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Tracking STEM Earmarks 2023

A tool to explore science-relevant earmarks requested by members of Congress.

Over the past year, House members requested over 4,000 earmarks requests in their own chamber. Among these, AAAS identified hundreds of projects relevant to the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enterprise, from K-12 STEM education to the establishment of new research institutions and technology parks. Use the map below to explore earmark requests by member, district, or project category, and see which ones were adopted into law via the omnibus. For a look into how the rest of the budget is shaping up for R&D, see also our FY 2023 dashboard.

Background: Earmarks are appropriations directed by legislators to a specific district, locality, or institution. Congress first banned them in 2011, but this year legislators brought them back for 2022, albeit renamed as "community funding projects" in the House and "Congressionally directed spending" in the Senate, and with rules to boost transparency (see these Congressional Research Service reports on the House [PDF] and Senate [PDF] rules for more).

The projects shown in the above map were submitted by members to their respective chamber's appropriations committee for consideration. Appropriators are reviewing these requests and determined which ones to include in the final FY 2023 spending bills (the "Subcommittee" filter above tells you which request is directed to each bill and subcommittee). See the House committee website and the Senate committee website for more information and links, as well as longer member-provided project descriptions.

Note there will be cases in which an earmark was accepted into the initial House or Senate spending bills, but excluded from the final omnibus. Also, several projects are requested by multiple legislators. The projects will thus be listed multiple times in the dashboard, but duplicates are removed when doing top level analysis. 

AAAS identified projects by reading the project descriptions for statements that indicated the CFP would generate research, research infrastructure, or STEM workforce training. We excluded projects without a clear and specific STEM focus, and used our best judgment for borderline cases, of which there were many. If you know of a STEM-relevant project request you think we missed, contact us.

Authors

Alessandra Zimmermann

Writer/Analyst

Gwendolyn Bogard

Government Relations Associate

Fiona Kniaz