April 22, 2021
On 15 April 2021, AGU sent a letter of endorsement to the leadership of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee for the National Science Foundation for the Future Act.
On behalf of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and our community of 130,000 worldwide in the Earth and space sciences, I am writing to thank you for crafting and offering AGU’s official endorsement for the National Science Foundation for the Future Act.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the backbone of America’s STEM education, scientific workforce, and fundamental research base. The sustained funding increase for NSF provided in the bill will increase the number of students receiving high quality STEM education, provide more STEM opportunities, and support more groundbreaking innovations across the United States. AGU appreciates the committee’s recognition that NSF needs sustained, consistent funding growth to fully capitalize on the scientific promise of our nation.
Diversity, equity, and inclusivity are central to AGU’s values and missions, we deeply appreciate the bill’s emphasis on creating a more diverse and inclusive NSF and scientific community. Specifically, we applaud the bill’s codification of the NSF INCLUDES initiative as well as the requirement that funding proposals support mentoring for graduate students and increased financial support for students in the Graduate Research Fellowship Program, both of which are vital to recruiting and retaining underrepresented students. Additionally, we support the provisions diversifying scientific infrastructure use and management, the pilot partnership program with emerging research infrastructures, and the support for Tribal Colleges and Universities to build graduate programs. If we hope to develop a richer scientific enterprise, we must develop a more complex and widespread scientific workforce equipped to address the complex challenges of the future.
We applaud the committee’s creation of the Science and Engineering Solutions Directorate and its design to complement NSF’s curiosity driven directorates. Science is integral to solving most of society’s grand challenges, but so often the best available science fails to reach decision makers or is not actionable. We support the creation of an NSF directorate that will fund use-inspired research and translation to decision-makers as well as new systems of science, including the Convergence Accelerator, that accelerate the loop between research and operations.
Thank you for crafting this important bill which balances maximizing NSF’s current potential with growing the agency to address the challenges of the future. We look forward to working with you to advance this needed piece of legislation.
You can read the full letter here.