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Colleges Applaud Proposal to Expand National Science Foundation

May 28, 2020
 
 

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities praised the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Congress that would dramatically expand the National Science Foundation and pump $100 billion into the agency over five years to increase research in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and advanced manufacturing.

Under the Endless Frontiers Act, the NSF would be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation. The new agency would have two deputy directors -- one to oversee the NSF’s current operations and another to lead a new technology directorate to advance technology in 10 areas as the U.S. faces greater competition from China and other countries.

“America cannot afford to continue our decades-long underinvestment and expect to lead the world in advanced scientific and technological research,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. “To ensure our advantage, our bill treats scientific research as a national security priority and provides substantial new investments into funding critical research and development to build the industries of the future in regions across the country.”

The bill and an accompanying version in the House were co-sponsored by Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, and Republicans Senator Todd Young, from Indiana, and Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin.

Peter McPherson, APLU's president, said in a statement, “Federal investment in R&D has languished in recent decades. As a share of the economy, it’s a third of what it was at its peak. China and other countries, meanwhile, have vastly expanded their investments in research and development. The current pandemic has underscored the critical need to redouble public investment in research and development. We must ensure more of these innovations and advancements take place in the U.S. rather than elsewhere around the globe.”

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