Nature: Texas Republican congressman Lamar Smith, considered a supporter of R&D-based innovation, will chair the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in the US House of Representatives. The news reportedly makes science advocates “cautiously hopeful.” Smith has served on the committee for 26 years. Keith Grzelak, a government relations official for the IEEE, said Smith “understands the role that science, technology and engineering can play in boosting the economy.” Smith has spearheaded patent simplification legislation and championed measures to facilitate immigration for holders of STEM degrees. His tone on human-caused climate disruption has reportedly been “more moderate than that of his challengers for the chairmanship.” In 2010 he voted against reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, which will be up again next year. Michael Lubell, director of public affairs at the American Physical Society, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas representative who is the committee’s top-ranking Democrat, have both expressed hopes about Smith’s tenure.