March 18, 2021
As a scientific society whose members’ research and interests span the universe, AGU’s science policy interests are just as vast – from scientific integrity to funding for science to building resilience to natural hazards. In 2019, AGU began developing annual policy priorities to help focus our advocacy work and speed the advancement of important science policy and legislation. For example, last Congress by focusing on our policy priorities AGU was able to secure passage of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, gain congressional support for diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM legislation and protect science funding from draconian cuts.
To ensure our annual policy priorities represent AGU member interests, we take into consideration AGU position statements and solicit formal and informal AGU member input. AGU’s position statements are member–driven and written statements that form the base for all of AGU’s science policy work. Additionally, we were guided by AGU’s new strategic plan; for example, our 2021 priorities focus more on solution-based science as well as interdisciplinary science more so than in the past. Finally, our priorities are strongly shaped by an analysis of the U.S. and international policy landscape for opportunities where AGU’s unique voice and influence can most advance the Earth and space sciences.
AGU’s 2021 policy priorities are to:
- Fund discovery and solution-based earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity
- Create a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive scientific community
- Build a climate and hazard resilient nation
- Protect environmental and human health
Focusing on justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM
Mirroring Congressional activities, thus far this year we have focused on advocating for legislation that aims to “create a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive scientific community;” including the Rural STEM Education Research Act, the STEM Opportunities Act, as well as the Supporting Early Career Researchers Act.
Rural STEM Education Research Act
The Rural STEM Education Research Act (H.R. 210) directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Academy of Sciences to support research to improve STEM education and workforce in rural communities. Additionally, the bill seeks to improve access and adoption of broadband across the United States.
This bipartisan bill was introduced last Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate but has not yet been introduced in the Senate this Congress. Ask your representative to support the Rural STEM Education Research Act.
STEM Opportunities Act
The STEM Opportunities Act (H.R. 204) seeks to ensure institutions of higher learning and federal agencies are engaging groups historically underrepresented in STEM. The bill supports research into understanding the barriers for these groups in STEM; implementation at agencies of recommendations from the OSTP report Reducing the Impact of Bias in the STEM Workforce; and grants to improve the recruitment, retainment, and advancement of historically underrepresented groups at institutions of higher learning and federal agencies.
This bipartisan bill was introduced last Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate but has not yet been introduced in the Senate this Congress. Urge your representative to support the STEM Opportunities Act.
Supporting Early Career Researchers Act
And finally, the Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act (H.R. 144 & S. 637) seeks to ensure that early-career researchers do not fall out of the STEM pipeline due to a lack of opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill creates a temporary two-year fellowship program at NSF to support early-career scientists.
This bipartisan bill was introduced last Congress in the House of Representatives and has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate this Congress.
Get Congress to act
You can help to create a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive scientific community by asking your legislators to support these important pieces of legislation. Email or tweet at your legislators in just a few clicks!
Stay tuned throughout the year for more opportunities to engage your legislators and deep dives into AGU’s 2021 science policy agenda.