House Science Committee Introduces Act to Double NSF Budget and Create Technology Directorate
Apr 5, 2021
The bill, introduced with bipartisan support, would lift NSF’s overall budget from the current $8.5 billion to $18.3 billion in 2026. In addition to growing the agency’s existing seven research and education directorates, the bill would create an eighth, called Science and Engineering Solutions (SES). Its budget would start at $1 billion in 2022 and grow to $5 billion by 2026.
In setting up the new directorate, the bill would require the NSF director to select up to five focus areas and periodically refresh the list. During the selection process, the director must consider the following “societal challenges:”
- Climate change and environmental sustainability
- Global competitiveness in critical technologies
- National security
- STEM education and workforce
- Social and economic inequality
A host of existing science education and workforce training programs would grow by 50% over the 5-year term of the bill. Among those, it would boost the annual number of prestigious graduate research fellowships from 2,000 to 3,000. The bill would also order a decadal study of how to strengthen precollege science education and another on how to ensure that undergraduate science and engineering majors receive the training they need to fill high-tech jobs in industry after graduation.