December 6, 2021
On 6 December 2021, AGU sent a letter to Congressional leadership thanking them for crafting U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225), outlining how critical this legislation is to advancing diversity and equity in the sciences, mitigating the impact of the pandemic on students and early career researchers, and more.
On behalf of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and our community of 130,000 worldwide in the Earth and space sciences, I’d like to express thanks and support for your leadership in the crafting of a major and much-needed science and innovation package. As Congress continues to conference the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225), and other related science and innovation measures, we urge you to maintain a strong emphasis on:
- Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences by including several bills that enjoy broad support in the House and Senate, including the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act (S. 1379, H.R. 2695); the Rural STEM Education Research Act (S. 1374, H.R. 210); and the Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act (S. 1565).
- Investing in efforts to mitigate the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEM professionals, especially students and early-career scientists. These investments will ensure that our country’s STEM pipeline will emerge from this crisis ready to address the escalating challenges facing our country. Specifically, we ask Congress to include the bipartisan RISE Act (H.R. 869, S.289) and the bipartisan Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act (H.R. 144, S.637).
- Continuing and adding to robust funding for the National Science Foundation, complemented by the creation of a new directorate to fund use-inspired research, translation to decision-makers, and new systems of science, including the Convergence Accelerator, that accelerate the loop between research and operations. This new directorate should allow the agency enough flexibility to assess the most promising areas of innovation to support.
- Developing a richer and more widespread scientific enterprise by codifying the NSF INCLUDES initiative, requiring that NSF funding proposals support mentoring for graduate students, and increasing financial support for students in NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, all of which are vital to recruiting and retaining underrepresented students. Additionally, we support the provisions that diversify scientific infrastructure use and management, establish a pilot partnership program with emerging research infrastructures, and provide support for Tribal Colleges and Universities to build graduate programs.
- Maintaining robust research security while nonetheless preserving the core American values of openness, transparency, integrity, and democracy that have contributed to our scientific leadership. To this end, we urge the revision of overly burdensome provisions within the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act that would deter international students and scientists from studying at American colleges and universities and stifle international collaboration vital to science.
AGU appreciates your continued efforts to support groundbreaking research and pioneer new paths in our country’s global scientific leadership. We look forward to working with you to advance this important legislation and strengthen our scientific enterprise.
Read the full letter here.