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US news roundup: 6-12 January


This week: novel ideas for space technology, Hillary Clinton joins Columbia University and more

In depth: Universities hosting Chinese Confucius Institutes could become eligible for public defence funding under proposals set out by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Full story: Plan to restore defence funding to universities with China centres

Also this week from Research Professional News

US R&D spending up $75bn in 2021, but intensity flat—R&D spending as share of GDP flatlined for the first time in years, report estimates

US research in 2023: more money, fewer problems?—Boosted US science budgets are still short of ambition, say some in the research world

Here is the rest of the US news this week… 

Nasa funds visionary technology ideas 

New funding for novel space technologies, such as to make it possible to live on the moon and on Mars, has been awarded by Nasa as part of its Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) programme. The latest round of funding will provide $175,000 grants to each of 14 research projects, including a proposal for a new kind of space observatory. Other funded projects include an investigation into the chemistry of Saturn’s largest moon, oxygen transportation between moon settlements, and self-growing bricks for homes on Mars.

Clinton joins Columbia

Former US senator, secretary of state and presidential runner-up Hillary Clinton is joining Columbia University as a professor of global affairs. Clinton, who ran as the Democratic Party nominee in the 2016 presidential elections, will start her new role at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs from 1 February and will begin teaching in the 2023-24 academic year. Columbia University president Lee Bollinger welcomed Clinton’s “extraordinary talents and capacities”, which he said would benefit the university’s teaching and research.

Arpa-Energy chief starts work

The government’s latest energy research director has been officially sworn in to assume her new role. Evelyn Wang, who was announced as director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy in December, previously served as head of the mechanical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At Arpa-E, Wang will be tasked with leading the agency’s mission to further early stage research into energy generation, storage and use.