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Congress has now approved, and the president has signed into law, five fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills, including funding for the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Education, as well as the National Institutes of Health. When Congress returns in mid-November for a lame-duck session, it will consider the remaining seven bills, which would replace funding now set to expire on December 7. While the FY2019 appropriations process has gone smoothly so far, a fight over border wall funding could derail the process.

On October 11, following some confirmation votes, the Senate adjourned for its final break before the midterm elections. Kelvin Droegemeier, who has been nominated to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), remains unconfirmed. While there does not appear to be any opposition to Droegemeier’s nomination, the delay means that OSTP will continue to be without a confirmed head for at least another month.

Urbana Researcher Shares Perspective on the Electric Grid

Tim Yardley, senior associate director of technology and workforce development at Urbana's Information Trust Institute, testified on October 10 at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on blackstart, the process for returning energy to the power grid after a system-wide blackout. Yardley, whose research primarily focuses on cyber resiliency in critical infrastructure with a particular focus on the electric power grid, stressed the importance of funding for the Department of Energy and other government agencies to advance research and collaboration between academia and industry, building upon successes of the past.

Read his testimony here.

UIC Joins Durbin Initiative on Reducing Violence, Hosts Senior NIH Official

On October 1, Sen. Dick Durbin announced Chicago Hospital Engagement, Action, and Leadership (HEAL— a new initiative he’s leading in conjunction with the largest hospitals serving Chicago — including the University of Illinois Hospital—which is aimed at reducing violence and improving health in Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods. The action plan highlights UI Health's Better Health Through Housing program, which was created to reduce costs and provide stability to the chronically homeless.

 Photo Credit: Fan Wang

On October 3, Dr. Lawrence Tabak, principal deputy director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent a full day at UIC. He met with senior leadership, early career researchers, and with deans and other senior faculty to learn more about the research environment at UIC. He delivered a public talk on HEAL (Helping End Addiction Long-term), the NIH initiative to address the public health crisis of opioid abuse in the U.S. Tabak also provided the plenary talk at the UIC Functional and Regenerative Materials (FRM) workshop, highlighting how UIC's FRM strategic initiative fits with the goals of the 21st Century Cures Act. This major piece of legislation provides NIH with tools and resources to broadly advance biomedical research from foundational basic research studies to trials of new therapies. Through its FRM initiative, UIC is well positioned to tap into the potential of the NIH CURES Regenerative Medicine Innovation Project, bringing the strengths of UIC's broad research community to this emerging area of science that holds great promise to treat and even cure a variety of injuries and diseases.

U of I System Hosts Infrastructure Workshop

On October 10, the U of I System hosted a workshop at UIC for the Infrastructure Technology Resource Consortium (ITRC), a partnership between major universities, government, and industry stakeholders in the Midwest. The mission of ITRC, which includes faculty from UIC and Urbana, is to develop innovative infrastructure technologies and provide services that will drive economic growth in our region. Five senior district staff members from the offices of Sen. Dick Durbin and Reps. Mike Quigley, Bill Foster, Raja Krishmamoorthi, and Brad Schneider attended the workshop. There will be a follow-up meeting early next near.


Thank you,

OGR Federal Relations

Paul Weinberger, Melissa Haas, and Emily Tuttle