On August 9, 2022, President Biden signed into law a bipartisan innovation bill—ultimately branded “the CHIPS and Science Act”—to significantly boost semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research in the United States.
The $280 billion package (H.R. 4346) contains billions in research spending authorizations at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE). It includes $81 billion in authorized spending for NSF over 5 years, of which $20 billion would go to its new technology directorate. NSF’s annual budget would more than double from $8.8 billion in FY 2022 to $18.9 billion in FY 2027. The measure also provides NSF with an appropriation of $200 million over 5 years to create a CHIPS for America Workforce and Education Fund. Notably, the bill includes language supporting investments in biological field stations and biological research collections.
Other notable science provisions in the package include:
- A five-year authorization of $50 billion for DOE’s Office of Science that translates to an authorized budget of $10.8 billion for the office in FY 2027.
- A measure to create a federal initiative on the bioeconomy to advance engineering biology research.
- A five-year authorization of $10 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
- A measure to expand research on the causes and consequences of sexual harassment impacting the STEM workforce.
- A measure to establish a 2-year pilot research fellowship program at NSF to support highly qualified early-career scientists.
- A measure supporting research to better understand the barriers minority serving institutions (MSIs) face, their contributions to the STEM workforce, and effective approaches to enhancing their capacity to compete for federal research funds.
- A measure, now named after House Science Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), to codify NSF INCLUDES with the goal of broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM education programs and careers.
- A measure directing the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to conduct a quadrennial assessment of U.S. science and technology and develop a comprehensive national strategy to meet research and development objectives and maintain global leadership in science and technology.
- A five-year authorization of $11 billion for a network of regional technology hubs, funded by the Department of Commerce and focused on technology development, job creation, and expanding U.S. innovation capacity.
- A measure that directs NSF to support STEM education and workforce development research focused on rural areas.
Although the final legislation is a trimmed down version of the bills initially passed by the House and Senate, the CHIPS and Science Act nevertheless represents a major step towards ensuring U.S. leadership and competitiveness in science and innovation. “All too often, government and businesses are accused of thinking too short term, but this is one of the most significant long-term-thinking bills in ages,” argued Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which AIBS is a member, applauded the passage of the bill with a statement. “Congress has set an ambitious vision for NSF to initiate critical regional innovation activities, increase its STEM workforce and capacity building efforts, and enhance research in essential technology areas and national, social, and geopolitical challenges,” noted CNSF. “However, none of these activities in the CHIPS and Science bill will be fully realized unless Congress pairs this first step with appropriate funding measures.” The coalition urged Congress to “take the next important step of providing a robust infusion of funds to NSF” through fiscal year 2023 appropriations and beyond.
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