February 22, 2022
On 4 February 2022, AGU, along with more than 50 science, engineering, math and public health organizations, sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to pass fiscal year 2022 (FY22) appropriations in order to solidify critical funding for research and development and to address urgent public health, environmental and economic needs.
Dear Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader McCarthy,
On behalf of the undersigned science, engineering, math and public health organizations, thank you for your collective efforts to finalize FY 2022 appropriations. We urge you to continue the push and finish the job to avoid a long-term continuing resolution (CR). Our nation faces ongoing public health, environmental, economic and security challenges, and along-term CR would harm the historically bipartisan prioritization of funding for research and development (R&D) agencies that play a critical role in addressing those challenges, as well as the ability for these agencies to properly plan for the future.
Lifesaving COVID vaccines are just one particularly timely example of how decades of federally funded research driven by discovery, together with private sector innovation and partnership, has solved problems and yielded incredible benefits to society. Following through on proposed FY 2022 funding levels for key research agencies–including NIH, NASA, NSF, DOE, DOD, USDA, NOAA, EPA, USGS and NIST–will foster new innovations and support STEM talent, including early-career researchers and scientists and engineers from underrepresented groups. It will enable exciting new efforts such as ARPA-H for high-risk, high-reward biomedical research; major boosts in areas such as advanced energy solutions and pandemic preparedness; and growth for programs in multiple agencies to bolster U.S. STEM education and the workforce, just as new NSB data points to stagnant math scores and fewer graduate students with federal government support.
As you know, America is not alone in the quest to tackle the challenges of the future and chart a prosperous path forward. Though we remain the world leader in total R&D, competition with foreign economies to sustain U.S. preeminence in science and technology is real. For example, in 2019, China’s R&D grew by 13%, the largest of major economies, and its R&D intensity –R&D as a share of GDP –also grew rapidly, nearly tripling between 2000 and 2019. The gap has also continued to close in scientific publications and patents. Stop-gap measures seriously undermine our scientific research, delay the development of new technologies, and increase the risk of ceding our leadership to global competitors at a pivotal time when innovative scientific advancements are accelerating. Investing in S&T is a bipartisan win for everyone. We urge you to complete your efforts and finish the FY 2022 appropriations process with robust support for scientific research and development.
Read the text of the full letter here.