R&D trends and history

Science advocates are pressing Congress to approve the large budget increases recommended by the CHIPS and Science Act.

The latest iteration of the National Academies planetary science decadal survey is the first to undertake detailed examinations of astrobiology, the integration of science with crewed exploration, planetary defense, and the state of the planetary science profession.

A new report from the National Science Board finds that the U.S. has continued to lose its clear leadership position in global science and engineering. Accordingly, the board recommends the nation position itself as an international hub for scientific collaboration and take urgent action to strengthen the domestic STEM workforce.

As part of its broader push on innovation legislation, the Senate is proposing to dramatically expand EPSCoR, a program that channels research funds to states that have historically received a small share of science agency funding. Counterpart House legislation does not recommend expanding the program, setting it up as an important point of negotiation.

The Biden administration’s first annual list of R&D priorities includes an emphasis on bolstering pandemic preparedness and climate mitigation efforts, strengthening domestic manufacturing, and incorporating equity considerations across federal programs.

According to a new advisory panel report, the U.S. is losing ground to Europe and China in several key research areas supported by the Department of Energy's Basic Energy Sciences program. The report recommends several strategies for better retaining talent in the U.S. and maintaining world-leading facilities.

The White House’s latest annual R&D funding priorities memorandum includes a new emphasis on public health security and innovation, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritizes R&D to advance "Industries of the Future" for the third year in a row.

The U.S. is developing a national strategy for Earth system predictability research that will focus on ways to better understand the practical limits of predictions and increase their usefulness for decision-makers.

Philanthropic initiative Schmidt Futures is sponsoring a National Academies study that will explore the potential for artificial intelligence to control complex scientific workflows. Stu Feldman, the initiative’s chief scientist, says he hopes federal agencies will pay attention.

Parallel efforts to bolster Congress’ science and technology assessment capabilities are unfolding this year, with the Government Accountability Office building out its S&T assessment team and House Democrats proposing to revive the Office of Technology Assessment.