Issue 18 (September 14)
The White House has published a memorandum on Research & Development Priorities for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Budget, a document that lays out the Administration’s priorities for federal research agencies to consider when drafting their budget requests. This memo, which is traditionally released annually by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is the first such memo released by the Biden Administration. It outlines five cross-cutting themes for agencies to consider for their budgets:
- pandemic readiness and prevention;
- tackling climate change;
- research and innovation in emerging technologies;
- innovation in equity; and
- national security and economic resilience.
In addition to these cross-cutting themes, the memo touches on a few other issues related to R&D and STEM education. Notably, the memo states the Biden Administration’s intent to prioritize federally funded R&D and make it open and accessible to the public while focusing on both domestic R&D and manufacturing as much as possible. The memo also highlights the role of STEM education in supporting the R&D enterprise, and that the Biden Administration would prioritize equity and infrastructure development in budget releases. More information is available in the memo.
We’re pleased to share COSSA’s new website, which we’ve redesigned from the ground-up to put the information and resources you need right at your fingertips. In addition to a refreshed, cleaner look, the new site has tons of new features and functionality to make engaging with COSSA easier than ever, including:
- Better browsing for Washington Update articles,
- All our policy information in one place,
- Easy-to-use action center,
- Visual advocacy resource library,
- New hub for past COSSA trainings & briefings, and
- Homepage for Advocacy Day.
You can explore the new features for yourself at www.cossa.org.
In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.
It is the morning after President Bush’s speech to the joint session of Congress, ten days after the terrorist attacks. Once again Washington, and indeed the world, is a changed place. The disputed presidential election and lingering doubts about the legitimacy of this presidency—gone. The switch of Jim Jeffords to give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate—ancient history. Concern about using the social security surplus to pay for government spending—evaporated. Partisan bickering over appropriations—finished. The nation is united for a war against terrorism to, as the President declared, “lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future.”
For COSSA, whose office is three blocks from the White House, it has been a time of contemplating our own good fortune, and to join the rest of the country in expressions of sorrow over losses and admiration for acts of courage, and to attempt to make some sense of it all. There is also a continuing fear of what could happen next that has made Washington edgy. But life and work does go on.
Congress has pledged to cooperate with the President in a bipartisan manner and to move quickly. Although the original adjournment target of October 5 will not be met, there is no longer any discussion of the session running until Thanksgiving or later. The Democratic and Republican leadership, previously quite chilly in their relationships with each other, are now working together with a sense of purpose. Congress has already passed a $40 billion emergency package to help fund the military response, enhance airport security, help survivors, and rebuild New York and the Pentagon. It will soon enact legislation to help the nation’s beleaguered airlines. The Justice Department has submitted legislation to strengthen its weapons against terrorism[…]
On September 9, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee met to pass a set of spending recommendations that allocate $45.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending as part of the House Democrats’ wide-reaching “Build Back Better” plan. The $3.5 trillion in total proposed spending (over 5-10 years) would be passed as part of the budget reconciliation process (which removes several procedural hurdles to passing such legislation) and would be in addition to regular FY 2022 appropriations (see COSSA’s analysis of the House’s FY 2022 appropriations bills here).
The Science Committee’s recommendations would provide the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a total of $11.03 billion in additional funding over 10 years. The total includes $3.43 billion for infrastructure, $7.55 billion for research and development, and $50 million for oversight. According to the Committee Print, the R&D funding could be used to:
“fund or extend new and existing research awards, scholarships, and fellowships across all science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and STEM education disciplines, to fund use-inspired and translational research and development awards, entrepreneurial education, and technology transfer activities, to extend existing research awards and scholarships and fellowships to aid in the recovery from COVID-19 related disruptions, and for related administrative expenses”
Within the total, $400 million would be reserved for climate change research, including relating to wildfires and $700 million would be set aside for research at minority-serving institutions. In addition, $25 million was allocated to support the Office of Research Security and Policy through an amendment proposed by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL). A number of other proposed amendments related to NSF failed to pass during the markup, including to set aside funds specifically to assist with COVID-19 disruptions to research, to prohibit any funds from being spent to conduct research in China, and to earmark funds for a study on the economic impacts of inflation. The Committee Print was passed along party lines. Other committees in the House are working to pass their own sets of recommendations relating to their jurisdictions. House leaders have committed to bringing the package to the floor by September 27. The Senate is working on its own reconciliation package but has not yet released details.
On September 3, the Biden Administration released a Pandemic Preparedness Plan that identifies five key areas of opportunity to protect the U.S. against future biological threats: (1) “Transforming our Medical Defenses, (2) Ensuring Situational Awareness, (3) Strengthening Public Health Systems, (4) Building Core Capabilities, and (5) Managing the Mission.” The plan includes a total of $65.3 billion in increased funding over 7-10 years, some of which has already been requested as part of the budget reconciliation package currently under consideration in Congress. The full plan is available here.
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) within the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a contract to establish the America’s Data Hub Consortium, a network intended to “strengthen, support, and advance the NCSES mission by engaging in ground-breaking activities related to data access and sharing, infrastructure, and analysis across the broad landscape of the science and engineering enterprise.” The contract was awarded to Advanced Technology International, a nonprofit R&D collaboration firm. The Consortium’s primary objectives are to
- “Develop new ways of acquiring and linking data to yield valuable insights into critical issues
- Support cutting-edge data infrastructure
- Build even stronger data security capabilities to further increase privacy protections and public trust
- Provide novel and innovative analyses
- Document and provide lessons learned for similar activities across the federal government.”
America’s Data Hub is seen as a potential precursor to a broader, government-wide National Secure Data Service (see COSSA’s Headlines with Nancy Potok for more on this). More information on the America’s Data Hub Consortium can be found here.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) has launched a search for the next Executive Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). The next Executive Director will succeed Mary Ellen O’Connell upon her retirement. The DBASSE Executive Director is responsible for executing a modern vision that maximizes DBASSE’s impact in society by expanding the base of sponsors, growing funding and support for programs, enabling the division’s projects to maximize their potential for impact, and fostering innovation to meet changing sponsor needs.” Full details on the position and how to apply are available here.