Federal Priorities

FY 2014 Federal Initiatives as of September 24, 2013

Project

Congressional Advocate and Appropriations Subcommittee

 

Status

Securing Sustainable Water Resources:  Increasing Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART grants for research and demonstrations to reclaim currently unused and unusable water.

 

PI: Mark Stone 

 

Energy & Water Subcommittee

 

Senator Udall and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham

  • We had conversations with Dean Marrone  and Curt Brown (Director of Research and Development for Reclamation) at the Bureau of Reclamation.  UNM will not be able to successfully compete for Water SMART grants unless they team up with a city or water delivery entity. 
  • The next best option would be to apply for the next round of the Desalination and Water Purification Research grants (DWPR).  The DWPR program funds university research and demonstration projects to increase the technical capability of treating and using brackish groundwater, recycling treated wastewater, reclaiming water used in fracking or other industrial uses  or otherwise creating new water supplies.  These grants are small, but well suited to the research capabilities of UNM. 
  • Dean Marrone and Curt Brown are most willing to talk to UNM faculty about additional ways to partner with the Bureau.  We have put Dr. Stone and his department in touch with them.  We also talked with Bob Quint-Chief of Staff and Dean Marrone-Deputy Commissioner.

Overcoming Solar Electric Power Grid Limitations:   DOE/EERE funding for research and demonstrations to develop integrated “green grids” to facilitate the use of solar energy.

PI: Andrea Mammoli

Energy & Water Subcommittee

 

Senator Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

  • We sent Dr. Mammoli two open EERE grant announcements. 
  • UNM has applied to recent EERE SunShot call for proposals, which is currently under review (proposal 0856-1522).  Dr. Mammoli has made it through the first round and has been asked to present to the department. 
  • A delegation letter was sent in support of the EERE proposal. 
  • We are meeting with Jeanette Pablo who represents the NM Utility Company. 
  • Dean Roman has requested a status report from the PIs.

 

Research to Develop Algae as a Biofuel:  DOE/EERE research funds are needed to develop algae into economically feasible biofuel.

PI: Andy Shreve 

 

Energy & Water Subcommittee

 

Senator Udall and Rep. Steve Pearce

  • We have been in touch with the appropriate officials at EERE who run the biofuels research program.  An RFA was put out in February titled “Advancements in Sustainable Algal Production Funding Opportunity Announcement” to support outdoor phototrophic algae research and development and closed May 2. 
  • Valerie Reed, Program Manager of the EERE Bioengineering Technologies office invited interested UNM faculty to meet and listed 3 additional funding opportunities which were forwarded to Dr. Shreve. 
  • In addition, we forwarded Dr. Shreve four algae team contacts to be in touch with regarding biofuels research.  We also alerted him to an upcoming conference on the issue.   
  • Dean Roman has requested a status report from the PIs.

 

Improving Brain Imaging Technology:  Current imaging technology typically overwhelms the user with high amounts of difficult to interpret data.

PI: Steve Bruek

Sanjay Krishna

Labor-HHS Subcommittee

 

Senator Udall and Rep. Lujan Grisham

  • We have been in touch with Dr. Richard Conroy at the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.  Dr. Conroy is the Chief of the Biomedical Imagining Division.  Dr. Conroy confirmed that the Brain Imaging Technology initiative would be very appropriate for an RO1 grant application to NIBIB.
  • We also arranged for Dr. Krishna and Vince Calhoun to talk directly with Dr. Conroy about funding opportunities.  RO1 grant application deadlines are June 5 and October 5. 
  • Senate FY 2014 Labor-HHS Report included the following Language:  “BRAIN Initiative.—The Committee strongly commends NIH for leading the Brain Initiative through Application of Innovative Neurotechnolgies (BRAIN) Initiative, a multi-agency effort that also involves the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as well as several private sector partners.  Numerous researchers are already working to accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will help explain how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves information.  The BRAIN Initiative will help catalyze and integrate these efforts.  The Committee understands that this work make take decades before it results in cures or treatments, but could eventually help unlock the secrets behind diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.  The President’s budget requests $40,000,000 for this initiative in fiscal year 2014, to be pooled from several ICs and the OD.  The Committee supports that amount as in initial investment but awaits more detailed budget projections for future years. “ 
    • On September 18 we circulated an NIH interim report that identified the 9 key research questions that will be followed up later this year with RFPs. 

Social and Behavioral Interventions to Improve Health Outcomes:  The newly established (NCATS) at NIH needs to reaffirm a priority for treatments other than just pharmalogical interventions. 

PI: Richard Larson

Labor-HHS Subcommittee

 

Senator Heinrich and Rep. Lujan Grisham

  • We are working with Dr. Larson to find a time for him to come to town and meet with both NIH and the appropriate Congressional staff on this issue. 
  • At Dr. Larson’s suggestion, we will wait until the IOM Report comes out in June to make Congressional and agency visits. The IOM Report is expected by the end of June. 
  • Dr. Larson reports that NIH has begun to modify its position.

 

Improving the Dissemination of State of the Art Cancer Treatments and Care: NCI Cancer Center Support Grants are needed to demonstrate more effective models of dissemination to reach underserved and rural populations with state of the art treatments and care.

PI: Richard Larson

Labor-HHS Subcommittee

 

Senator Heinrich and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

  • We had a conversation with Dr. Linda Weiss and Krzysztof Ptak from the NCI’s Office of Cancer Centers.  They reported that the P-30 mechanism (Cancer Center Support Grants) are really only to fund the center itself and cannot be used to support “models of dissemination to reach underserved and rural populations with state of the art treatments”.  Dr Weiss did point us toward two other NCI funding opportunities.  First, the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities does offer P-30 supplements that could be used for this purpose. This office also funds Community Health Educator positions (we understand that UNM already has one of these NCI funded positions).  Secondly, the Division of Cancer Preventions is going to release RFA’s as part of the new Community Oncology Research Program.
    • The HSC has applied for the P-30 supplement grant we had identified.

Demonstrating the Efficacy of New Chemical and Biological Breakthroughs: A newly developed nanoparticle with strong potential as a therapeutic delivery mechanism needs to be tested in pre-clinical animal models. 

PI: Jeff Brinker

DOD Subcommittee

 

Senator Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce

  • We have contacted Dr. Brinker to request a time for him to come to Washington to meet with appropriate DTRA officials. 

 

Advancing the American Indian Healthcare Workforce:  There is a strong need for another program in the Southwest to address American Indian health disparities.

PI: Richard Larson

Interior Subcommittee

 

Senator Udall, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham; and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

  • We have been in touch with the Indian Health Service regarding their intentions to re-compete this program.  An RFA to re-compete 4 of the programs is expected by the end of May. 
  • We sent Dr. Larson a copy of the 2008 RFA (which will likely be very similar to the 2013 RFA) so UNM can start to prepare. 
  • We met with the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee who is sympathetic to the program.  There is no current timeline for the Senate to mark up the Interior bill. 
  • In conversations with the Indian Health Service we learned that the IHS intends to do a non-competitive continuation of the four Indians into Nursing programs that are up for renewal.  The renewal period is for 3 years after which they will hold an open competition.   During the same conversation, however, we learned of IHS interest in having a cooperative agreement with UNM as a part of their nurse residency program.  We arranged for a conference call meeting between Dean Ridenour and Celissa Stephens, Director of the Nursing Division at I H S . Dr. Stevens offered to fund a program at UNM.  UNM follow up necessary to make this happen.

Increasing U.S. Manufacturing Capability for the Next Generation of Advanced Electronics:  New nanoscale materials are needed to permit the industry to advance and create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance U.S. global competitiveness.

 

PI: Steve Bruek 

 

CJS Subcommittee

 

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

  • We learned that most of the President’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Initiative is all dependent on FY 2014 Congressional appropriations.  Broadly, speaking they will not be putting out BBA or RFPs until the funding picture clears up and there is some real indication that there will be funding to match. 
    • However, based on a Presidential decision and directive, RFP’s for 3 manufacturing innovation institutes or centers (there is currently one established in Ohio) were released in May and will be funded through the Departments of Commerce, Energy & Defense as follows:

• Department of Defense –  “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation


• Department of Defense –  “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing
• Department of Energy – “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing

 

The Department of Energy initiative seems to be a good match for the UNM initiative.  We have given special notice to campus as both announcements close later this month.

 

 

Designing Healthy Communities:  HUD Sustainable Communities research grants are needed to demonstrate academic and community collaboration to improve health through urban design. 

PI: Michaele Pride

Leah Steimel

Transportation & HUD Subcommittee

 

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

  • We have sent UNM faculty two open announcements: one for a Sustainable Communities Research Grant and the other from the Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant program.
  • On July 30, we sent UNM faculty three additional grant opportunities, including two open HUD grants for Capacity Building for Sustainable Communities and Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation Grants Fiscal Year 2013; and, one EPA grant for Healthy Schools: Environmental Factors, Children’s Health and Performance, and Sustainable Building Practices.  There was particular interest on campus on the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant opportunity.
  • On September 9 we arranged for and participated in a conference call with HUD’s Office of University Partnership and Dr. Pride. HUD offered to critique an informal one page UNM proposal in advance of a submission.  UNM follow up necessary.