New White House STEM Report is “North Star” for Federal STEM Policy

Dec 7, 2018

The White House Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council recently released its five year interagency report detailing the administration’s strategic plan for federal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs. In discussing the new report, titled “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, ”White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios explained that it will focus on “the need to ensure that all Americans have a strong STEM foundation, even those who are not pursuing a STEM degree as we know it now.”

This new report, hailed as the “North Star” that “charts a course for the Nation’s success” is an update on the inaugural 5-year strategic plan issued under the Obama administration. “It represents an urgent call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities, and employers.” The plan serves as a road map for future federal investment in STEM education. This includes strengthening partnerships between schools, businesses and other organization to make the best use of resources and expertise in the STEM field. It further calls on bolstering work-based learning experiences such as internships, apprenticeships and research experiences. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is congressionally mandated to release this interagency plan for federal STEM programs every five years.

The National Science Foundation also recently released a report of their own on STEM funding, noting that funding of higher education research and development (R&D) increased 4.7% from FY16, coming in at a total of $75.3 billion in FY17. This is the first time federal R&D funding has increased for two consecutive years since FY2009-2011.

The report explains that the federal government has continued to provide the highest share of this funding, providing more than 53% in FY16 and FY17. Of this amount, 25 percent, or roughly $19 billion, was spent on higher education R&D. Two-thirds of R&D growth expenditures came from increases in biological and biomedical sciences, with these life sciences receiving a $664 million increase, and health sciences receiving a $1.6 million increase.

To view the White House’s 5 Year Strategic Plan, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/STEM-Education-Strategic-Plan-2018.pdf

To view the NSF report, click here: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2019/nsf19302/nsf19302.pdf