DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - May 26, 2017

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FY 2018 R&D Budget

(It’s Here …)

The President released his first: full year budget proposal this week – for FY 2018 – after initially telegraphing the administration’s general intent in several earlier releases (see Dispatch 3-17-17).  Per usual, the interest here is in that part of the budget dealing with federal R&D funding (often called the ‘R&D Budget’).  Also, as usual, IMHO the go-to source for understanding the R&D budget is AAAS (among many good sources). Here’s what they have to say from their initial read of the budget.

AAAS article (May 23, 2017):  “As has been previously reported, the budget would make very large reductions to the nondefense discretionary spending cap in FY 2018, cutting that portion of the budget by $54 billion or 10.9 percent below FY 2017 levels in order to boost defense spending.  But what's clear now is that the Trump Administration would go much farther than that.  As can be seen at right [see the link for charts], the White House budget recommends steep nondefense cuts in FY 2018 - and then would keep cutting beyond, by over two percent annually before inflation.  As a result, the nondefense discretionary budget in 2027 would be 41.9 percent less than in 2017, adjusted for purchasing power.  Over the decade, total nondefense spending would decline by 29 percent in the aggregate.” 

“This matters for R&D funding because every science and technology agency and program outside the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration is housed in the nondefense budget.  Most programs generally move in accord with this budget: when it declines, most science agencies decline to varying degrees, and vice versa.  Bringing the nondefense budget to the historically low levels proposed would almost certainly have substantial ripple effects on even popular science programs like NIH.”

“Leaving aside the question of future funding, the Trump Administration budget proposes substantially large reductions to R&D funding in 2018, particularly for basic and applied research.  According to current (and preliminary) AAAS estimates, the White House would cut total research funding by 16.8 percent, or $12.6 billion, in FY 2018.  No Administration appears to have proposed cuts to research this large in over 40 years (President Reagan came closest).” ….

See the AAAS link for some agency-specific details.   AIP also provides its take on the R&D budget proposal.  Certainly much more to come as the proposal makes its way through the appropriation’s process.  (Original Sources: AAAS web site, AIP web site).

Spotlight on Member’s Activities

(ORNL and Innovation Crossroads)

Oak Ridge National Lab recently announced it had selected: five entrepreneurs to participate in its inaugural cohort under the new “Innovation Crossroads” initiative – which kicked off in late 2016.  From an article in Teknovation, “[A]s described in [an earlier article in Teknovation], the program is part of a DOE effort to help accelerate clean energy technologies in an era of substantially limited venture capital.  The ORNL initiative is the third in DOE’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP).  The pilot, named “Cyclotron Road,” was tested at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a second program, named “Chain Reaction Innovations,” started last year at Argonne National Laboratory. … The five Entrepreneurs – one team has two Co-Founders – arrived a few weeks ago to start the two-year experience.  It includes a stipend that will help cover living expenses and healthcare, collaboration space at ORNL, up to $350,000 in R&D support from ORNL through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), business model development assistance, help with marketing strategies, mentorship, and introductions to other successful energy entrepreneurs as well as potential industry partners.”  See a description of the Innovation Crossroads initiative here.  (Original Sources: Teknovation web site, ORNL web site) 

For Fun (sort of)

(US Patent System - and NPEs - on PBS)

Patently-O has provided: a link to a recent segment on the PBS Newshour highlighting the issue of patent trolls.  (Original Sources: Patently-O blog, PBS web site)

…and in a somewhat “related” post, Patently-O highlights a recent Supreme Court decision affecting patent litigation ‘venue shopping’ (note: the Eastern District of Texas gets mentioned in the Newshour segment and the ‘venue’ post).  (Patently-O web site)


Note:  The DC Dispatch is a periodic update of selected items of interest to the FLC and technology transfer community -- i.e., current legislation, trends, reports, policy and other developments potentially affecting technology transfer or related activities -- designed to keep the community informed of relevant issues on a timely basis.  Information is gleaned directly from a variety of sources (newsletters, email alerts, web sites, direct participation at events from the FLC DC Representative’s office, etc.) -- with original sources, contacts and links provided.

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