Northwest teams win federal funding for tech innovations

Four Pacific Northwest public-private partnerships have won support from the National Science Foundation through a $43 million nationwide program to promote regional technology innovations.

The NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines program is aimed at ensuring that the U.S. remains in the vanguard of technological competitiveness. Forty-four teams in all were selected to receive up to $1 million in Type-1 funding each for up to two years to develop program proposals in their chosen fields.

Programs that are selected for Type-2 funding could eventually receive up to $160 million over the course of 10 years.

“These NSF Engines Development Awards lay the foundation for emerging hubs of innovation and potential future NSF Engines,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said today in a news release. “These awardees are part of the fabric of NSF’s vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation.”


Tech tools touted for fending off Western wildfires

Black carbon concentration
A color-coded image based on NASA’s GEOS-5 satellite data model shows concentrations of black carbon in the atmosphere over North America on Aug. 15. (NASA Image)

The smoky skies over Seattle have cleared up somewhat, but the Pacific Northwest’s wildfires continue to burn — prompting pledges from Republicans as well as Democrats to beef up the region’s firefighting capabilities.

Advanced firefighting technologies, including satellite monitoring, drone patrols and risk management tools based on big data, received loud shout-outs today during a Capitol Hill news briefing.

“That’s the wave of the future,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Trump administration would step up its coordination efforts with local and state authorities to prevent wildfires and to fight them once they start. “Frankly, we cannot do this ourselves,” Perdue said.

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