US lawmakers propose doubling NSF funding

ÖOn Friday, March 26th, the US House of Representatives’ Science, Space and Technology Committee tabled bipartisan bill setting out plans to more than double the National Science Foundation’s budget and create a new technology directorate.

“As countries around the world invest in research and STEM education, America’s global leadership in science and technology is waning and poses significant risks to economic competitiveness, national security and public welfare,” the bill reads . “In order to address the major societal challenges and to maintain the US leadership in innovation, the federal government must increase its research investments.”

In 2021, the NSF received $ 8.5 billion to fund its seven directorates. The new legislation plans to increase the agency’s annual budget to $ 18.3 billion by 2026. Some of that would be used for a new initiative called Science and Engineering Solutions. With a focus on transforming basic research into new technologies and commercial products that would address societal issues and drive economic growth, the new directorate would receive $ 1 billion in 2022 and grow to $ 5 billion per year by 2026 science.

“To realize the full potential of science for the benefit of society, we need to fund more research on issues that matter to the American people,” Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said in a statement . “Our competitiveness vis-à-vis China and other nations determines a large part of the national discourse on innovation, since our economic and national security depends on our leadership role in science and technology. However, competitiveness with China will not be possible if we do not use our country’s STEM talent for all the challenges we face. “

In some ways, the new bill is similar to the Endless Frontier Act introduced last June, which aims to quadruple NSF’s budget and redirect the agency to “industries of the future” like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. science reported at the time.

While the National Science Foundation for the Future Act, introduced by Johnson, supports innovation in these industries through the proposed Directorate of Technology, it also suggests increasing funding for all scientific disciplines supported by the agency and taking measures to prevent funding compromises between the new directorate and others to outline NSF departments, a concern of researchers who rely on NSF funding, according to science last week.

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