AGU responds to Senate Committee’s American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

29 June 2016

Washington, D.C.—The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Christine McEntee. AGU represents more than 60,000 Earth and space scientists worldwide.

“AGU applauds the bipartisan sponsors, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), of The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act – S. 3084 for drafting a strong bill that recognizes science is an American issue, not a blue state or red state issue and that science, scientists, and the scientific process have a positive impact on our nation’s economic leadership, national security, and technological advancement. The bill provides for minor increases in scientific funding for 2017 and more promising support into 2018.

In addition to authorizing a predictable increase in funding, AGU appreciates that S. 3084 seeks to ensure that a pipeline of scientists will exist into the future by encouraging agencies to engage with citizen scientists and promoting STEM education programs that will aid students at any point in their educational career.

We’re pleased to see the bill’s sponsors recognize the value of scientific collaboration and the scientific process. For example, Sec. 202 includes language ensuring that government scientists are able to attend the conferences that allow them to share and collaborate on research that is essential to scientific advancement and international competiveness. Moreover, Sec. 101 demonstrates an important acknowledgement that the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) long-standing gold standard peer review and merit review processes belong in the hands of scientists, not politicians.

While we are concerned that the bill’s mere 0.62 percent increase authorized for FY17 will stifle scientific advancement, we support its four percent funding increase for FY18 that will allow NSF and other science agencies to continue to be successful in carrying out their mission. Ultimately, we want to see an NSF reauthorization bill that lays out a bold vision for future scientific advancement, including longer term funding and annual increases that will not erode when adjusted for inflation. Properly funded science is essential to ensure that America remains a competitive global leader through new developments and technology.”

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.


AGU Contact:

Caitlyn Camacho
+1 (202) 777 7423
[email protected]