The "Chips + Science Act" passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support in late July. President Biden is scheduled to sign it August 9. While the support for the US semiconductor industry has attracted most of the headlines, there are also components having to do with research funding agencies, STEM education, and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics that may be of interest to ASA members. ASA Science Policy Fellow Ed Wu and I briefly overview these three components here, in some cases drawing on summaries by others.
Research Funding Agencies
For NASA, the National Science Foundation, the DOE Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology generally, AAAS CEO Sudip S. Parikh highlighted four "key ways that the CHIPS and Science Act would bolster the scientific community:
For more information, see this summary from Science magazine: https://www.science.org/content/article/what-big-new-u-s-law-reshapes-science-agencies-could-mean-researchers. AAAS also published a summary: https://www.aaas.org/programs/office-government-relations/breaking-down-chips-and-science-act?et_rid=341922779&et_cid=4341098. STEM Education (as summarized by Ed Wu)
- Robust reauthorizations of the National Science Foundation
- Movement towards cementing a National Science & Technology Strategy
- Support for the creation of regional technology hubs
- Fortification of R&D in the Departments of Commerce and Energy; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and National Institute of Standards and Technology"
Title III (National Science Foundation for the Future) authorizes $81 billion for the NSF over 5 years, of which $1.95 billion is authorized to be appropriated for STEM education. Subtitle B (STEM Education) has sections relating to PreK-12 STEM education, undergraduate STEM education, and graduate STEM education. This includes supporting research and development to improve informal STEM education at the PreK-12 level; supporting research and development to encourage greater collaboration between institutions of higher learning and industry; supporting improved STEM education at community colleges; supporting improved access to STEM education at career and technical education institutions; supporting mentoring and professional development for graduate students; and updating the Graduate Research Fellowship Program to increase the number of fellows supported annually.
The CHIPS and Science Act also supports education and workforce development in specific fields, such as education funding to promote growth of the semiconductor workforce; awards supporting the development and expansion of microelectronics education; support for education and training for students in engineering biology, biomanufacturing, bioprocess engineering, and computational science applied to engineering biology; support for integrating sustainable chemistry principles into school curricula; and various education and workforce development provisions in the field of quantum information science.
The legislation has various equity related provisions as well. This includes support to increase rural participation in STEM and to improve rural STEM education; expanding the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s educational outreach to underrepresented communities; and grant support to establish or expand cybersecurity programs for institutions of higher education that have an enrollment of needy students, historically Black colleges and universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and minority serving institutions. It also modifies the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (which provides support to recruit and prepare STEM majors/professionals to become K-12 teachers) to expand outreach to institutions including historically Black colleges and universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, minority serving universities, institutions of higher education that are located near or serve rural communities, and higher education programs that serve or support veterans.
The STEM Education Coalition also applauds passage of the bill:
"Our Coalition applauds the Senate's passage of landmark bipartisan legislation that will bolster U.S. competitiveness through new investments in science and technology on an unprecedented scale. This bill will expand our national capacity to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education by significantly expanding the role of the National Science Foundation in supporting the STEM fields. Our future prosperity depends on our ability to lead the world in technology development, job creation in high demand technical fields, and our ability to train more Americans for the best, highest paying jobs in the global economy. We are delighted that so many members of both parties in the U.S. Senate have come together behind this goal and hope swift bipartisan action in the House will soon follow." http://www.stemedcoalition.org/2022/07/27/coalition-statement-on-senate-passage-of-competitiveness-bill/
The coalition highlight these sections of the bill in their initial summary:
Subtitle B-STEM Education
Sec. 10311. PreK–12 STEM education.
Sec. 10312. Undergraduate STEM education.
Sec. 10313. Graduate STEM education.
Sec. 10314. STEM workforce data.
Subtitle C-Broadening Participation
Sec. 10321. Presidential awards for excellence in mathematics and science.
Sec. 10322. Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program update.
Sec. 10326. Diversity in tech research.
They have since released their full summary: http://www.stemedcoalition.org/2022/08/08/stem-education-in-the-chips-science-and-competitiveness-bill/
Evidence-Based Policymaking and NCSES
To "inform the full implementation of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking recommendation for a governmentwide data linkage and access infrastructure for statistical activities conducted for statistical purposes," the bill directs NSF to "establish a National Secure Data Service demonstration project" that shall be (1) aligned with the principles, best practices, and priority actions recommended by the Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building, to the extent feasible; and (2) operated directly by or via a contract that is managed by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics."
In a statement reported by NextGov
, Corinna Turbes, Managing Director of the Data Coalition Initiative praised this component, “The Data Coalition Initiative is thrilled to see Congress support this type of innovation in our federal data system, and is looking forward to working with the National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics and other stakeholders to ensure that the full benefits of a National Secure Data Service are realized.”
The bill has several other provisions related to the NCSES:
- "To meet evolving needs for data on the state of the science and engineering workforce, the [NSF] Director shall assess ... the feasibility and benefits of incorporating new questions or topic modules to existing National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics surveys on--
(A) the skilled technical workforce;
(B) working conditions and work-life balance;
(C) harassment and discrimination;
(D) immigration and emigration; and
(E) any other topics at the discretion of the Director.
- "the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report to Congress that evaluates Foundation processes for ensuring the data and analysis produced by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics meets current and future needs";
- "the Director, acting through the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics … coordination with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other appropriate Federal statistical agencies, shall establish a cybersecurity workforce data initiative that--
(1) assesses the feasibility of providing nationally representative estimates and statistical information on the cybersecurity workforce;
(2) utilizes the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NIST Special Publication 800-181), or other frameworks, as appropriate, to enable a consistent measurement of the cybersecurity workforce;
(3) utilizes and complements existing data on employer requirements and unfilled positions in the cybersecurity workforce;
(4) consults key stakeholders and the broader community of practice in cybersecurity workforce development to determine data requirements needed to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce;
(5) evaluates existing Federal survey data for information pertinent to developing national estimates of the cybersecurity workforce;
(6) evaluates administrative data and other supplementary data sources, as available, to describe and measure the cybersecurity workforce; and
(7) collects statistical data, to the greatest extent practicable, on credential attainment and employment outcomes information for the cybersecurity workforce.