Archives for December 18, 2015

Report from UM federal relations team

On Capitol Hill

Congress passes tax extender, votes on Omnibus spending bill  
This week, the House and Senate came to agreement on a massive spending bill that would keep the federal government funded until October 1, 2016. H.R.2029 is the $1.15 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus spending bill that also includes bipartisan House-backed language on restricting the visa waiver program (HR 158) and text of fiscal 2016 intelligence authorization legislation (HR 4127), as well as a cybersecurity measure (S 754).

As a result of an earlier budget deal that allowed for spending above sequestration levels, the federal research and education agencies did very well.  Most saw increases, if not level funding, over FY 2015.  And in this fiscally conservative spending environment, many of those agencies had not seen increases in several years.

The big winner in the higher education world is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which received a $2 billion, or 6.6 percent increase, over FY 2015.   This is the largest investment in both dollar and percentage terms since 2003, and much of it was due to bipartisan support and the championship of Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) who has been supportive of funding increases for the agency.

As part of the Omnibus negotiations, Congressional leadership also agreed to move a package of tax provisions that would make permanent several provisions of interest, including making permanent and enhancing the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) for higher education expenses; extension of tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes; makes permanent the research and development (R&D) tax credit; extends the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses; and improves section 529 higher education savings accounts.  Full details on the tax provisions package can be found here and a summary can be found here.

Below are details of agencies and programs of interest in the Omnibus.  In addition, a chart of these programs and their funding can be found here.

AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES
U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is funded at $819.7 million, a $32.8 million or 4.16 percent increase above FY 2015 funding.
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is funded at $350 million, a $25 million or 7.7 percent increase above FY 2015.
  • Smith-Lever 3(b)-(c) is funded at $300 million, level with FY 2015 funding and the Hatch-Act receives $243.7 million, also level with FY 2015.
  • The full conference report can be found here.

COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES
National Institute of Standards and Technology

  • The Omnibus includes $964 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  This is an increase of $100 million, or an 11.5 percent increase over FY 2015.
  • The Omnibus includes $25 million for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), to include funding for NNMI center establishment and up to $5 million for coordination activities.  Report language directs NIST to follow the direction of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act and hold an open competition to select the technological focus for the NIST NNMI competition.  The Omnibus also merges the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) into NNMI.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

  • The final Omnibus includes $19.285 billion for NASA, an increase of $1.27 billion over FY 2015.  However much of this increase is directed to the Space Operations account.   The NASA Science programs would be funded at $5.589 billion, an increase of $344 million over FY 2015.
  • Space Technology is funded at $686.5 million, an increase of $90.5million or 15.2 percent over FY2015.
  • The final Omnibus rejects the proposed cuts to NASA Space Grant and funds the program at $40 million, level with FY 2015 funding.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • The Omnibus provides $7.46 billion for NSF, a $119 million or 1.6 percent increase over FY 2015 funding.
  • Conference report language encourages NSF to continue efforts to increase transparency and accountability in its grant awards process.  This includes new requirements that “public award abstracts articulate how the project serves the national interest.”
  • The Omnibus includes $5.966 billion for Research and Related Activities and does not include the proposed cuts to the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate.  The conference report includes language that “Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences shall be funded up to the fiscal year 2015 level.”
  • The full text of the conference report can be found here.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • The Omnibus provides $70 billion for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), an increase of $6 billion or 9.4 percent over FY 2015 funding.
  • Department of Defense (DOD) Science and Technology (6.1, 6.2, 6.3) would be funded at $13.25 billion, a $790 million or 6.4 percent increase over FY 2015.  This is higher than the amounts proposed in both the House and Senate spending bills.
  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funded at $2.89 billion, a $25.2 million or 0.9 percent decrease over FY 2015.
  • The full text of the conference report can be found here.

ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES

  • The legislation provides $5.35 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science in FY 2016, an increase of $280 million or 5.5 percent over FY 2015.
  • The Omnibus provides $70 million for five clean energy manufacturing innovation institutes and $20 million for a “Manufacturing Demonstration Facility” in the area of clean energy.
  • The Omnibus provides $291 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (ARPA-E) program.  This is a $11 million increase or 3.9 percent increase over FY 2015.
  • The full text of the conference report can be found here.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) is funded at $787 million, a decrease of $313 million or 28.4 percent from FY 2015.  Most of that decrease comes from cuts made to internal Laboratory Facility funds. Research, Development, and Innovation is also cut.  Those programs are funded at $434.8 million, $22.6 million below FY 2015 funding.
  • The full text of the conference report can be found here.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES

  • The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is funded at $147 million, a $1 million increase or 0.68 percent increase over FY 2015.
  • Language included in the conference report commends NEH for its grant programs focused on Wounded Warriors and returning Veterans, as well as the work of the state humanities councils.
  • The full text of the conference report can be found here.

DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES
Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funded at $32.084 billion, a $2 billion or 6.6 percent increase over FY 2015.  Within NIH, report language is included that prioritizes Alzheimer’s Disease research; Cancer research; the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI); the BRAIN Initiative; and efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.
  • The Omnibus also retains the NIH salary cap for grants at Executive Level II (the House had proposed decreasing the cap to Executive Level III).
  • Language is included in the report that requires the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program to report to provide a legislative plan to update eligibility criteria and incorporate EPSCoR qualifying states into the IDeA eligibility criteria.
  • The final conference agreement does not include any funding for infrastructure in support of NIH research.  The Senate Labor/ HHS/ Education appropriations bill had included $50 million for infrastructure at institutions of higher education in support of NIH research.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) would be funded at $3.77 billion, an increase of $160.2 million over FY 2015.  Funding was also included at $9.046 million for the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTC), which the President Budget request had proposed to cut.  The UMKC College of Nursing and Health Studies actively advocated for restoration of those funds.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would receive $334 million in FY 2016, a decrease of $29.7 million from FY 2015.
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is funded at $6.38 billion, an increase of $36.7 million over FY 2015.  Within that total Nursing Programs would be funded at $229.4 million, a decrease of $2.15 million from FY 2015, due to the restructuring of the Geriatric Education programs.

U.S. Department of Education

  • The Omnibus includes $900 million for TRIO, an increase of $60.1 million for the program over FY 2015.  Report language directs the increased funding to hold a new competition for Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Centers, as well as to increase funding to existing TRIO programs.  The report language also encourages the Department of Education to hold the new competition as soon as possible, in order to award the grants by July 31, 2016.  GEAR UP would receive $322.7 million, an increase of $21.1 million from FY 2015.
  • The Omnibus also includes $120 million for the Investing in Innovation (I3), same level of funding as FY 2015.
  • Promise Neighborhoods program is funded at $73 million, $16.6 million more than FY 2015 enacted level.
  • For Federal Student Aid programs, the Pell Grant is funded at $22.5 billion and the maximum grant would be increased to $5,915, an increase of $140 for the 2016-2017 academic year.  In addition, Federal Work Study is funded at $989 million (same as FY 2015) and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG) at $733 million (same as FY 2015).
  • Graduate Assistant in Areas of National Need (GAANN) is funded at $29 million, same as FY 2015 levels.  The House had proposed a substantial cut of this program.
  • Title VI international programs is funded at $72.1 million, same as FY 2015.
  • The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is funded at $618 million, a $44 million or 7.6 percent increase.  Within that total, the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) is funded at $54 million, the same as FY 2015.  The House Labor/ HHS/ Education bill had proposed substantial cuts to IES.  The University of Missouri – Columbia College of Education, working with other AAU institutions, successfully advocated for the restoration of this funding.
  • The full conference report can be found here.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS
U.S. Agency for International Development

  • The Omnibus bill includes $1.5 billion for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an increase of $110 million compared to the FY 2015 level and $174 million below the President’s request.  The Omnibus funds the Feed the Future at $50 million and State is directed to support the Feed the Future Innovation Labs in fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request.  The Omnibus also includes funding for new partnerships within USAID Higher Education programs.  Language is included that funds will be between U.S higher education institutions and developing countries for “institutional capacity building and awarded on an open and competitive basis”.
  • The full conference report can be found here.

House, Senate pass legislation to extend the Perkins loan program  

This week, Congress considered and passed the Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015. This legislation provides a 2-year extension for the Perkins loan program and allows current and new undergraduate borrowers to receive new Perkins loans. Current borrowers much exhaust all subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan prior to receiving Perkins loans, and new borrowers must exhaust all Direct Loan eligibility prior to receive Perkins loans. Congress is expected to consider the reauthorization of the program in the Higher Education Act reauthorization next year.  The President is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Senate confirms Assistant Secretary of Defense, DoE Office of Science leadership  

This week, the Senate voted by unanimous consent to confirm the nomination of Stephen Welby to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering for the Department of Defense. Prior to being confirmed for his current position, Mr. Welby was the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, as well a performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. Mr. Welby has more than 27 years of experience in defense work including positions at the Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA).  His biography can be found here.

The Senate also confirmed this month Cherry Murray as the new head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Ms. Murray comes from Harvard University where from 2009-2014 she was Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences before serving as the Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and Professor of Physics at Harvard. Among her many career accomplishments, Ms. Murray was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by the White House in 2014 for her work in the advancement of devices for telecommunications, leadership in the STEM field in the U.S., and use of light to study matter.  The press release regarding her confirmation can be found here.

Around the Federal Agencies

ARPA-E to host 2016 conference on energy innovation 
February 29 through March 2, 2016 the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) will host its annual energy innovation summit in National Harbor, Maryland. This conference brings together business, academia, and government to advance transformational energy technologies. Keynote speakers will include U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and the President of the World Bank Group Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Learn more about the conference here.

National Institutes of Health releases RFI on precision medicine 
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a request for information (RFI) in November 17 to solicit information for the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit input on conducting physical evaluations on biospecimens from Direct Volunteers for the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program.  The NIH is seeking information regarding strategies that would allow for baseline physical evaluation and biospeciman acquisition from a cohort of 300,000 or more Direct Volunteers. The request for information can be viewed here.

National Institutes of Health releases strategic plan  
On December 16, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) unveiled the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2016-2010. Titled “Turning Discovery Into Health”, the plan focuses on ensuring that the agency is well positioned to capitalized on new opportunities for scientific exploration and address new challenges for human health. The strategic plan was developed after hearing from hundreds of stakeholders, and includes four main objectives:

  1. “Advance opportunities in biomedical research in fundamental science, treatment and cures, and health promotion and disease prevention;
  2. Foster innovation by setting NIH priorities to enhance nimbleness, consider burden of disease and value of permanently eradicating a disease, and advance research opportunities presented by rare diseases.
  3. Enhance scientific stewardship by recruiting and retaining an outstanding biomedical research workforce, enhancing workforce diversity and impact through partnerships, ensuring rigor and reproducibility, optimizing approaches to inform funding decisions, encouraging innovation, and engaging in proactive risk management practices; and
  4. Excel as a federal science agency by managing for results by developing the “science of science,” balancing outputs with outcomes, conducting workforce analyses, continually reviewing peer review, evaluating steps to enhance rigor and reproducibility, reducing administrative burden, and tracking effectiveness of risk management in decision making.”[1]

Read the complete NIH-wide Strategic Plan here.

Andy Careaga’s Summary: 15 important innovations of 2015

The challenge this year 15 innovations. Andy reports out of S&T’s success. See article from S&T News

And for 2016 — 16 innovations. Go S&T!

 

Hank Pernicka developed a microsatellite imager in an Air Force contest

Nice public news article on Hank’s work is published. See article.

Beyond Traffic: The Smart City Challenge

see notice

The USDOT is encouraging cities to put forward their best and most creative ideas for innovatively addressing the challenges they are facing. The vision of the Smart City Challenge is to demonstrate and evaluate aholistic, integrated approach to improving surface transportation performance within a city and integrating this approach with other smart city domains such as public safety, public services, and energy. The USDOT intends for this challenge to address how emerging transportation data, technologies, and applications can be integrated with existing systems in a city to address transportation challenges. The USDOT seeks bold and innovative ideas for proposed demonstrations to effectively test, evaluate, and demonstrate the significant benefits of smart city concepts.

Materials Research Society (MRS): Mid-Career Researcher Award

see notice

The Mid-Career Researcher Award recognizes exceptional achievements in materials research made by mid-career professionals. The award recipient must also demonstrate notable leadership in the materials area.

The Mid-Career Researcher Award is made possible through an endowment established by Aldrich Materials Science.

Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP)

see notice

The Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP) program supports fundamental research addressing the processing and mechanical performance of engineering materials by investigating the interrelationship of materialsprocessing, structure, properties and/or life-cycle performance for targeted applications.

Materials processing proposals should focus on manufacturing processes that convert material into useful form as either intermediate or final composition. These include processes such as extrusion, molding, casting, deposition, sintering and printing. Proposed research should include the consideration of cost, performance, and feasibility of scale-up, as appropriate. Novel processes for the production of nanoscale materials (nanotubes, nanocrystals, etc.) are of interest. Process optimization studies without a fundamental scientific contribution are not supported.

Research proposals related to mechanical performance should be driven by a targeted application(s). Structural materials that, in service, bear mechanical load are of interest. These include materials such as metals, polymers, composites, biomaterials, ceramics, hybrids and cement, intended for applications ranging from the microscale (e.g., MEMS) to the macroscale (e.g., civil infrastructures). Research related to the deterioration of performance during service (e.g., corrosion and degradation) is also of interest.

In some cases, the performance of functional materials is also of interest. This includes materials that possess native properties and functions that can be controlled by external influences (e.g., temperature, light and pH) as well as responsive materials (e.g., piezoelectric, chromogenic, shape memory and self-healing). Research proposals on performance of electronic materials to be used for energy storage or conversion (e.g., fuel cells, batteries and PVs) are not appropriate for the MEP program. One exception to this would be for proposals related to multifunctional (versus a single function) material performance that include a consideration of mechanical performance. Proposals on this topic are encouraged.

Research plans driven by scientific hypotheses are encouraged. Material structures across length scales ranging from nano to meso to macro are of interest. Research on materials in the bulk or in special configurations such as surfaces or interfaces is appropriate as are research proposals related to surface engineering or tribology. Analytical, experimental, and/or numerical studies are supported. Collaborative proposals with industry (GOALI) are encouraged.

Proposals related to additive manufacturing, laser processing or bonding/joining processes are welcome in CMMI and should be submitted to the Manufacturing Machines and Equipment (MME) program, even if the focus of such proposals is on the materials for those processes. Proposals addressing the manufacture (scale up, quality, reliability, etc.) of nanoscale materials, structures, devices and systems should be submitted to the Nanomanufacturing (NM) program. Proposals addressing atomic/molecular scale synthesis or thin film synthesis (as opposed to manufacturing) are not appropriate for the MEP program. Research proposals on electronic materials to be used for energy storage or conversion (e.g., fuel cells, batteries, PVs) are not appropriate for the MEP program unless there is new science being proposed about manufacturing processes for these materials. Research on the mechanics of solid materialsshould be directed to the Mechanics of Materials (MoM) program. Investigators with proposals focused on design methodological approaches and theory enabling the accelerated development and insertion of materials should consider the Design of Engineering Material Systems (DEMS) program. In response to the Materials Genome Initiative, there is a special initiative for research on a combined theoretical and experimental approach to acceleratematerials discovery and development; such proposals should be directed to the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) opportunity.

Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) RSNA Research & Education (R&E) Foundation

see notice

The grant program is designed to support junior faculty members who have completed the conventional resident/fellowship training program(s); but have not yet been recognized as independent investigators. The purpose ofthe funding is to help establish the recipient as an independent investigator, and to collect preliminary data that could lead to further funding through established mechanisms such as the NIH. Recipients will devote a minimum of 40 percent of their time in the approved research project.

BRAIN Initiative: Non-Invasive Neuromodulation – New Tools and Techniques for Spatiotemporal Precision(R01)

see notice

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits grant applications in two related but distinct areas. The first area is in the development and testing of novel tools and methods of neuromodulation that go beyondthe existing variations on magnetic or electrical stimulation, and that represent more than an incremental advance over existing electromagnetic approaches. The second distinct area that this FOA seeks to encourage is the optimization of existing electrical and magnetic stimulation methods.

Non-invasive neuromodulation devices are rapidly becoming one of the tools considered for the treatment and diagnosis of brain disorders and could become an alternative or an adjunct to neurological, neuropsychopharmacological, rehabilitative, or cognitive behavioral therapies. Non-invasive devices can be defined as those that do not require surgery and do not penetrate the brain parenchyma. These devices include, but are not limited to, those used for focused ultrasound stimulation, magnetic seizure therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, static magnets, transcranial alternating current stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

A related FOA (RFA-MH-16-815) in the area of non-invasive technology seeks applications focused on understanding how neural activity is modified in response to an exogenously applied stimulus using existing devices. This FOA solicits grant applications in two related but distinct areas. The first area is in the development and testing of novel tools and methods of neuromodulation that go beyond the existing variations on magnetic or electrical stimulation. These novel approaches/tools must be clearly beyond incremental advances over existing approaches. The rationale for this objective is that existing magnetic and electrical stimulation methods have limited spatial and temporal precision. To overcome these obstacles and move beyond incremental advances in the field, collaborations between physicists, engineers, neuroscientists, and clinicians are encouraged. The fresh perspective of such integrative teams would enable the development and testing of novel approaches that leverage other types of energy in a way that can lead to novel tools for scientific discovery and for therapeutic brain stimulation with high spatial and temporal resolution.

This first type of application may be in the initial stages and may therefore still be in the animal testing phase. Any proposed work in animals must include a description of how the methods would be scaled up for use in humans, especially with regard to the five topics listed below. In recognition of the fact that these methods might be in early stages of development, work with human volunteers can, but does not need to, be included.

The second, distinct, area that this FOA seeks to encourage is the significant improvement of existing electrical and magnetic stimulation methods. The related FOA (RFA-MH-16-815) in the area of non-invasive technology seeks applications focused on understanding how neural activity is modified in response to an exogenously applied stimulus using existing devices. This second area of this FOA is aimed at improving existing devices rather than at understanding what is happening when existing devices are being used. Grant applications in this area should propose testing methods to significantly improve existing technology in at least one, and preferably more than one, of the following five topics: (1) substantially improve the focality and depth of penetration of the stimulus, (2) prevention of extraneous stimulation (e.g. auditory clicking, scalp sensation, stimulation of non-target brain regions), (3) integration with endogenous rhythmic activity and advancing closed-loop stimulation capabilities, (4) use in natural ambulatory settings such as home or community settings, and (5) improved sham and control conditions. These five topics are discussed below in greater detail. They are not meant to be an exhaustive list, but they provide examples of the types of improvements that are needed in this field.

The first type of improvement is related to improving the focality and depth of the stimulation signal. The issue of focality is compounded for deep brain areas where existing non-invasive devices and protocols do not adequately provide both depth of penetration and target resolution. Advances toward noninvasive devices that allow deep and focal stimulation of the brain are strongly desired. Devices that could stimulate more than one site specifically are welcome.

A second type of improvement to existing devices involves the elimination of unintended extraneous stimulation. Current noninvasive techniques generally stimulate large regions of the brain. This is due both to the lack of focality of the stimulation signal as well as extraneous mechanical effects associated with device operation that independently stimulate auditory and somatosensory systems, thereby confounding experimental protocols. These extraneous effects can be a significant confound in trying to deliver precise stimulation.

A third type of improvement involves an increase in the control of the temporal component of the delivered stimulation dose. Such temporal control can apply both to the stimulation signal itself as well as the interaction of the stimulation with dynamic brain processes. Applications could focus on developing closed-loop devices that are sensitive, and adjust with, dynamic neural activity recorded from the brain, but this is not a requirement. Improvements to existing devices or new devices that enable an exploration of the frequency of the stimulation, the duration, number, or shape of pulses that are delivered during the stimulation, or the shape of the pulse of the delivered stimulation would allow the research community to understand how those parameters affect the neural functioning.

A fourth area would be to focus on modifying devices that can be used in more natural settings. For example, devices that could be used outside the clinic, that allow long term stimulation, that are informed by endogenous oscillations, or are personalized to individual anatomy and physiology could all be significant improvements to existing technologies.

A fifth area would include work on creating a common standard for sham and control conditions for non-invasive neuromodulation.

As mentioned above, in addition to the optimization of existing technologies, this FOA intends to foster the development of wholly novel brain stimulation methods that do not involve the existing electrical or magnetic stimulation methods. This area carries more risk, but it is balanced overall by the parallel emphasis on improving existing methods. It is expected that all grant applications, whether they are proposing to develop novel neuromodulation methods or improving existing ones, will describe the significance of their proposed method by comparing it to the current state of the art and will propose metrics to measure the success of their new tools or techniques.

Applications that propose to explore the use of non-invasive devices for recreational uses, or research directed toward inducing maladaptive behaviors are not appropriate and will not be accepted under this FOA.

Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) – Early Career Fellowship Program

see notice

The Early Career Fellowship (ECF) program supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the areas supported by the PlanetarySciences Division. This Program is based on the idea that supporting key individuals is a critical mechanism for achieving high impact science that will lead the field forward with new concepts, technologies, and methods.

This NRA covers all aspects of basic and applied supporting research and technology in space and Earth sciences, including, but not limited to: theory, modeling, and analysis of SMD science data; aircraft, scientific balloon, sounding rocket, International Space Station, CubeSat and suborbital reusable launch vehicle investigations; development of experiment techniques suitable for future SMD space missions; development of concepts for future SMD space missions; development of advanced technologies relevant to SMD missions; development of techniques for and the laboratory analysis of both extraterrestrial samples returned by spacecraft, as well as terrestrial samples that support or otherwise help verify observations from SMD Earth system science missions; determination of atomic and composition parameters needed to analyze space data, as well as returned samples from the Earth or space; Earth surface observations and field campaigns that support SMD science missions; development of integrated Earth system models; development of systems for applying Earth science research data to societal needs; and development of applied information systems applicable to SMD objectives and data.

Disney Conservation Fund: Annual Conservation Grants

limited submissions please check with OSP   see notice 

Recognizing that ecosystems are the basis of the planet’s health, the Fund provides financial support for the study of wildlife, the protection of habitats and community conservation and education. The goal is to support conservation organizations focused on long-term positive impacts for wildlife and habitats.

The following criteria are used to evaluate each proposal.
– The proposal should be cooperative in nature and may have matching funds.
– The proposal should clearly contribute to the conservation of endangered or threatened species in the wild, their habitats and engage the communities that surround them through community-based education programs or support sustainable community development projects that assist communities in protecting nature.
– The proposal should build on previous work including an established commitment to a conservation program or is well suited to become or contribute to a long-term conservation program.
– The principle investigator affirms that the welfare of the animals identified in this study is not compromised. Specifically, the principle investigator affirms that: (1) capture/restraint techniques minimize stress and the potential for physical injury or psychological harm; (2) immobilization/anesthesia is done under the direct supervision of a veterinarian or other trained professional; and (3) exposure to noxious stimuli and presumptive negative effects are minimized with administration of anesthetic and/or analgesic agents where appropriate.

The DWCF gives priority consideration to holistic programs addressing a significant conservation need (or projects that are part of a program) which reflect:
– education and community engagement, including measuring results;
– sustainable development programs directly connected to protecting species and habitat;
– scientific field studies on species and habitats (the DWCF does not fund ex-situ projects/project components).
– Although DWCF recognizes that basic science is a critical first step in conservation initiatives, preference is given to projects where there is a significant conservation action component.

The Fund also seeks to support projects which relate to Disney’s strategic priorities, including:
– Projects that are in areas where Disney has a significant business presence, including Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii (and North America in general), the Caribbean, China, Indonesia, Europe, Latin America, etc.
– Projects involving species/habitats featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot, to better facilitate telling effective conservation stories. These habitats/species include, but are not limited to: Asian habitat and species (primarily tropical forest species); Central/South African habitat and species (specifically savanna and forest species); Latin American habitat and species; and Marine species (including coral reefs, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and sharks).
– Projects that target particular wildlife sustainability issues, including efforts to explore sustainable aquaculture or address sustainable seafood (fisheries management) or to control illegal wildlife trade.
– Projects that focus on invertebrate conservation issues.

Rapid Response Fund
In times of true crisis, emergency funding is provided in response to urgent environmental or conservation needs. Each year the Disney Conservation Fund sets aside dollars in a Rapid Response Fund. This funding has been used for such urgent needs as replacing housing or belongings for field scientists affected by civil unrest in Rwanda, cleaning sea turtle nesting sites on beaches demolished by tsunamis, and purchasing medicines to combat disease outbreaks.