities that offer immediate opportunities for transition to practice to create economic and/or societal impact.”
It is the intention of NSF that successful awardees will form a nationwide network of ‘ART Ambassadors’ who will champion the cause of translational research both within their own school and among their peers at other academic institutions. Individuals serving as ART Ambassadors can include graduate students, senior administrators as well as university staff within tech transfer offices.