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HFES Bulletin

June 2014
Volume 57, Number 6

PPM

Update on Congressional Activities

By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC

In May, both the House and Senate continued to work on the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. Each chamber is using the $1.014 trillion overall funding level agreed to in the two-year Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, also known as the Ryan-Murray budget agreement. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) stated his intention to move all 12 appropriations bills through committee by the July 4th recess. Similarly, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) stated her intention to move all 12 appropriations bills through the Senate Committee by the August recess.

At the time of writing this article, the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, which provides funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was passed by the House of Representatives. The bill would provide $7.409 billion to NSF (3.3% above the FY 2014 level); $17.896 billion to NASA (1.4% above the FY 2014 level); and $855 million to NIST (<1% above the FY 2014 level). More details are provided in the analysis below.

FY 2015 begins on October 1, 2014, but we do not expect all agencies to have their final budgets approved by that time. It is likely that some of the less controversial bills will be approved before October 1, with all other activity held until after the November midterm elections. Agencies that do not have their FY 2015 budgets at that time will operate on a continuing resolution, with budgets maintained at FY 2014 levels.

Below are links to Lewis-Burke reports on specific appropriations updates to provide a comprehensive analysis of the FY 2015 appropriations process, as well as other policy updates and funding opportunities relevant to human factors/ergonomics.

Funding Opportunity in Forensic Sciences – NSF/DOJ
Additionally, researchers who focus on forensic sciences may be interested in a new funding opportunity through NSF and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The research agencies have partnered to release a solicitation for Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRCs) focused on forensic sciences. Proposal topics should address challenges within the forensics field, including human decision making and judgment. I/UCRCs are long-standing NSF centers that bring together industry and academia to solve long-term challenges to in various scientific fields. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has an established interest in forensic science and is a suitable partner on this solicitation. The deadline for letters of intent is June 27, 2014. Additional information on I/UCRCs is available here. Any questions should be directed to forensic-science-inquiries@nsf.gov.

Department of Transportation to Support Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center
On June 4, the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeking applications for the establishment of a Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center in each of the five geographic regions of the United States. Institutions of higher education, in partnership with industry or State Departments of Transportation, are eligible for these center awards to develop, test, and revise new curricula and education programs to train individuals at all levels of the transportation workforce. FHWA will host a pre-award webinar for interested organizations on June 10 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST. Registration for the webcast is available here. Applications for this funding opportunity are due on July 10, 2014, at 4:00 PM EST. Further information is available here.

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals work to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.


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