Welcome to Beltway BUzz

January 10th, 2014

WELCOME TO BELTWAY BUZZ

BU Federal Relations is kicking off the new year by launching a newsletter featuring research and education developments in Washington, D.C., tailored for the BU community. Beltway BUzz will provide updates on Congressional and federal agency activities, announce key personnel changes in the Obama Administration, highlight grant solicitations, and feature the many BU faculty and staff who participate in Washington activities.

CONGRESSIONAL OUTLOOK FOR 2014

With Congress looking ahead to midterm elections in November, the outlook is dim for major policy changes in 2014. However, progress is possible for several measures important to research universities.

Congress is expected to pass a large spending bill this month which will set the funding levels for each federal agency for the remainder of fiscal year 2014, in line with the budget framework negotiated shortly before Christmas. The bill will give agencies clear guidelines for spending through October, permitting them to release long-awaited grant solicitations. This will be followed in early spring by the White House’s release of its proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, signaling the beginning of Capitol Hill budget debates for the year ahead.

While the budget negotiations dominate the headlines, the higher education community can expect policymakers to scrutinize college costs, college quality, and innovations in higher education as Congress prepares to renew the Higher Education Act. Lawmakers held several hearings on the bill last year, and more are expected in the year ahead.

The scientific community will continue to watch the progress made on renewing the America COMPETES Act, which establishes priorities for the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Debates over funding levels, the role of the social sciences, and the future of energy research are expected to be front and center.

As policymakers debate these and other issues, BU Federal Relations will continue to represent the University’s voice in meetings with legislators and other stakeholders.

SMITHSONIAN CHIEF SCIENTIST TO STEP DOWN

The Smithsonian Institution announced Wednesday that Under Secretary for Science Eva Pell plans to depart in March after four years in the role. During her tenure, she promoted interdisciplinary research across Smithsonian museums through the Grand Challenges Consortia. John Kress, director of the Smithsonian’s Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, has been appointed as the interim Under Secretary.

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GRANT NEWS YOU CAN USE

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has released a broad agency announcement for its Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence program. Through this opportunity, the DIA funds universities to create substantial security and intelligence education programs that generate qualified intelligence professionals. The DIA expects to make five to seven awards worth $200,000 to $400,000. Proposals are due March 15.

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