August 29, 2022

CHIPS and Science Act: AGU highlights and takeaways

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

On 9 August 2022 President Biden signed into law the Chips and Science Act. While it is largely talked about as an investment in our semiconductor industry and a national security win, this law is arguably more about advancing the U.S. scientific enterprise.  


At the heart of the science portion of the law is a compromise between the policies set forth in the Senate U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the House America COMPETES Act. Both bills sought to ensure American leadership in science and technology in the face of faster growing foreign scientific enterprises– as does the CHIPS and Science Act. 


Many AGU policy priorities and endorsed legislation were included in one or both bills and ultimately in the CHIPS and Science Act, including: 

  • Rural STEM Education and Research Act 
  • Supporting Early Career Researchers Act 
  • STEM Opportunities Act 
  • Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act 
  • MSI STEM Achievement Act 
  • Portions of the Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act 
  • NSF for the Future Act 
  • DOE Office of Science for the Future Act 
  • NASA Authorization Act 
  • Coastal and Ocean Acidification Research & Innovation Act 


Although there are many elements to applaud in the Chips and Science Act, there are some compromise provisions related to research security that are concerning. Specifically, the law denotes that federal agencies cannot participate in “foreign talent recruitment programs” and federal grant researchers must disclose such participation and undergo training. There is an acknowledgement of the potential harm of these policies; the law also states that federal agencies must ensure that these measures don’t lead to race, ethnic, or national origin discrimination. Additionally, universities must develop research security training programs.  


AGU remains concerned about the chilling effect these policies can have on both international collaboration as well as foreign students, researchers, and scientists. We plan to monitor and work with the Administration, Congress, and scientific agencies on implementation. 


Thank you to all members of the AGU community who talked to your legislators about any or all the policies and bills in CHIPS and Science Act. The inclusion of science and passage of the CHIPS and Science Act speaks to the power of the scientific community in the policy space and demonstrates the importance of science in decision-making.  


If you haven’t yet, thank your legislators who supported the CHIPS and Science Act today!