The House Science and Technology Committee has approved four measures intended to enhance U.S. science and technology competitiveness. Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) introduced the "Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act" (H.R. 363) on 10 January 2007. The original legislation would have authorized appropriations for basic research and research infrastructure in science and engineering, and support for graduate fellowships. However, prior to approving the measure, Chairman Gordon and Ranking Member Ralph M. Hall (R-TX) offered an amendment to strike language that would authorize funding levels for basic research. It is expected that these provisions of the original legislation will be considered independently at a later date. As \reported out of the committee, the measure would support agency efforts to make early career grant awards to researchers at academic institutions, and would direct that 1.5 percent of Research and Related Activity (RR&A) funding at the National Science Foundation be used to support the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training program. For researchers concerned about the state of the nation's research infrastructure, H.R. 363 would also establish a national office for research infrastructure at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The new program would identify and prioritize major deficiencies in the nation's research infrastructure at academic research enterprises and national laboratories. Moreover, the legislation would direct the new program to prioritize and coordinate federal agency responses to the identified priorities.
The other three measures included legislation introduced by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) to improve high performance computing (H.R. 1068); H.R. 85 introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) to institute a network of advanced energy technology transfer centers; and H.R. 1126 introduced by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) to reauthorize the Steel and Aluminum Energy Conservation and Technology Competitiveness Act of 1988.
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