federal agency

Legislative & Federal News for April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017

U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) sent a letter requesting a 4 percent increase in appropriations for the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The White House announced an executive order to review the H-1B visa program, and the accompanying language suggests the administration’s interest in reforms to emphasize applicant skills and wages.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney lifted the federal hiring freeze last week and asked agencies to plan for workforce reductions.

SSTI submits letter to CDFI Fund on equity certification

March 21, 2017

In response to a request for information, SSTI submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund about the certification process and standards for community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Just 1.4 percent of all CDFIs and 0.2 percent of total assets are registered by the CDFI Fund as “venture capital,” which is concerning given the importance of equity for many startups.

National Defense Authorization Includes SBIR Reauthorization

December 14, 2016

Congress approved the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017, which now awaits the President’s signature. The bill includes several significant provisions for the innovation community, including:

Cures Act Provides Research Funding, Direction

December 14, 2016

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed by President Obama on Tuesday and is broadly intended to facilitate the research, development and transfer of medical discoveries in order to better-address diseases affecting American people. While the bill has received mainstream coverage for its bipartisanship – the core authors were two Democrats and two Republicans – and billions in new research spending – more than $5 billion in authorizations – the text also contains potentially significant changes for federally-supported medical research policy.

Energy Department Initiatives Create Opportunities for Efficiency, Innovation

November 30, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the Zero Energy Districts Accelerator, an initiative to develop best practices for establishing commercial districts that have net-neutral energy consumption. The accelerator is now one of 12 listed under the Better Buildings Initiative, which also includes dedicated programming for community and manufacturing initiatives.

FTC Report Calls for Reform of Patent Trolls

October 13, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report calling for reforms aimed at patent “trolls” to help lower the number of frivolous lawsuits filed by shell companies, a move welcomed by the tech industry that has pushed for reform because of the cost of lawsuits that result from the activity and its negative effect on innovation, research and development.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative Releases Draft Strategic Plan, Encourages Public Comments

September 15, 2016

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), established in 2001 as a collaboration of 20 federal agencies and cabinet-level departments with an interest in nanotechnology R&D and commercialization, has released a draft of its 2016 strategic plan. The National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, which describes the initiative’s vision and goals as well as potential strategies to achieve these goals. The plan is an update to and a replacement of a plan originally released in December 2013. Prior to the new plan’s official publication, the public is encouraged to submit comments online by September 23, 2016.

DHS Announces $40M to Support Cybersecurity Focused COEs, Free Cybersecurity Training for Vets

September 08, 2016

In August, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced over $40 million in available federal funding for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Homeland Security Quantitative Analysis via two federal funding opportunities (FFO).

Obama Administration Awards $38.8M to Support Economic, Workforce Development Projects in Coal-Impacted Communities

August 31, 2016

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) have announced $38.8 million in funding as a part of the Obama administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative – a coordinated federal effort to align, leverage and target a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities negatively impacted by global transition away from coal. In addition to $38.8 million in federal support, the federal partners anticipate that POWER investments will help coal-impacted communities leverage an additional $67 million from other public and private partners.

OSTP Finds Prize Competitions Address Agency Needs, Reduce Costs

August 25, 2016

In the last five years, federal agencies have undertaken 116 price competitions and challenges that have helped the agencies “spur innovation, engage citizen solvers, address tough problems, and advance their core missions” as well as provide a cost savings for the agencies, according to a new report the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released on August

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