America COMPETES, the NSF reauthorization bill, has been signed into law, and the bill contains a lot of good stuff. Many of the provisions I wrote about earlier have survived the conference committee and made it through to the final bill:
SEC. 7008. POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOWS.
(a) Mentoring- The Director shall require that all grant applications that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals, and shall ensure that this part of the application is evaluated under the Foundation's broader impacts merit review criterion. Mentoring activities may include career counseling, training in preparing grant applications, guidance on ways to improve teaching skills, and training in research ethics.
(b) Reports- The Director shall require that annual reports and the final report for research grants that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers include a description of the mentoring activities provided to such researchers.
- Communication skills: The Scientific Communications Act got folded in but without any funding. I don't know if a "sense of Congress" statement has any real weight.
SEC. 7035. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING FOR SCIENTISTS.
(a) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that institutions of higher education receiving awards under the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program of the Foundation should, among the activities supported under these awards, train graduate students in the communication of the substance and importance of their research to nonscientist audiences.
(b) Report to Congress- Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall transmit a report to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, describing the training programs described in subsection (a) provided to graduate students who participated in the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program. The report shall include data on the number of graduate students trained and a description of the types of activities funded.
IGERT received a big chunk of money - $82M for 2009
Professional Science Masters programs got modest funding ($12M in 2009), but they are spending it on smart things: (1) a program to help PSM programs share information to make it easier for new PSM programs to be established, and (2) establishing evaluation procedures for existing and new programs.