House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen R&D, Boost Manufacturing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved theAmerican Innovation and Competitiveness Act, a bicameral, bipartisan legislative compromise originally introduced by U.S Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), along with John Thune (R-SD), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), thatmaximizes basic research opportunities, reduces administrative burdens for researchers, encourages scientific entrepreneurship, and promotes oversight of taxpayer-funded research. The legislation also promotes diversity in STEM fields, incentivizes private-sector innovation, and aims to improve advanced manufacturing and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a public-private partnership to support small and medium-sized manufacturers. The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the legislation last week.
This legislation marks the first major update to federal research and technology policy to originate in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in more than a decade.
“Cutting-edge innovation and scientific research drive our economy forward by supporting new advances in manufacturing, creating new jobs and promoting our nation’s competitiveness,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee. “I am pleased that the House passed this bipartisan legislation that maximizes federal investments in basic science research, strengthens STEM education programs to build a skilled workforce and supports services that make small and medium-sized manufacturers globally competitive. I was honored to work with Senator Gardner to craft this legislation to help America stay ahead of the curve in our increasingly competitive world.”
“The House’s passage of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act is a major step forward for the science and research community, and I thank Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Johnson for working in good faith with the Senate to achieve this success,” said Senator Gardner. “We’ve worked for more than 18 months with the scientific community, industry, universities, and other interested stakeholders to craft a bill that reflects the needs of America’s science and technology enterprise and I will continue to work to ensure their needs are addressed in Congress. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act has made science bipartisan again, and I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law and helping to keep America competitive across the globe.”
Highlights of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act
Maximizing Basic Research
- Highlights Peer Review: Reaffirms the appropriateness of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) intellectual merit and broader impacts criteria used to evaluate grant proposals.
- Keeps Government Accountable to Taxpayers: Promotes transparency by requiring public notices of grants to justify the project’s expenditures and confirm that they align with NSF’s priorities.
- Broadens Research Opportunities: Updates NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to continue promoting groundbreaking research in states that receive relatively little federal research money.
- Modernizes Existing Programs: Includes updates to the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) programs, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) laboratory and education outreach programs.
Administrative and Regulatory Burden Reduction
- Reduces Paperwork Burdens: Establishes an inter-agency working group to provide recommendations on eliminating unnecessary paperwork for researchers and institutions.
- Streamlines Government: Repeals obsolete agency reports and unfunded government programs.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
- Enhances Scientific Community Input: Establishes a STEM Advisory Panel composed of academic and industry representatives to provide recommendations on federal STEM programs.
- Promotes Diversity in STEM Fields: Creates a working group to study how to improve inclusion of women and underrepresented individuals in STEM fields and reaffirms the necessity of broadening participation in STEM fields through NSF programs.
Leveraging the Private Sector
- Incentivizes Private-Sector Innovation: Updates prize competition authority to encourage greater participation in federal prize competitions.
- Expands Opportunities for Public Involvement: Permits federal science agencies to use crowdsourcing as a tool to conduct agency projects.
- Encourages Improved Manufacturing: Adjusts the federal cost-share ratio and implements new accountability and oversight provisions within NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program.
Innovation and Technology Transfer
- Bolsters Scientific Entrepreneurship: Authorizes the successful I-Corps program to help scientists move their research from the laboratory to the marketplace.
- Reaffirms Importance of Commercialization: Directs NSF to continue awarding translational research grants and strengthen public-private cooperation.