Research!America applauds the strong role for science and technology (S&T) in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The Plan, which includes increased funding for NSF and other S&T agencies, reflects the bipartisan consensus that our nation’s federal S&T investment is simply not where it should be to address today’s existential threats and the global competitiveness challenges we face as a nation.
As the ongoing battle against COVID-19 so clearly demonstrates, pandemic prevention and preparedness is one of the imperatives driving the need for greater S&T strength. The president’s plan will invest $30 billion in the national stockpile and S&T-related prevention and rapid response capabilities, coupled with heightened attention to public health infrastructure and readiness, and would place the US in a far stronger position to preempt and minimize future infectious disease threats.
We note, however, that a critical imperative must be met in order to achieve the level of S&T strength and progress envisioned under the American Jobs Plan: our nation needs to shore up the research capacity weakened by COVID-19, and empower the progress the pandemic placed on hold. As it stands, our research infrastructure is compromised by a fractured career pipeline for young scientists and research gaps that are setting progress back. As proposed in the bipartisan RISE Act, at least $25 billion should be re-invested in S&T grants that have been sidelined or reprogrammed. Addressing this funding need is crucial to coming out of the gate prepared for a new era of R&D productivity.