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.”

Cosmic Space

Collapse delivers death blow to Arecibo radio dish

The Arecibo radio telescope’s 900-ton instrument platform fell into the 1,000-foot-wide antenna dish this morning, adding to previous damage and putting Puerto Rico’s iconic scientific structure beyond repair.

The National Science Foundation, which funds the Arecibo Observatory through a management contract with the University of Central Florida, said no injuries were caused by the collapse.

“We are saddened by this situation but thankful that no one was hurt,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a statement. “When engineers advised the NSF that the structure was unstable and presented a danger to work teams and Arecibo staff, we took their warnings seriously and continued to emphasize the importance of safety for everyone involved.”


White House science chief will lead NSF, too

Kelvin Droegemeier
White House science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier speaks during a Seattle town hall session at February’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (AAAS via YouTube)

President Donald Trump has named White House science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier to serve as acting director of the National Science Foundation.

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Boeing joins NSF to support STEM training

France Cordova and Heidi Capozzi
The National Science Foundation’s director, France Cordova, worked on the STEM training partnership with Heidi Capozzi, senior vice president of human resources at Boeing. (NSF Photo)

The National Science Foundation and Boeing say they’ve forged a $21 million partnership to accelerate skill development and increase diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, known collectively as STEM.

Supported by $10 million in funding from Boeing, NSF will team up with learning institutions to develop online training in critical skill areas for students and Boeing employees.

The skill areas being targeted include model-based engineering and systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management and artificial intelligence. Boeing and NSF expect the first project to launch in 2019.

To complement that part of the program, NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources will invest $10 million in awards focused on skill development and training for America’s STEM workforce.

Boeing also will contribute $1 million to the NSF INCLUDES initiative, which aims to boost U.S. innovation by broadening participation in STEM fields. INCLUDES stands for “Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science.”

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