FYI: Science Policy News
The Week of February 28, 2022

What’s Ahead

Soyuz rocket

A Russian Soyuz rocket at Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2021.

(Image credit – Bill Ingalls / NASA)

Ukraine Crisis Throws Russian Science Partnerships Into Chaos

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week has been met with a coordinated global response designed to isolate Russia economically and politically. The developments have left scientific and technological exchanges with the country in disarray. Among the unfolding issues:

  • Export controls: A sanctions package developed by the U.S. in concert with other countries is halting exports to Russia of a number of important technologies, including semiconductors, lasers, sensors, telecommunications and navigation equipment, and aerospace and maritime technologies. The White House has estimated the new export controls will “cut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports.”
  • Space missions: Coordination with Russian space agency Roscosmos is endangered, and the European Space Agency states it is “very unlikely” its ExoMars rover mission can launch in September from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission includes a Russian lander and is set to be launched using a Russian rocket. Launch windows to Mars only open every two years and ExoMars already missed its first one in 2020. Roscosmos has also withdrawn staff from the European Spaceport in French Guiana. In addition, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin has made belligerent remarks over Russia’s role in maintaining the International Space Station’s orbit, though NASA noted in reaction that the new export controls exempt civil space cooperation and it expects no changes in station operations. Nevertheless, the crisis is apt to increase strain on the hand-in-glove partnership that keeps the station running smoothly.
  • Multinational projects: Russia’s actions could jeopardize its continued participation in other international scientific projects, such as the ITER fusion energy facility in France. Russian-built equipment is scheduled to be shipped to ITER this spring. A top German member of Europe’s parliament has called for the European Union to kick Russia out of international research bodies, including ITER, CERN, and Horizon Europe , a flagship EU science grant program. The government of Germany has suspended all the country’s academic ties to Russia, and the U.K. is conducting a review of research funding with Russian beneficiaries.
  • Institutional links: Inhibited relations with Russia will also put pressure on piecemeal academic partnerships. MIT has already severed its ties with the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, which it entered into in 2011 to build research capacity in Russia and promote academic exchanges.
  • Scholarly travel and exchanges: The State Department is warning U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia and is advising any citizens in Russia to leave immediately, and one major math conference scheduled to take place in Russia has already been moved online . Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) has called on the U.S. government to eject Russian students from the country, but that idea has met with considerable criticism . Leaders in higher education are asking the U.S. government to extend special protections to Ukrainian nationals residing or studying in the U.S.
  • Condemnations: Several thousand Russian scientists have signed onto an open letter condemning the invasion of Ukraine. In a closed session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the head of the Russian delegation Oleg Anisimov also made an apology for Russia’s attack.

Senators Examining Big-Budget Proposals for DOE Science

Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science and Innovation Geri Richmond is appearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday to discuss legislation pending in the committee. Foremost on the agenda is the committee’s version of the DOE Science for the Future Act , which responds to corresponding provisions in the House-passed America COMPETES Act of 2022 . The provisions would set policy across the DOE Office of Science and recommend that Congress raise the office’s budget from $7 billion to about $12 billion over five years. The bill has bipartisan support and will probably become a basis for negotiations to resolve differences between the COMPETES Act and the Senate’s counterpart U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. Another bill, the Restore and Modernize Our National Laboratories Act, would recommend Congress appropriate a further $24.4 billion over four years to undertake infrastructure projects at DOE national labs. Only Democrats have backed the bill and it is unclear whether it might factor into the upcoming negotiations. Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV) is not one of the bill’s sponsors but did express interest last summer in addressing about “$35 billion” in infrastructure needs at the national labs. Other bills up for discussion would authorize new DOE activities to support the deployment of advanced nuclear reactors, assign certain emergency responsibilities to DOE assistant secretaries, clarify protections for whistleblowers at DOE, and rescind remaining balances in the U.S. Enrichment Corporation Fund.

Science Committee Checks In on Artemis Program Status

On Tuesday, the House Science Committee is holding a hearing on NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program that was originally scheduled for Jan. 20. NASA is in the final stages of preparing for the program’s first mission, an uncrewed flight around the Moon, but the schedule for the rest of the program’s planned flights remains in flux. The agency reported in November that a crewed lunar landing is unlikely to take place any earlier than 2025, and an internal audit released weeks later concluded the previous goal of a crewed landing in 2024 is apt to be missed by “several years.” The audit also projected that the cumulative total of past program expenditures and future budget requirements through 2025 will be more than $90 billion. The Science Committee has consistently pressed NASA to provide firmer details about its plans and expectations for the Artemis program’s progress, and committee Democrats have also sought to steer the program to ensure it remains focused on the eventual crewed exploration of Mars.

GOES-T Weather Satellite to Launch

The third in the series of four geostationary weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is set to launch on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Called GOES-T, the satellite will be referred to as GOES-18 in space and as “GOES West” when it begins monitoring weather over the western portion of the U.S., Central America, and the Pacific Ocean. In that position, it will replace GOES-17, which suffered an issue with its cooling system shortly after its launch in 2018 that has degraded the quality of its data. The issue was addressed in GOES-T as well as GOES-U, which is expected to be ready for launch in 2024, and GOES-17 will now be held in reserve in case it is needed to fill future data gaps. NOAA has provided continuous geostationary coverage over the U.S. since 1975. The agency is currently seeking a $455 million increase in funding this fiscal year for the recently created Geostationary and Extended Orbit (GeoXO) program, which has begun design work on satellites that will succeed the current GOES satellite series in the 2030s.

In Case You Missed It

Matt Olson announces changes

DOJ National Security Division head Matt Olsen announced changes to its prosecution strategy for research security cases at a Feb. 23 event at George Mason University.

(Image credit – GMU National Security Institute)

DOJ Raises Bar for Research Integrity Prosecutions

The Justice Department announced on Feb. 23 that it will more closely oversee investigations and criminal prosecutions focused on breaches of academic research security. It has also retired the “China Initiative” label for efforts to counter economic espionage and malign influence by the Chinese government. DOJ National Security Division head Matt Olsen said the changes respond to concerns that the department’s prosecutions of university scientists have created a “chilling atmosphere” that is damaging the U.S. research system, and that the China-specific label has fueled a “harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic, or familial ties to China differently.” Going forward, DOJ will adopt a broader framing that addresses threats presented by a range of countries, and it will consider pursuing civil or administrative penalties for research security cases that lack clear national or economic security implications. Olsen also noted DOJ will be less likely to pursue prosecutions in cases where individuals “voluntarily correct prior material omissions and resolve related administrative inquiries.” The current state of federal research security policy will be a focus of meetings this week convened by the Academic Security and Counter Exploitation Program and the Council On Governmental Relations .

IPCC Releases Latest Climate Change Impacts Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the second part of its sixth climate assessment report on Monday, examining the regional risks and impacts of climate change. The report includes two new sections focused on cities and low-lying coastal communities and is accompanied by a global-to-regional impacts atlas . Among its main conclusions , the report’s summary for policymakers states, “Global warming, reaching 1.5°C in the near-term, would cause unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans,” with some irreversible impacts to low-lying coastal communities if that level is exceeded. The report maintains the world is already facing increased health disasters and food and water scarcity from heat waves, droughts, and flooding that will be further exacerbated by a growing gap between actual adaptation efforts and what is required to deal with increasing risk, particularly to lower-income populations. Announcing the report’s release, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that “nearly half of humanity is [currently] living in the danger zone,” calling the report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

White House Event Confronts Climate ‘Delayism’

On Feb. 25, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted an event with several climate and social science experts to discuss ways of “countering ‘delayism’ and communicating the urgency of climate action.” OSTP released excerpts of remarks from 17 attendees, who addressed subjects such as how public perceptions of climate change have shifted over time, the environmental and economic costs associated with delaying climate change mitigation efforts, and approaches to communicating the risks of climate change to the public. OSTP Acting Director Alondra Nelson remarked at the event, “There have been for decades, and still are, forces arrayed against the cause of climate action — running the gamut from self-interest and short-term thinking, to deliberate disinformation campaigns that are as insidious as they are invidious.”

Agencies Propose Actions to Shore Up Critical Supply Chains

The Biden administration released a series of reports last week outlining strategies for strengthening supply chains in six key industrial sectors: energy, transportation, agriculture, public health, information technology, and defense. The reports were prepared in response to an executive order President Biden signed one year ago and builds on previous 100-day reviews of four critical product supply chains. A report from the Department of Energy focuses on 11 technology areas associated with the administration’s clean energy goals, such as nuclear energy, semiconductors, carbon capture materials, and energy storage. The report lays out a seven-prong strategy that includes expanding domestic manufacturing capabilities and access to raw materials, strengthening the energy workforce, and supporting “diverse, secure, and socially responsible foreign supply chains.” It proposes a variety of technology-specific and sector-wide policy actions for federal agencies and Congress. A joint report from the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security on information and communication technologies identifies risks such as a lack of domestic manufacturing facilities, insufficient cybersecurity practices, and underinvestment in the domestic workforce. The Commerce Department says that new programs such as the Build Back Better Regional Challenge as well as pending legislation such as the House-passed America COMPETES Act will help bolster domestic production capacity.

USGS Updates Critical Minerals List, Removes Helium

On Feb. 22, the U.S. Geological Survey released a congressionally mandated update to the list of minerals it deems critical to the U.S. economy and national security. The list now includes 50 minerals, 15 more than when the list was first released in 2018, which USGS explains is largely due to “splitting the rare earth elements and platinum group elements into individual entries rather than including them as ‘mineral groups.’” Other changes include the addition of nickel and zinc and the removal of helium, potash, rhenium, and strontium. Constraints in helium supplies have been a point of concern for researchers who use it to cool superconducting magnets in their equipment. Last year, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) opposed USGS’ plans to remove helium from the list, arguing its supply is still vulnerable to political unrest, regional conflicts, and anticompetitive behavior. Defending the decision in an FAQ document , USGS states the U.S. is the largest exporter of helium in the world and that the helium supply does not have “a single point of failure.” The agency will use the list to guide its Earth Mapping Resources Initiative, which is surveying regions of the U.S. thought to harbor large concentrations of critical minerals and received $320 million through the recent infrastructure law to dramatically expand its efforts.

Events This Week

All times are Eastern Standard Time, unless otherwise noted. Listings do not imply endorsement.

Monday, February 28

EPA: “Workshop on Biofuel Greenhouse Gas Modeling”
(continues Tuesday)

FCC: Technological Advisory Council meeting
10:00 am

Heritage Foundation: “Former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on Winning the 21st Century Tech Race with China”
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

NIH: National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity meeting
12:00 - 1:00 pm

New America: “Community Colleges and CTE: Reengaging and Preparing Learners for the Post-Pandemic Economy”
1:00 - 2:00 pm

National Academies: “Science and Technology Needs for the Intelligence Community”
1:00 - 2:00 pm

SIA: “A Review of the 2021 Semiconductor Market and a Look to 2022”
2:00 - 3:00 pm

National Academies: “Chemical Engineering: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century,” report release briefing
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Science History Institute: “Why Are There So Few Women in the History of Science?”
7:00 - 8:00 pm

Tuesday, March 1

National Academies: “Carbon Utilization Infrastructure, Markets, Research, and Development,” meeting two
(continues through Friday)

COGR: Council On Governmental Relations meeting
(continues through Friday)

Texas A&M University: Academic Security and Counter Exploitation Program Annual Summit
(continues through Thursday)

NASA: NASA Advisory Council meeting
(continues Wednesday)

DOE / Kavli Foundation: “The Future of Public Engagement with Basic Science: Community
Feedback” (continues Wednesday)

Senate: Hearing to receive testimony on DOE legislation
10:00 am, Energy and Natural Resources Committee

House: “Keeping Our Sights on Mars: A Status Update and Review of NASA’s Artemis Initiative”
11:00 am, Science Committee

World Resources Institute: “Designing and Delivering an Equitable Net Zero Future in the U.S.: Climate-Smart Infrastructure Investment Implementation”
11:30 am - 12:30 pm

House: “FY23 Strategic Forces Posture Hearing”
2:00 pm, Armed Services Committee

Columbia University: “Advanced Nuclear: Finally Achieving Critical Mass”
2:00 - 3:15 pm

NSF: “Connecting with Tribal Colleges and Universities on a Proposed New NSF Directorate”
2:30 - 4:30 pm

AAJC: “Briefing on the End of the China Initiative”
3:00 pm

4:30 pm

State of the Union Address
9:00 pm

Wednesday, March 2

NRC: Reactor Safeguards Advisory Committee meeting
(continues through Friday)

NEHRP: National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program advisory committee meeting
(continues Thursday) EPA: Science Advisory Board meeting
(continues on Monday)

CSIS: A conversation with Conservative Climate Caucus founder Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)
8:30 - 9:00 am

CNAS: “Sanctions and Export Controls Explained: What’s Going On With Russia”
9:00 - 10:00 am

House: “From Gray to Green: Advancing the Science of Nature-Based Infrastructure”
10:00 am, Science Committee

National Academies: “Planetary Protection for Missions to Small Bodies,” meeting four
12:00 - 6:00 pm

NASA: Space Weather Council meeting
12:00 - 3:00 pm

Industry Studies Association: “The Energy Sector Industrial Base: Core Questions for Economic, National Security, and Climate Policy”
12:00 - 2:00 pm

National Academies: “Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space: Biological Sciences Panel,” meeting four
2:00 - 5:00 pm

Thursday, March 3

Duke Law School: “The Evolving Role of Universities in the American Innovation System”
(continues Friday)

Senate: Meeting to readvance the nomination of Laurie Locascio as NIST director
10:00 am, Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

Senate: “Examining the Senate Confirmation Process and Federal Vacancies”
10:15 am, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

National Academies: “Building Resilience into the Nation’s Medical Product Supply Chains,” report release webinar
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

University of Washington: “Quantum Technology in Space”
12:00 - 1:00 pm PST

AAAS: “Barriers to Equitable Implementation of Green and Nature-Based Solutions”
1:00 - 3:00 pm

NSF: “Connecting with Two-Year Institutions on a Proposed New NSF Directorate”
1:30- 3:30 pm

National Academies: “Assessment of Partnership Options for a Small Satellite System for Collecting Scientific Quality Oceanic and Coastal Data,” report release briefing
2:30 - 3:30 pm

Friday, March 4

Belfer Center: “Innovation in the Intelligence Community”
9:00 am - 1:15 pm

Hudson Institute: “Winning the Telecommunications Revolution”
10:00 - 11:30 am

NSF: Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee meeting
12:00 - 4:00 pm

Monday, March 7

LPI: Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
(continues through Friday)

Belfer Center: “Solar Geoengineering and U.S. Politics”
12:00 - 1:00 pm

National Academies: “Just Energy Transition Webinar Series: Government Perspectives”
12:00 - 2:00 pm

DOE: High Energy Physics Advisory Panel meeting
12:00 - 2:00 pm

Brookings Institution: “AI, Innovation, and Welfare: A Conversation with Joseph E. Stiglitz”
2:00 - 3:00 pm


Space Weather Roundtable Accepting Nominations

The National Academies is accepting nominations for its newly established Space Weather Roundtable, a congressionally chartered panel that will facilitate communication between government, academia, and the commercial space weather sector. Topics the roundtable will address include “space weather benchmarks and scales, communication of risk, steps to improve research to operations and operations to research pathways, commercial space weather data buys, and resilience to severe space weather events.” The roundtable will consist of approximately 15 members and nominations are due March 7.

FAS Hiring Clean Energy Fellow for OSTP

The Federation of American Scientists is hiring a senior clean energy transitions fellow who will be placed in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Energy Division for one year. The fellow will conduct analysis relevant to building a “clean and equitable energy system” and engage with stakeholders on energy transition policy issues. Applications are due March 11.

Emerging Technologies Institute Seeking Summer Intern

The National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute is accepting applications for a summer intern. Applications will be accepted from rising undergraduates through graduate students and preference will be given to applicants in STEM or technology policy fields. The internship program will run from May 23 to Aug. 3, and applications are due April 1.

For additional opportunities, please visit . Know of an opportunity for scientists to engage in science policy? Email us at .

Know of an upcoming science policy event either inside or outside the Beltway? Email us at .

Around the Web

News and views currently in circulation. Links do not imply endorsement.

Ukraine Crisis

White House


Science, Society, and the Economy

Education and Workforce

Research Management

Labs and Facilities

Computing and Communications


Weather, Climate, and Environment




International Affairs

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National Cancer Institute Director Monica Bertagnolli will take the helm of the National Institutes of Health. The agency has lacked a Senate-confirmed director for nearly two years.
NIST leaders say the agency is hiring more safety staff, overhauling its safety training, and pushing for facilities repairs in the wake of several high-profile incidents.
Leaders of the House Science Committee introduced legislation last week that would update the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018.
House appropriators are backing NASA’s imperiled Mars Sample Return mission and prospective NSF large facility projects, according to a newly posted document. The appropriators also elaborate on their proposals to reinstate the Justice Department’s China Initiative and block the White House’s policy requiring immediate free access to research publications.
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