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US news roundup: 10-16 June


This week: support for quantum tech, recruiting artificial intelligence researchers and a scathing Nasa review

In depth: The US will “wind down” its scientific and technical collaboration with Russian government-affiliated research institutions and individuals in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its government has announced.

Full story: US ‘winding down’ research collaboration with Russia

Also this week from Research Professional News

US and EU to cooperate on pandemic preparedness—Agreement will include research collaboration and aims to reduce duplication of effort

Data driven—Time to get ready for data privacy laws and what they might mean for research

Academies adopt action plan for supporting Ukraine—Plan to coordinate efforts comes as G7 science ministers confirm “unwavering support”

Here is the rest of the US news this week… 

‘Sustained funding needed’ for quantum tech

Scientists have called on US policymakers to do more in order to realise the promise of quantum information science and technology. In a blog post published by the Brookings Institution think tank, academics Michael Raymer and Saikat Guha urged the US government to provide “sustained funding” to the field, which is on the cusp of major breakthroughs but faces significant challenges. Raymer and Guha also recommended improving coordination between research efforts led by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, attracting and retaining international quantum science talent and making federally funded computing resources accessible to more researchers.

Government ‘struggling to recruit’ AI talent

The Department of Defense should operate more like a tech company to recruit talented researchers in artificial intelligence, a report from the Rand Corporation think tank has suggested. The DoD has struggled to attract AI experts from Silicon Valley, in part because these experts are used to a very different work culture, said the report. To close this AI talent gap, it said the DoD should examine its hierarchical structure and take steps to support a more innovative and agile culture. In particular, the report noted that AI experts from Silicon Valley are accustomed to a culture of adaptability and would do best in DoD suborganisations focused on innovation and agility.

Scathing review of Nasa launcher management

Nasa’s inspector general has published a highly critical report of the space agency’s management of the Space Launch System programme, which is intended to send more astronauts to the moon. The SLS programme has been riddled with challenges, the inspector general found. In particular, it highlighted spiralling costs related to the construction of a tower known as a mobile launcher, which would support the SLS rocket at take-off.  While Nasa accepted multiple recommendations in the report, including changes to its vendor contract and project management practices, the company that Nasa commissioned to build the mobile launcher objected to the findings. “Unfortunately, the inspector general’s report does not provide a complete picture of what led to the current situation, and we strongly disagree with the report’s overarching conclusions on the primary causes of the cost increases,” said Fred DeSousa, spokesman for contracted company Bechtel, in a statement to The Washington Post.