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Government Roundup

April 15, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 15

In just five days, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services received more than 124,000 applications for H-1B visas for highly skilled workers. The agency then stopped accepting new applications. Only 65,000 visas are available each year, plus an additional 20,000 for people with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.

Ernest J. Moniz, President Barack Obama’s energy secretary nominee, appears to be on his way to confirmation after a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing last week. Moniz, an MIT physics professor and former top Department of Energy official, was supported by many committee members, including committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

International applications to U.S. graduate schools for 2014 have leveled off, a stark change from 9% and 11% increases in the previous two years, according to the Council of Graduate Schools. Applications from China dropped an unexpected 5% compared with an average increase of 20% for the previous three years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s current chairman, Allison M. Macfarlane, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve a full five-year term on the commission. She has been filling the remaining term of the previous NRC chair, who resigned last year. The current term expires in June.

Nobel Laureates are urging Congress to keep federal R&D funding at high enough levels to support basic research, especially that done by young scientists. A letter from 57 U.S. prizewinners says research in the U.S. has bipartisan support, but funding is falling behind that of other countries.


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