ASME Signs Task Force on American Innovation Letter Urging President Biden to Prioritize Research
Feb 1, 2021
The Task Force for American Innovation (TFAI), a coalition of businesses, trade groups, university organizations, and science and engineering societies (including ASME), has sent a letter to President Biden, urging him and his administration to prioritize support for the U.S. scientific research enterprise when working on his first budget proposal. The President’s Budget Request kicks off the annual federal budget process. It is when the President, working with the agencies, submits a detailed budget proposal to Congress for the upcoming fiscal year. The President’s request is supposed to be sent to Congress in early February, but the processes is often delayed, especially when a new Administration takes office.
The letter asks the President to prioritize robust R&D investments at key agencies in his FY 2022 budget request, including at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, the Department of Defense (DOD) Basic Research Organizations, NASA, and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). TFAI believes investments in these key research agencies will spur economic growth, shore-up the industrial base, and better cement the U.S.’s position as a global leader in research and innovation.
The letter calls attention to the competitive global R&D landscape, pointing out that foreign countries are increasing R&D investments on a huge scale, and that the U.S. has not kept pace. China, for instance, has increased its R&D investments by 330% from 2003 to 2017 ($23 billion to $98 billion). During this time, U.S. R&D investments grew by just 2% ($121 billion to $124 billion), not even keeping pace with inflation.
The letter further encourages the President and his administration to take a look at the 2019 R&D Benchmarks Report released by TFAI that outlines both where the U.S. is leading, and where it is falling behind.