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AAAS Supports Reauthorization of America COMPETES Act
The America COMPETES Act supports the innovative research and excellence in science and mathematics education that are essential to keeping the United States “at the forefront of technological development and economic growth,” AAAS said in a letter urging the reauthorization of the act.
In the letter to U.S. Representative Bart Gordon (D-Tennessee), chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology and Representative Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the ranking member on the committee, AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner commended the U.S. Congress for its bipartisan work in passing the original America COMPETES Act in 2007.
While recognizing the fiscal challenges ahead for the country, Leshner said AAAS’s members “strongly believe that that investments made over the next five years in research will pay large dividends in our nation’s future.”
The act focuses on three primary areas to support the nation’s S&T enterprise: increasing research investment; strengthening educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school; and developing federal programs to study barriers to innovation. The 2007 law provided new authorized spending levels for a host of research and education programs at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Reauthorization of the act could spur the development of multidisciplinary partnerships in science and engineering, said Leshner, who is also the executive publisher of the journal Science. The act will also help build a better-educated domestic workforce, he said, while creating new career opportunities for minority students, scientists, and engineers.
The reauthorization bill was introduced on 22 April and was passed by the House Committee on Science and Technology on 28 April with the goal of bringing the bill to the full House for a vote in May.
AAAS, the nation's largest general scientific organization, represents the interests of 10 million scientists worldwide.
6 May 2010