Biden’s Infrastructure Proposal Includes $250 Billion in Research Funding
On March 31, the White House issued a fact sheet detailing many of the spending priorities in President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure initiative, the American Jobs Plan. The proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill addresses a wide range of pressing needs related to infrastructure and economic revitalization. Included is $180 billion to “Invest in R&D and Technologies of the Future” and an extra $70 billion for research-related priorities such as pandemic preparedness and innovation in rural communities, totaling $250 billion specifically for the U.S. research enterprise. Many of the details are still unclear, although the fact sheet names where much of this funding would be allocated:
- $50 billion for the National Science Foundation over an unspecified period of time, some of which would be allocated for a new technology directorate.
- $40 billion for upgrading research facilities, likely both national laboratories and university laboratories. One-half of this money would be allocated to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) such as historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), some of which for a new national climate research lab.
- $35 billion for the development of technologies that address climate change and enhance clean energy and green jobs. The plan also calls for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Climate (ARPA-C).
- $30 billion for R&D targeting innovation and economic growth in rural communities.
- $25 billion specifically for MSIs, $10 billion of which for research funding and $15 billion to establish “centers of excellence” to train students in science and engineering fields.
- $14 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology over an unspecified period of time.
COSSA will be closely following this and other infrastructure proposals and will share details as they are released.