2021 U.S. ASPIRE Competition

Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

In its eleventh year running, the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) is an annual award hosted by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation (PPSTI) that recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cross-border collaboration. Each APEC member economy identifies one nominee for the prize, and the U.S. State Department’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, in conjunction with the scientific publishers Wiley and Elsevier, holds an annual competition to identify the scientist to represent the United States on the APEC stage.

For 2021, the ASPIRE prize will promote innovative research that advances society through “Diverse Knowledge for a Sustainable Future.”

This theme focuses on researcher insights from indigenous and ethnic minority cultures and communities to help inform new frontiers in science, technology, and innovation. This may include research that explores interactions between traditional and contemporary approaches to knowledge and science, as well as applications such as better management of natural resources, healthcare, and agricultural systems.  Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies in subjects such as: biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics, mathematics and other relevant fields.

Each APEC economy may nominate one individual under 40 years of age in its region for the ASPIRE Prize. The nominees will be judged on their excellence in research and cross-border collaboration with peers from other APEC economies. Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies in subjects such as: biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics, mathematics and other relevant fields.

The deadline for U.S. nominees is May 14, 2021 using this application . Young scientists from the United States who are engaged in research and/or product commercialization in line with the theme noted above are strongly encouraged to put forward applications or nominate their peers.

Completed applications and any questions should be sent to ASPIREprize@state.gov.

If selected as the U.S. nominee or runner-ups, the nominee and two runner-ups will be invited to a virtual roundtable in summer 2021 and receive cash prizes of $3000 (nominee) and $1200 (two runner-ups). If selected as the APEC-wide winner, the winner will receive USD $25,000 in prize money at an award ceremony at a virtual PPSTI meeting in New Zealand notionally in August 2021. Wiley and Elsevier are sponsors of the initiative.

For more information please visit: https://www.apec.org/aspire/aspire2021. More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org.

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    Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan, and U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge for the Western District of Michigan issued the following statements:
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  • NASA Extends Deep Space Atomic Clock Mission
    In Space
    Smart phone apps provide [Read More…]
  • Taiwan Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Exercise normal [Read More…]
  • Court Authorizes Service of John Doe Summons Seeking Identities of U.S. Taxpayers Who Have Used Cryptocurrency
    In Crime News
    A federal court in the Northern District of California entered an order today authorizing the IRS to serve a John Doe summons on Payward Ventures Inc., and Subsidiaries d/b/a Kraken (Kraken) seeking information about U.S. taxpayers who conducted at least the equivalent of $20,000 in transactions in cryptocurrency during the years 2016 to 2020. The IRS is seeking the records of Americans who engaged in business with or through Kraken, a digital currency exchanger headquartered in San Francisco, California.
    [Read More…]
  • Comet NEOWISE Sizzles as It Slides by the Sun, Providing a Treat for Observers
    In Space
    Catch the comet in the [Read More…]
  • Department of State Participation in Taiwan-hosted Event on Open Government and Anti-Corruption
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles with North Carolina School District to Provide Equal Opportunities to English Learner Students
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today a settlement agreement with the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to resolve the department’s investigation into the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s (District) programs for its English learner students. The department’s investigation found system-wide failures to provide these students with the instruction and support they need to learn English and fully participate in school. The department conducted its investigation under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.
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  • Justice Department Releases Information on Election Day Efforts to Protect the Right to Vote and Prosecute Ballot Fraud
    In Crime News
    Continuing a longstanding Justice Department tradition, Attorney General William P. Barr today issued the following statement: “Americans have the opportunity once again to help shape the future of this nation by exercising their right to vote.  It is a right that forms the foundation of our democratic system of government, and is precious to all Americans.  The Department of Justice will work tirelessly alongside other federal, State, and local agencies to protect and vindicate that right as it is administered by State and local jurisdictions across the nation.”
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  • John Kerry Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Day One Closing Remarks
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Civil Action to Shut Down Chicago-Area Tax Return Preparer
    In Crime News
    The United States has filed a complaint seeking to bar a Chicago-area tax return preparer from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil complaint against Lavon Boyd was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and alleges that Boyd prepared federal income tax returns for Chicago-area taxpayers that significantly understated his customers’ tax liabilities by fabricating business losses. The suit alleges that Boyd fabricated or exaggerated his customers’ business expenses. The suit also charges that Boyd allegedly fabricated childcare expenses on at least one of his customers’ tax returns.
    [Read More…]
  • Pennsylvania Biofuel Company and Owners Sentenced on Environmental and Tax Crime Convictions Arising out of Renewable Fuels Fraud
    In Crime News
    Two biofuel company owners were sentenced to prison for conspiracy and making false statements to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and conspiracy to defraud the IRS and preparing a false tax claim.
    [Read More…]
  • Opioid Use Disorder: Treatment with Injectable and Implantable Buprenorphine
    In U.S GAO News
    Of the medications used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), only buprenorphine is both a controlled substance and available as an injection or implant. Buprenorphine is used to treat patients with OUD because it reduces or eliminates opioid withdrawal symptoms and blunts the euphoria or dangerous side effects of other opioids, such as heroin. When used to treat OUD, buprenorphine, in any form, is subject to additional laws and regulations that are overseen by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). To ensure patient safety when injectable and implantable buprenorphine is used, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), within HHS has also required drug companies to establish risk evaluation and mitigation strategies to help ensure the benefits of these medications outweigh their risks. Providers and pharmacies must follow a number of specific steps based on federal requirements when providing treatment with injectable and implantable buprenorphine. Providers are responsible for prescribing, storing, and administering injectable and implantable buprenorphine, while pharmacies are responsible for dispensing these medications (see figure). Representatives GAO interviewed from provider groups and pharmacies said they did not find the steps involved in treating patients to be difficult overall. However, they stated that careful and timely coordination with each other and patients is needed at key steps of the process to ensure that the patient receives treatment. Representatives from provider groups and pharmacies reported that the risk of diversion of injectable and implantable buprenorphine is low. For example, all of the provider groups GAO spoke with said that diversion of injectable or implantable buprenorphine is unlikely, and representatives from three of the six provider groups said that the design of these formulations reduces opportunities for diversion due to how they are administered. Process for Treating Opioid Use Disorder with Injectable and Implantable Buprenorphine The use of injectable and implantable buprenorphine to treat OUD is relatively low compared to oral forms of buprenorphine. HHS has reported that about 7,250 prescriptions were issued for injectable and implantable buprenorphine in fiscal year 2019, compared to over 700,000 patients who received buprenorphine prescriptions for oral formulations to treat OUD or pain in that year. In 2018, SAMHSA estimated that about one-quarter of the estimated 2 million people with OUD had received some form of substance use treatment in the prior year. One form of treatment—medication-assisted treatment (MAT)— combines behavioral therapy with the use of certain medications. HHS has identified expanding access to treatment for OUD as an important strategy for reducing opioid morbidity and mortality, which includes increasing the number of injectable and implantable buprenorphine prescriptions. Congress included a provision in the SUPPORT Act for GAO to review access to and the potential for the diversion of controlled substances administered by injection or implantation. This report focuses on injectable and implantable controlled substances that can be used to treat OUD and specifically, describes the process for treating OUD with injectable and implantable buprenorphine and what is known about their use. GAO reviewed laws, regulations, and documentation from DEA, FDA, and SAMHSA governing the process of providing treatment with buprenorphine and interviewed officials from those agencies. GAO also interviewed representatives from stakeholder groups representing MAT providers; drug companies that manufacture injectable or implantable buprenorphine; and pharmacies that dispense these medications. HHS and DOJ reviewed a draft of this report, and GAO incorporated their technical comments, as appropriate. For more information, contact James Cosgrove at (202) 512-7114 or cosgrovej@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]