The House and Senate were not in session this week. Both chambers will be in recess again next week and then return on Monday, April 28.
Appropriations Season Kicks Off
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have begun considering individual federal spending bills for Fiscal Year 2015. The House Appropriations Committee, which has already approved appropriations bills for veterans, military construction, and the legislative branch, intends to take up the bill that provides funding for the National Science Foundation and NASA shortly after it returns from recess in one week. The Senate Appropriations Committee will kick off its consideration with a veterans and military construction bill when that chamber returns.
OGR, FEDERAL CONSULTANTS HUDDLE AT UIC
Earlier this week, UIC Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Mitra Dutta, UI Director of Federal Relations Jon Pyatt, and April Burke, Julie Jolly, and Harry Mayfield from Lewis-Burke Associates met with various UIC faculty and researchers as part of a campus retreat. OGR and Lewis-Burke led several roundtable discussions with faculty from applied health sciences, public health, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and natural sciences and engineering. In addition to describing OGR and Lewis-Burke services and signaling federal funding trends, the roundtables established processes for continued collaboration around federal funding opportunities and for early career faculty trips meet with program officers at federal agencies.
ILLINOIS IN DC
Lane Martin Honored at White House, Discusses 'Brain Drain' on MSNBC
Urbana's Dr. Lane Martin, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, was honored by the White House this past Monday as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Dr. Martin was nominated for PECASE by the Department of Defense for his innovative efforts to develop a new modality of solid-state cooling to improve the performance and resolution of night vision systems for our nation's warfighters.
Later that same day, the 102 PECASE awardees had a chance to meet President Obama at the White House, where the President applauded the researchers for their accomplishments and leadership. The picture above is an official White House Photo by Pete Souza.
On Tuesday, Dr. Martin and nine of his fellow PECASE recipients participated in a Science Coalition media roundtable at the National Press Club. The on-the-record discussion included reporters from The Washington Post and Huffington Post, among others, and emphasized the value of federal investments in scientific research. For audio of the event, click here.
Wednesday, Dr. Martin took this message to the Hill, where he met with the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Representatives Rodney Davis and Tammy Duckworth.
As a follow-up to the Science Coalition roundtable, Dr. Martin was invited to participate on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" news program. He was invited to appear on the show by Sam Stein, the Huffington Post reporter who regularly appears as a commentator on the top-rated morning political show. In this clip from the interview (see 5:30), Dr. Martin described the impact of sequestration and federal budget caps that diminish federal funding for basic research.
“We've had programs that end after really successful first stages including some DARPA programs. We’ve had good ideas that just go unfunded because there’s just not enough money to go around.”
“My main concern...is that this has really huge implications for 10, 20, 30 years down the road if we're not training those students who are going to pick up the torch and run with it. We're seriously going to be in trouble. Innovation is a huge part of what America exports and what we bring to the world and this is troublesome.”
OGR is grateful to Dr. Martin for all he did to help raise the university's profile and be such a terrific messenger for all research universities this week in Washington.
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations