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Competing Visions: The NSF for the Future Act and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act


In June 2021, the House and Senate advanced separate versions of legislation to enhance U.S. innovation and global competitiveness. The approaches taken by the two bills, however, differ dramatically. The Senate bill focuses squarely on ways to harness and in some cases alter the nationā€™s scientific assets to better compete with China. The House bill, on the other hand, doubles down on the nationā€™s existing, proven scientific leadership and proposes additional investments to push the U.S. research enterpriseā€”particularly the National Science Foundationā€”in new directions.

Despite the many differences between them, some parallels can be found; for example, both propose establishing a new directorate at the National Science Foundation focused on technology development and translational research, and both measures include substantive provisions related to research security and STEM education. Beyond that, though, many unresolved differences remain.

The following pages include COSSAā€™s in-depth analysis and comparison of provisions in the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225) and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) that are of most relevance to the social and behavioral science community.

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policy developments affecting the social and behavioral science community