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H.R. 5312 (114th): Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Modernization Act of 2016

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 13, 2016.

Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Modernization Act of 2016

(Sec. 5) This bill amends the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 to rename the National High-Performance Computing program as the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program.

The program, in addition to its current requirements, shall:

promote increased understanding of the scientific principles of cyber-physical systems and improve methods available for the design, development, and operation of those that are characterized by high reliability, safety, and security; conduct or arrange for research and development on human-computer interactions, visualization, and big data, as well as the enhancement of cybersecurity; and create a research framework to leverage cyber-physical systems, high capacity and high speed communication networks, and large-scale data analytics to integrate city-scale information technology and physical infrastructures. The Office of Science and Technology Policy shall encourage and monitor the efforts of agencies participating in the program to allocate the resources and management attention necessary to ensure that the strategic plan is executed effectively and that program objectives are met.

Annual reports on the implementation of the program shall, among other things, furnish:

a list of the senior steering groups and strategic plans that address research areas of emerging importance, and a description of the workshops and other activities conducted. Each chair of the advisory committee on networking and information technology (currently on high-performance computing) shall meet membership qualifications, and may be a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Participating federal agencies, working through the National Science and Technology Council and with the assistance of the National Coordination Office (established by this bill), shall develop, and update every five years, a strategic plan for the program.

The plan shall specify near-term and long-term objectives and how the program will accomplish other specified objectives, including by:

fostering the transfer of research and development (R&D) results into new technologies and applications for the benefit of society, encouraging and supporting mechanisms for interdisciplinary R&D in networking and information technology, and promote cyberinfrastructure needs across federally funded large-scale research facilities that produce or will produce large amounts of data that will need to be stored, curated, and made available to the public. (Sec. 6) The bill replaces the National Research and Education Network with a National Coordination Office, which the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall maintain, and which shall give technical and administrative support to participating federal agencies and, as appropriate, the advisory committee.

The National Coordination Office shall:

serve as the primary point of contact on federal networking and information technology activities; through at least one workshop solicit recommendations from stakeholders during the development of each strategic plan; conduct outreach to relevant organizations and the public in order to increase awareness of the program and its benefits, and potential opportunities for collaboration between the participating agencies and the private sector; and promote access to and early application of the technologies, innovations, and expertise derived from program activities to agency missions and systems across the federal government and to U.S. industry. The operation of the National Coordination Office shall be supported by funds from participating agencies.

(Sec. 7) The bill repeals the authorization for a Next Generation Internet program.

(Sec. 8) The program shall encourage participating agencies to support large-scale, long-term, interdisciplinary R&D activities in networking and information technology designed to advance the development of fundamental discoveries, and directed toward agency grand challenge mission areas with the potential for significant contributions to national economic competitiveness and other significant societal benefits.

Such R&D activities shall:

include projects based on applications selected through a competitive, merit-based process; involve collaborations among researchers in institutions of higher education and industry, and may involve nonprofit research institutions and federal laboratories; leverage federal investments through collaboration with related state and private sector initiatives; and include a plan for fostering the transfer of research discoveries and the results of technology demonstration activities to industry for commercial development. Participating agencies may give special consideration to projects that include cost-sharing from nonfederal sources.

R&D activities may be supported through existing or new interdisciplinary research centers organized to investigate basic research questions and carry out technology demonstration activities.

(Sec. 9) The National Coordination Office may conduct workshops and other activities on research areas of emerging importance, which may include grand challenge areas, to help guide program investments and strategic planning in those areas.

Workshop participants shall:

develop options for models for R&D partnerships among institutions of higher education, federal laboratories, and industry; develop R&D options for specific issues addressed through those partnerships; and propose guidelines for assigning intellectual property rights and for transferring research results to the private sector. The National Coordination Office shall:

ensure that workshop participants have knowledge and expertise in the specific issue areas and represent a broad mix of relevant stakeholders; and establish senior steering groups and develop focused strategic plans to coordinate and guide activities under the identified research areas. (Sec. 10) The National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Education shall each engage in specified research and development activities in conjunction with the program.