AFRL Webinar:  Research Opportunities for HBCU and MSI Researchers 

On Tuesday, February 16th, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) will be hosting a webinar on opportunities for researchers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI’s).  The event is an opportunity for researchers from these institutions to learn about funding, partnership, and career opportunities available through AFRL and AFOSR.

To register, go to:  AFOSR Engage: HBCU/MI and Special Programs

Biden Challenges Incoming Science Advisor: Five Questions on Science in the National Interest

On January 15, 2021, U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden nominated geneticist Dr. Eric Lander to be his Science Advisor and head of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP). Concurrently, the President-Elect also announced he would elevate OSTP to cabinet-level, a first since the position was created in the early-1970’s.

In a letter to Dr. Lander [PDF] released at the time of his announcement, President-Elect Biden asked five specific questions on how science can and should benefit the nation. Citing the questions posed by Franklin Roosevelt to his science advisor, Vannevar Bush in 1944 that resulted in Bush’s landmark report, Science: The Endless Frontier, Biden asked five specific questions on how science can meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Biden asked that Dr. Lander should call on the entire U.S. science enterprise to make recommendations “on the general strategies, specific actions, and new structures that the federal government should adopt to ensure that our nation can continue to harness the full power of science and technology on behalf of the American people“.

The five specific questions put forward by the President-Elect are:

  1. What can we learn from the pandemic about what is possible—or what ought to be possible—to address the widest range of needs related to our public health?
  2. How can breakthroughs in science and technology create powerful new solutions to address climate change—propelling market-driven change, jump-starting economic growth, improving health, and growing jobs, especially in communities that have been left behind?
  3. How can the United States ensure that it is the world leader in the technologies and industries of the future that will be critical to our economic prosperity and national security, especially in competition with China?
  4. How can we guarantee that the fruits of science and technology are fully shared across America and among all Americans?
  5. How can we ensure the long-term health of science and technology in our nation?

Webinar: AI Institute for Next-Generation Food Systems

The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine will host a webinar on the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS), which aims to meet growing demands in the food supply by increasing efficiencies using AI and bioinformatics across food production and distribution systems. The Institute, launched in October 2020, brings together researchers from six institutions – UC Davis; UC Berkeley; Cornell University; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; UC Agriculture and Natural Resources; and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Through the integration of digital and biological technologies, AIFS research will pursue multidisciplinary science, industry engagement, and workforce development to address challenges across the U.S. food system.

Ilias Tagkopoulos, the director of AIFS and professor in the UC Davis Department of Computer Science and Genome Center, will discuss the collaborative mission of the new institute. 


National Academies Framework for Equitable Allocation of a COVID-19 Vaccine 

A roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is possibly less than a month away.  In this light, a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released in October is especially pertinent.  It is a final report of a consensus study recommending a four-phased equitable allocation framework that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) authorities should adopt in the development of national and local guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine allocation.

To read more, see: National Academies Release Framework for Equitable Allocation of a COVID-19 Vaccine

2020 State Science & Technology Index Released

Investments in science and technology are critical for job and wealth creation as well as broader economic growth across all regions of the United States. The biennial State Technology and Science Index (STSI) developed by the Miliken Institute provides a benchmark for evaluating the knowledge economies of all 50 US states. The index compares each state’s capacity for achieving prosperity through scientific discovery and technological innovation.

The index uses 105 metrics in five areas (research and development inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism) to evaluate states.

Massachusetts, Colorado, California, Maryland, Washington and Utah top the list.

Air Force to Host Trusted AI Challenge series 

The Air Force Research Laboratory is teaming up with academia, industry and government agencies to ensure the trustworthiness of future Artificial Intelligence.

The series is designed to cultivate, define and fund creative solutions to a set of challenge problems in trustworthy AI and will focus on dynamic, autonomous systems that learn and adapt behaviors.   The series will kick off Oct. 14, 2020 with a half-day webinar at 12 Noon EDT.  Click here to register.

CRISPR Developers Win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 for their discovery of a method of editing genetic code known as CRISPR/Cas9.

In just eight short years, this discovery has had a profound impact on science and on humanity. Using CRISPR, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. This technology has revolutionized the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.