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Administration Sets Federal R&D Priorities for 2019

Friday, October 6, 2017  
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Focus on Advanced Materials is Hard to See Unless You Read Between the Lines

On August 17, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director, Mick Mulvaney, and the newly appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Chief Technology Officer, Michael Kratsios issued a joint memorandum for the heads of the executive departments and agencies outlining the administrations 2019 federal agency research and development priorities. The Memorandum (OMB M-17-30) placed priorities on basic research in the areas of military superiority, cyber and border security, economic growth, energy, health care, as well as STEM and workforce development.

There was no explicit mention of advanced materials or composites. However, there is an obvious need for advanced materials in several areas called out in the memo, including a reference to “hypersonic weapons and defenses”.

OMB M-17-30 did stress the importance of collaborative development, both interagency and private sector, as well as substantial emphasis on federally funded innovative early-stage research. The memorandum also directs federal agencies to attract private sector investment into federal research and development activities once technologies had matured enough to be applied in specific industries.

This directive will not affect current federal agency interest and activities regarding advanced materials research and development in the near-term. However, as agencies begin planning and budgeting for FY2019 and beyond, OMB M-17-30 could potentially have negative implications for SAMPE members and the advanced materials community given the lack of support from the administration.

Click here for more information on OMB Memorandum M-17-30.

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