There is still a chance to provide historic science funding in 2022



As leaders of Congress and President BidenJoe Biden Biden hopes a significant number of jobs on Friday January 6 will bring Democrats and Cheneys together – with GOP almost absent Balance / Sustainability – Climate, democratic emergencies indivisible MORE restart the process of adopting a national agenda that can pass a divided Congress, focusing on the scientific and technological future of our country – a set of critical investments and related policies that enjoy broad bipartisan support – is a good starting point. In fact, it could be an opportunity to use an old-fashioned but effective legislative strategy: the bipartisan ownership process.

Without a doubt, there is no shortage of support for science and technology on both sides of the aisle, but over the years that support has failed to translate into a national priority. Until now. The difficult challenges of COVID-19, climate change and declining global competitiveness have created a unique course correction opportunity for U.S. investments in science and technology.

Next year’s allocation process offers a chance for positive investment in research and development. These investments will serve as building blocks to strengthen the foundations of American science and technology and help us stay competitive globally for generations. And these popular arrangements have a good chance of bringing both sides to the negotiating table.

The bipartite Law on investment in infrastructure and employment, which Biden signed into law in November, has allocated $ 30 billion for clean energy and climate change mitigation strategies – an example of how the two sides can work together to tackle our biggest challenges through science and technology. The early completion of this year’s appropriation process, coupled with a strong commitment to leverage these science and technology investments next year, will put us on the right path to global competitiveness and new economic opportunities for the future generations.

Fortunately, Congress has already begun the hard work of identifying and developing science and technology programs in need of funding. U.S. innovation and competition law and the National Science Foundation Law for the Future passed the Senate and House, respectively, with bipartisan support. In addition, the reconciliation bill includes targeted research and development provisions that reflect the bipartisan interest in building our country’s scientific and technological capacity and, as one-off investments, could be used to initiate sustained strengthening of scientific and technological capacity in our country. our country through the process of credits. We must not let this moment slip away.

A top priority for lawmakers from all walks of life is to invest in our country’s most valuable and powerful product: our people. Specifically, the next generation of skilled scientists, engineers and technicians, whose work will lead the attack on the twin threats of climate change and the pandemic, as well as dangers we cannot even imagine now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the next decade, the United States will need a million more STEM professionals that we do not currently plan to produce.

The Infrastructure Bill laid the groundwork for spending on STEM education, including workforce development with the establishment of the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Council, as well as funds for technology training centers in colleges and universities. It was an excellent start ‚but more needs to be done. We need to create and improve opportunities for STEM students.

Increasing allocations to the National Science Foundation, which funds nearly one-third of basic research conducted at colleges and universities across the United States, would simultaneously support vital research in areas ranging from the environment to all-medicine. by developing the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Improving research capacity and infrastructure at historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and other institutions serving minorities would help expand the STEM workforce and bring new voices and perspectives. to science and technology. Opening these doors, now barely ajar, would impact communities and improve economic prospects for millions of people.

The costs of not increasing spending on science and technology are enormous. We are losing ground and quickly ceding our competitive advantage to other nations. For decades the United States has a downward trend federal investments in research and development relative to our GDP, while other countries, especially China, are increasing rapidly. If we are to maintain our position as a world leader, federal spending on science and technology must reach at least 1.4 percent GDP within five years, roughly double what it is now, according to Science and Technology Action Committee projections. Strengthening America’s position on the world stage is something that all decision-makers, regardless of their party, can support.

It is time for Congress to take decisive and bold action on a science agenda and move forward with a bipartisan focus. It is possible that the urgent need for investment combined with bipartite support for many of these programs could catalyze at least a partial return to a predictable annual credit cycle. We certainly hope so. We need to put science and technology at the top of the political agenda this year. What happens next will define America’s future. This is not hyperbole. It’s scientific.

Keith R. Yamamoto (@kryamamaoto) is the Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Francisco. Mary Woolley (@MaryWoolleyRA) is the President and CEO of Research America. They are two co-chairs of the Science and Technology Action Committee.



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