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Washington Beat

Washington Beat

Engineers' pay keeps upward pace with other jobs, inflation

Engineers' salaries are moving ahead consistent with the rate of inflation and the national average for industries. That's the conclusion of the American Assn. of Engineering Societies (AAES) (Washington, DC). AAES' latest compensation survey, taken in February 1998, it finds that the pay for mid-career engineers with 12 to 14 years in the workforce grew 3.1% from 12 months earlier. During that period, inflation rose 1.4%, and the average base salary for all industries in the U.S. climbed 2.9%, according to the American Compensation Asson. AAES surveyed more than 73,000 engineers in more than 18 experience brackets. Salaries of entry-level and early-career engineers grew faster this year than did those of mid-career engineers. The median salary for all engineers five years out of their undergraduate program is $49,150, compared with $42,000 in 1997. Petroleum engineering remains the highest paying entry-level discipline, with a median starting salary of $51,050 for an engineer with a BS. The survey comes in three forms, including one that is personalized. For information on ordering any of the forms, contact Amy Goldman at (888) 400-AAES X209.

Most science, engineering grads employed in non-S&E occupations

Nearly twice as many people with degrees in science and engineering (S&E) fields held jobs in non-S&E occupations as were employed in S&E jobs in 1995. So reveals data collected by the National Science Foundation. The S&E workforce reached nearly 3.2 million in 1995--of which 83%, or 2.6 million people, had received their highest degrees in an S&E field. At the same time, however, about 4.7 million people whose highest degrees were in S&E fields were working non-S&E occupations. Engineers earned the highest salaries at each degree level, followed by computer and mathematical scientists at the bachelor's and master's level, and physical scientists at the doctoral level. Contact R. Keith Wilkinson at (703) 306-1773 or at [email protected]

U.S. Patent Office proposes array of procedure changes

Inventors will be both pleased and annoyed with many changes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) proposes to make soon in its practices and procedures. Among proposals: create a "rocket docket" for design applications accompanied by a fee of about $900 for expeditious handling; harmonize requirements for patent drawings with those in the Patent Cooperation Treaty; eliminate the current requirement for a petition and a $130 petition fee--to accept color drawings or photographs; reduce the period for submitting formal or corrected drawings from three months to one month from the mailing of the "Notice of Allowability;" impose a separate surcharge for each missing item that is submitted late in a nonprovisional application; permit electronic submission of voluminous material; and put limits on the amount of material submitted as part of an Information Disclosure Statement. PTO will not hold public hearings on the proposals. E-mail written comments to [email protected] or fax them to (703) 308-6916, marked to the attention of Hiram H. Bernstein, before Dec 4.

NIST to streamline its criteria for Advanced Technology Program

The complex system of qualifying for the government's Advanced Technology Program (ATP) is about to be simplified. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which manages the program, has devised a long list of modifications. ATP provides funding on a cost-shared basis with industry to carry out R&D on high-risk, high-payoff emerging technologies. In the most significant change, NIST eliminates a complicated set of five project selection criteria, each with different "weights" and lists of sub-criteria. In its place will be a more straightforward two-part scheme. Projects will be evaluated for their scientific and technological merit and for their potential for broad-based economic benefits. Both parts get equal weights. You can read the full text of the changes at www.atp.nist.govcf1ulnone

Revision of Fastener Quality Act sought in study for Congress

The Secretary of Commerce is preparing a report for Congress on the Fastener Quality Act (FQA) of 1990, which has yet to see light. The report must be submitted by February 1, 1999. It will describe changes in fastener manufacturing since FQA's enactment that might have rendered the act obsolete. FQA was supposed to require manufacturers of "critical" fasteners to submit their fasteners for testing by laboratories accredited by various organizations. But delays, confusion, and technological advances have resulted in a string of FQA postponements. The latest target date for implementation is June 1, 1999. Many members of Congress want to rewrite the act before then and seek opinions from government and industry experts. Contact NIST's Subhas G. Malghan at (301) 975-5120.

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