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Office of the Vice President for Research

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Weekly Research Update: Thursday, May 28, 2020

Return to work updates for faculty and staff

Last week, we shared the university’s Return to Work Plan, released by UofSC Human Resources. The phased plan begins next Monday, June 1. To help ensure a smooth return, UofSC leadership has provided additional guidance and resources for employees as they return to work.


Some NSF proposal formatting changes delayed until Thursday, October 1, 2020

On Monday, June 1, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will implement the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) for proposals submitted or due on or after this date. The revised PAPPG implements a variety of changes and clarifications, the highest profile of which requires use of an NSF-approved format for the preparation of the biographical sketch and current and pending support sections. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing stress on proposers, the research community has not been able to adequately prepare and train their staff for the implementation of the new requirements. So, the NSF has decided to delay the requirement to use NSF-approved formats for the biographical sketch and current and pending support sections of NSF proposals until Thursday, October 1, 2020. The NSF will continue to implement all other changes to the PAPPG beginning June 1, 2020. Webinars covering the use of NSF-approved formats as well as all of the significant changes to the PAPPG are available on the NSF Policy Outreach website.


Lawmakers propose adding technology arm to NSF

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) introduced legislation (pdf) on May 21 titled the Endless Frontier Act, which would redesignate the National Science Foundation as the National Science and Technology Foundation and create a new Directorate of Technology within the agency. The new directorate’s efforts would concentrate on a periodically updated list of no more than 10 “key technology focus areas,” with an initial list of the following 10:   

  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • high performance computing, semiconductors and advanced computer hardware
  • quantum computing and information systems
  • robotics, automation and advanced manufacturing
  • natural or anthropogenic disaster prevention
  • advanced communications technology
  • biotechnology, genomics and synthetic biology
  • cybersecurity, data storage and data management technologies
  • advanced energy
  • materials science, engineering and exploration relevant to the other key technology focus areas

The bill recommends the directorate’s budget rise from $2 billion in fiscal year 2021 to $35 billion in fiscal years 2024 and 2025, with a “hold harmless” provision mandating it cannot receive any funds in a given fiscal year if the budget for the rest of NSF declines. NSF’s annual budget is currently about $8 billion. The authorization for the new Directorate would be $100 billion over five years to reinvigorate American leadership in the discovery and application of key technologies that will define global competitiveness. Read a summary of the Endless Frontier Act (pdf).

Schumer and Young’s bill would also establish a Regional Technology Hub Program administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that would provide grants to consortia working in specified technology areas. The legislation would recommend a total budget of $10 billion for the program covering fiscal years 2021 through 2025. Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) are expected to introduce the bill in the House.


28 May 2020

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