In his first public speech as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Kelvin Droegemeier indicated his top priorities include improving coordination across the U.S. R&D enterprise, addressing harassment in science, relieving administrative burdens, and protecting research from misappropriation.
The National Science Foundation’s budget will increase 4 percent to $8.1 billion under the final spending legislation for fiscal year 2019. The measure provides funding for the agency’s proposed “Big Ideas” and facility construction projects, while also explicitly maintaining support for “core” research and existing infrastructure.
Final appropriations legislation enacted today provides steady or increased funding to research programs at science agencies that have been operating on stopgap spending from the outset of fiscal year 2019.
Several federal agencies are working to curb foreign nations, particularly China, from using talent recruitment programs and other methods to capitalize on the fruits of U.S.-financed R&D. In the latest major development, the Department of Energy announced last week that it will restrict its employees and future grantees from participating in recruitment programs operated by “sensitive” countries.
Over the past two years, Congress passed legislation updating and endorsing a wide range of federal R&D activities, including marquee bills focused on quantum information science, energy research, weather forecasting, and hazard preparedness.
Efforts by Congress and the Department of Energy to spur the development and commercialization of advanced nuclear reactors have gained steam in recent months, though some moves have received criticism.
The Democratic takeover of the House has brought new leadership to the appropriations subcommittees that write spending legislation for federal science programs, while the top members of the counterpart panels in the Senate are unchanged from the previous Congress.