DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - October, 9, 2015

DC Dispatch

Crowdsourcing Legislation Introduced in Senate

Senators Coons (D-DE) and Raines (R-MT) have introduced: a new bill “to encourage and increase the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science within the federal government to advance and accelerate scientific research, literacy, and diplomacy.” From the press release, the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2015 “provides clarification and guidelines for government agencies to utilize the resourcefulness and innovation of the public to solve problems without requiring any new funding or authorizations. Provisions included in the bill would:

  • Clarify that executive branch agencies, commissions, and all military branches have
    the explicit authority to make use of crowdsourcing and citizen science projects;
  • Provide guidelines for how to carry out these projects, and make sure that all
    volunteer participants know what they will do and how their contributions and data
    will be used;
  • Answer unresolved questions about data access and availability, technology and
    code access, data ownership, data publishing, and data use;
  • Encourage agencies to design projects across agencies and in partnership with the
    private sector, educational institutions or other local agencies.” (Original Sources:
    Sen. Coons’ web site)

Global Innovation Index 2015 Released
(United States ranked #2 overall – Switzerland #1)

According to the recently released: Global Innovation Index 2015, “[S]witzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States of America are the world’s five most innovative nations, … while China, Malaysia, Viet Nam, India, Jordan, Kenya, and Uganda are among a group of countries outperforming their economic peers.” From the press release, ‘[T]he GII … surveys 141 economies around the world, using 79 indicators to gauge both innovative capabilities and measurable results. … As a whole, the group of top 25 performers – all high income economies remains largely unchanged from past editions. … In terms of innovation quality – as measured by university performance, the reach of scholarly articles and the international dimension of patent applications a few economies stand out. The US and the UK stay ahead of the pack, largely as a result of their world-class universities, closely followed by Japan, Germany and Switzerland.” See the full report here. (Original Sources: GII web site)

DOE Releases it 2nd Quadrennial Technology Review

The Department of Energy has released: its second Quadrennial Technology Review (2015 QTR) which examines “the status of the science and technology that are the foundation of our energy system, together with the research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) opportunities to advance them.” From the Executive Summary, “[I]t focuses primarily on technologies with commercialization potential in the midterm and beyond. … The QTR describes the national energy system as comprising six individual sectors: 1) the electric grid, 2) electricity production (power), 3) buildings (residential and commercial), 4) manufacturing (the majority of the larger industrial sector), 5) fuels (with an emphasis on fuels for transportation), and 6) transportation. Each of these sectors comprises numerous technical systems, sub-systems, and component technologies. The QTR dedicates a chapter to each of these six sectors, exploring its related technologies, challenges, and RDD&D opportunities. … [The summary concludes that] the world of energy-related research is rich with opportunities to help create a secure, resilient, economically efficient, and environmentally responsible set of energy systems. … The technology development community is beginning to take advantage of the rapidly emerging set of tools for creating new generations of materials, devices, and systems for energy applications; however, much more can be done. A goal is to put these new tools in their hands [my emphasis] to drive a well-diversified portfolio of energy research that will enable leadership by the United States to provide the energy services essential to modern societies.” Find the complete report (by section) here. (Original Sources: DOE web site)

New From NSF

U.S. R&D Increased in 2013, Well Ahead of the Pace of Gross Domestic Product notes that “research and development performed in the United States totaled $456.1 billion in 2013. This is compared to $435.3 billion in 2012 (revised downward from an earlier estimate) and $427.8 billion in 2011. In 2008—just before the onset of the main economic effects of the national and international financial crisis and the Great Recession—U.S. R&D totaled $407.0 billion. … The business sector continues to be the largest performer of U.S. R&D. In 2013, domestically performed business R&D accounted for $322.5 billion, or 71%, of the $456.1 billion national total. The business sector's predominance in the composition of national R&D performance has long been the case, with its annual share ranging between 68% and 74% over the 20-year period 1993–2013. … The higher education sector is the second-largest performer of U.S. R&D. Universities and colleges performed $64.7 billion, or 14%, of U.S. R&D in 2013. … The federal government conducted $49.9 billion, or 11%, of U.S. R&D in 2013. This included $33.0 billion (7% of the U.S. total) for intramural R&D performed by federal agencies in their own research facilities and $16.8 billion (4%) of R&D performed by the 40 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). … The business sector is the predominant source of funding for R&D performed in the United States. In 2013, business sector funding accounted for $297.3 billion, or 65% of the $456.1 billion of total U.S. R&D performance. … Funds from the federal government accounted for $121.8 billion, or 27%, of U.S. total R&D in 2013.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), 2013 presents data “on the demographic characteristics, labor force status, occupations, employment, and median annual salaries of individuals with a bachelor's or higher-level degree in a science, engineering (S&E) or S&E-related field or working in an S&E or S&E-related occupation.” Statistical information of most interest (most likely) to the policy analyst, but some interesting facts to be found. For example (Table 3.0), in 2013, there were approximately 23.6 million S&E educated workers (i.e., employed and having a degree in S&E) – the top occupations (other than non-S&E) included health (19.5%), computers/math (11.2%), and engineering (6.6%). (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Rush Holt on State of U.S. Science (and Policy Making)
(Former Congressman and Current AAAS CEO)

Former Representative and now CEO of AAAS Rush Holt was interviewed recently: on the general topic of “the state of science in the U.S., how to communicate science to the public and policymakers, and how scientists and others can engage effectively with policymakers to be better advocates for science.” From the AIP blurb, “[H]olt’s main theme … was the need to empower the public and policymakers with the idea that they are capable of understanding and evaluating scientific evidence on their own.” See the link for a transcript of the Q&A. As noted in the blurb, during his 16 year tenure in the House, Dr. Holt was one of only 2 PhD Physicists in Congress. He is uniquely qualified to address the topic of how to communicate science to non-science policy makers (responsible for making decisions on science issues). (Original Sources: AIP web site)

Fun Facts

Patents Granted

Patently-O has charted: the number of patents granted in FY 2015. From the blurb, “[I]n Fiscal Year 2015, the PTO issued 296k utility patents. That is a 3% drop from the record high of 304k patents issued in FY2014. Although a modest reduction in the absolute number of patents granted, FY2015’s numbers still represent the second-highest number of patents granted in the PTO’s 200+ year history.” (Original Sources: Patently-O blog)

Patent Tracker

Innography has released: their bi-annual update on the patent market. From the update, this report “uncovers trends in the patent marketplace including which technologies were transferred and key players both selling and buying patents. Companies monitor patent purchases because they indicate a likelihood of new products or enforcement actions using the purchased technologies. Enforcement and validity of US patents is in flux due to the Supreme Court’s Alice v. CLS Bank decision and several other patent-related decisions last year, and the increasing and highly successful patent challenges in front of the new Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). However, this hasn’t affected the volume of US patent sales, which continues its roughly 10% per year increase over the last several years.” (Original Sources: Innography 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.

Contact:Gary K. Jones, FLC DC Representative, gkjones.ctr@federallabs.org

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