Computing Research Policy Blog

The Computing Research Association (CRA) has been involved in shaping public policy of relevance to computing research for more than two decades. More recently the CRA Government Affairs program has enhanced its efforts to help the members of the computing research community contribute to the public debate knowledgeably and effectively.

Department of Energy FY 2021 Request: Office of Science is Hit Hard with Cuts; Computing Research Fairs Better


In our continuing series following the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget request, we now turn to the Department of Energy (DOE). There are similarities with the NSF budget request we detailed earlier, including large funding reductions.

The two key parts of DOE for the computing community are the Office of Science (SC), home of most of the agency’s basic research support, and ARPA-E, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

For SC, the President’s FY21 request of $5.84 billion is a cut of 17 percent, compared to the FY20 enacted level of $7 billion. While that is pretty horrible, the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, which is within the Office of Science, and where most of the computing research at the agency is located, would fair better. The program would be funded at $988 million, which is an increase of $8 million, or plus 1 percent, over last year. In comparison, the Fusion Energy Sciences and Biological and Environmental Research programs would be the hardest hit, and see cuts of 37 percent and 31 percent, respectively. ASCR’s modest increase is to support research in artificial intelligence and quantum information sciences, just like NSF’s funding, in addition to the long running Administration priority of achieving exascale (pages 47 and 48).

As for ARPA-E, it would once again be zeroed out, as it was in the President’s budget requests for the last two years. Despite that record of requests, Congress has maintained ARPA-E funding and provided an increase of 16 percent in FY20 (which happened after a 4 percent increase in FY19).

FY19 FY20 FY21 PBR $ Change % Change
DOE SC Total $6.59B $7.00B $5.84B -$1.16B -17%
ASCR $936M $980M $988M +$8M +1.0%
ARPA-E $366M $425M $0 -$425M -100%

In terms of Administration priorities, it’s again similar to NSF’s request with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences (QIS), and (unique to DOE) exascale. The Administration is still planning for the first exascale system to be deployed in 2021 at Argonne National Lab, and a second to come on line at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the, “2021-2022 timeline.” This has been an Administration priority since the Fiscal Year 2018 budget request (ie: the Administration’s first). There is also a mention of a third exascale system for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the national security part of the Department tasked with civilian oversight of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and infrastructure. This system will be located at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and is expected to be delivered by FY 2023.

Like at NSF, the Administration is steering new money into DOE’s existing programs in AI and QIS. According to the Administration, DOE’s AI investment will be $125 million for FY21, an increase of $54 million dollars over last year. Additionally, the Department’s spending on QIS will increase to $237 million in FY21, which is an increase of $70 million over FY20. Finally, the Budget includes $25 million for the Office of Science to support early stage research for a quantum internet.

As with NSF’s request, it is unlikely that Congress will take this proposed budget seriously; just looking at Congress’s history of ignoring the Administration’s recommended ARPA-E budgets show that. However, like with NSF’s request, this is a bad way to begin the budget process for the year. Please keep checking back for more updates and additional information.

NSF FY2021 Request: AI and Quantum Research Get Priority but it’s Paid for with Cuts to Other Research Fields


On Monday, the Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Budget Request. Despite administration signals and bipartisan calls for a budget request in line with the funding agreement made in July, the President decided to ignore that agreement and release a funding blueprint with deep reductions to domestic discretionary spending. The federal research portfolio, which is a part of domestic discretionary spending, didn’t escape cuts.

As we have done in years past, we’ll be writing a series of posts on the assorted agency budgets that are important to the computing research community. First up: the National Science Foundation.

Overall, NSF’s top-line doesn’t fare well in the President’s request. Under the Administration’s plan, the agency would see a 6.5 percent reduction compared to FY20, in overall funding. NSF would go from $8.28 billion in FY20 to $7.74 billion in FY21, a reduction of $540 million.

The majority of that reduction would come from Research and Related Activities (R&RA), the subaccount that contains the funding for research grants. R&RA would decline from $6.74 billion in FY20 to $6.21 billion in FY21, a cut of $530 million. Comparatively, Education and Human Resources (EHR), the subaccount that contains the agency’s education programs, would see a reduction of $9 million, going from $940 million in FY20 to $931 million under the President’s plan.

FY19 FY20 FY21 PBR $ Change % Change
NSF Total $8.08B $8.28B $7.74B -$540M -6.5%
R&RA $6.52B $6.74B $6.21B -$530M -7.9%
EHR $910M $940M $931M -$9M -1.0%

These reductions to NSF mask large new investments in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Information Sciences (QIS). According to the Administration, they are increasing AI R&D by more than 70 percent over FY20 and doubling the agency’s QIS investment. While good news for these specific sections of the computing research community, this is the literal definition of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” As CRA made clear in our statement on the Administration’s budget request, “failing to adequately fund a broad portfolio of research puts the nation at risk of missing key breakthroughs,” and, “it also threatens to constrain progress in the same critical fields the President has chosen to highlight.”

How likely is this request to being passed into law? Very unlikely. The budget process heads to Congress, where the President’s funding recommendations will likely will be largely ignored (especially by the Democratic controlled House of Representatives), as have the three previous budget requests the Administration has submitted. Still, it’s worrisome that even when this Administration prioritizes key research investments, it does so at the expense of all other fields. This is not a great place for the budget process to begin.

CRA Statement on the FY2021 Presidential Budget Request


CRA commends the Administration for recognizing the importance of Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Information Science to the Nation’s security and competitiveness, and for addressing that with significant new investments in the President’s Budget Request for FY2021. However, we take issue with the proposed cuts to a large number of other areas of science. 

Failing to adequately fund a broad portfolio of research puts the nation at risk of missing key breakthroughs and the leadership position to capitalize on them. It also threatens to constrain progress in the same critical fields the President has chosen to highlight. For example, the social sciences will be crucial to developing appropriate ethical guidance for the development of AI systems, economic scientists will help us understand the impact of AI and quantum computing on our workforce, and breakthroughs in materials science will be required for advanced manufacturing and quantum science progress. 

A broad Federal research investment portfolio also builds the science and technical workforce that is vital to support design, building, operation, and extending technologies fundamental to industry and defense. Cutting research funds will have a long-term, negative effect on the growth and training of that crucial community. Additionally, our technical workforce has consistently benefitted from adding personnel who are well-educated in the liberal and fine arts. Their perspective in human-centric design, aesthetics, cultural norms, psychology, history, and other aspects outside the STEM disciplines has resulted in a more robust and global set of solutions within the STEM space. Furthermore, those individuals bring new problem-solving insights and paradigms to bear on technological problems, giving us a distinct, innovative advantage over countries that consistently devalue non-STEM disciplines. 

The United States has maintained its scientific, economic and military leadership in part because of its broad support for research across disciplines; recognizing that the interplay among scientific fields has provided extraordinary benefits; and understanding that perfect knowledge of where the next great breakthrough will arise is impossible. While we agree that areas such as AI and Quantum Science are ripe for priority, any additional investment should not come at the cost of progress in all other fields. 

President’s Budget Proposes Big Cuts to R&D, but Big Boost to AI/Quantum


President Trump yesterday released his budget request for FY2021, calling for sharp cuts to non-defense discretionary spending, including a 9 percent overall cut to non-defense basic research. At the same time, the President announced significant new investments in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Information Science research, providing increases to those research accounts that would double them by FY2022.

However, the Administration’s deep cuts to research at the National Science Foundation (-6 percent vs. FY20), DOE Office of Science (-17 percent vs. FY20), NIST (-19 percent), and science programs at NASA (-11 percent) take much of the luster away from the President’s AI/Quantum announcements. And that’s disappointing, because elements of the White House plan to boost the “Industries of the Future” are laudable and well-aligned with the AI research community’s efforts to establish a roadmap for AI research that would keep the U.S. in a leadership role in AI technologies for the foreseeable future.

The President’s AI/Quantum initiative would double research spending in those areas at the National Science Foundation, NIST and DOE’s Office of Science by FY2022 and bring the overall Federal investment in Artificial Intelligence research to $2 billion a year. NSF would see its research funding for AI grow from $487 million across the Foundation in FY19 to $830 million in FY21, a 70 percent increase. DOE’s investment would increase $54 million to $125 million. DARPA and NIH would also see plus ups. The plan would also include investments in education and job training, including $50 million for AI workforce development with a focus on community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority Serving Institutions.

So while CRA commends the President for the focus on AI and Quantum and hopes to see Congress enact much of what he’s proposed, the totality of the President’s request for research funding is not supportable. CRA issued a statement on the President’s budget today that makes this case:

CRA STATEMENT ON THE

FY2021 PRESIDENTIAL BUDGET REQUEST

CRA commends the Administration for recognizing the importance of Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Information Science to the Nation’s security and competitiveness, and for addressing that with significant new investments in the President’s Budget Request for FY2021. However, we take issue with the proposed cuts to a large number of other areas of science.

Failing to adequately fund a broad portfolio of research puts the nation at risk of missing key breakthroughs and the leadership position to capitalize on them. It also threatens to constrain progress in the same critical fields the President has chosen to highlight. For example, the social sciences will be crucial to developing appropriate ethical guidance for the development of AI systems, economic scientists will help us understand the impact of AI and quantum computing on our workforce, and breakthroughs in materials science will be required for advanced manufacturing and quantum science progress.

A broad Federal research investment portfolio also builds the science and technical workforce that is vital to support design, building, operation, and extending technologies fundamental to industry and defense. Cutting research funds will have a long-term, negative effect on the growth and training of that crucial community. Additionally, our technical workforce has consistently benefitted from adding personnel who are well-educated in the liberal and fine arts. Their perspective in human-centric design, aesthetics, cultural norms, psychology, history, and other aspects outside the STEM disciplines has resulted in a more robust and global set of solutions within the STEM space. Furthermore, those individuals bring new problem-solving insights and paradigms to bear on technological problems, giving us a distinct, innovative advantage over countries that consistently devalue non-STEM disciplines.

The United States has maintained its scientific, economic and military leadership in part because of its broad support for research across disciplines; recognizing that the interplay among scientific fields has provided extraordinary benefits; and understanding that perfect knowledge of where the next great breakthrough will arise is impossible. While we agree that areas such as AI and Quantum Science are ripe for priority, any additional investment should not come at the cost of progress in all other fields.

We’ll have much more detail on the President’s Budget Request in our agency-by-agency breakdowns over the next couple of weeks. The “good” news for overall science investments is that Congress has essentially ignored the President’s funding requests — particularly the funding cuts — over the last three years. Nevertheless, the President’s budget does provide a blueprint for Members of Congress to follow if they want to demonstrate their support for these critical technologies but also want to slash Federal spending on research, so we will continue to follow developments and continue advocating for broad, sustained investments in fundamental research across disciplines.

President Intends to Nominate Computing Researcher Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan as Next Director of National Science Foundation


Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan

On an otherwise uneventful day, President Donald Trump yesterday announced his intention to nominate Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan as the next Director of the National Science Foundation, succeeding Dr. France Córdova, whose six-year term ends next year. Panchanathan is a computing researcher and the Executive Vice President of Arizona State University’s Knowledge Enterprise, Chief Research and Innovation officer, Director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC), and Foundation Chair in Computing and Informatics. Panchanathan is also a member of the National Science Board, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, AAAS, Canadian Academy of Engineering, IEEE, and the Society of Optical Engineering.

“Panch” is well-known and well-respected in the computing research community. If confirmed by the Senate, Panchanathan would join Erich Bloch as the only Directors in the Foundation’s history from the the computing community. Panchanathan will join Princeton’s Margaret Martonosi, recently announced as the new head of NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate effective February 1, 2020, leaving the computing research community well-represented in an agency so important to the field — NSF supports approximately 85 percent of all fundamental computing research performed at U.S. universities, nearly $1.4 billion annually.

The current NSF Director and head of the National Science Board both released statements after the President’s announcement:

Dr. Córdova issued the following statement:

“For five years, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan has been a bold, energizing presence on the National Science Board and he was a leader in every sense of the word in the research community prior to that. I was delighted to learn that the White House named him as nominee to serve as the next director of the National Science Foundation. This position requires the ability to connect with all stakeholders in the U.S. science and engineering community, walking the fine line between serving and leading. Panch has the character and knowledge that make him an ideal fit for the job. As my own term draws to a close, I am heartened at the idea of Panch as my successor.”

National Science Board Chair Dr. Diane L. Souvaine issued the following statement:

I’m delighted by the President’s nomination for NSF Director. It’s been a privilege to have worked with Dr. Panchanathan for the past five years, and I know he is drawn to public service for the right reasons — a passion for our country and how our discoveries and innovations can make the world a better place. His leadership at Arizona State University has been key to their growth and emergence as an innovator in higher education, especially in terms of partnerships and entrepreneurship. He is the best kind of disruptor, one who understands that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. In working together with the National Science Board, I have been impressed with his care for and understanding of the National Science Foundation’s unique mission. I saw the same qualities in our current Director, Dr. France Córdova, and they have underpinned her exceptional leadership.”

Read the official White House announcement. And the release from NSF.

Final FY20 Appropriations: Mostly Increases for Research but There is Some Bad News


Just in time for the calendar year 2020, and almost three months after the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) began, Congress is finally finishing up its work on the Federal budget with two Minibuses of all the appropriations legislation. For the research community, it’s mostly good news but there are a few clouds in the sky: the National Science Foundation will see very modest increases under the bill, and the defense research accounts are essentially flat-funded.

But first the good news: the big winners in this year’s budget are the Department of Energy Office of Science (6.2 percent increase over FY19), the National Institutes of Health (+6.7 percent), and DOE’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E (+16 percent). Additionally, the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, which is within the DOE’s Office of Science, and where most of the computing research at the agency is located, would see a healthy 4.7 percent increase. Rounding out the good news, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would see an increase of 4.5 percent to their top line, while the institutes’ Science and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account, where the majority of the agency’s research is housed, would see an increase of 4.0 percent; and NASA would see an increase of 5.3 percent, while NASA Science would receive an increase of 3.3 percent. More specific numbers are below ($ and % changes are FY20 Final against FY19; PBR stands for “President’s Budget Request.”).

FY19 FY20 PBR FY20 House FY20 Senate FY20 Final $ Change % Change
DOE SC Total $6.59B $5.50B $6.87B $7.22B $7.00B +$410M +6.2%
ASCR $936M $921M $957M $1.03B $980M +$44M +$4.7%
ARPA-E $366M 0 $425M $428M $425M +$59M +16%
NIH $39.1B $34.4B $41.1B $42.1B $41.7B +$2.6B +6.7%
NIST Total $986M $687M $1.04B $1.04B $1.03B +$44M +4.5%
STRS $725M $612M $751M $754M $754M +$29M +4.0%
NASA Total $21.50B $21.02B $22.32B $22.75B $22.63B +$1.13B +5.3%
Science $6.91B $6.30B $7.16B $6.91B $7.14B +$230M +3.3%

Considering how terrible the President’s Budget Request was at the start of this process, all these accounts made out very well.

But, regular readers will notice that we haven’t mentioned the NSF’s numbers. That’s because, while the agency will get an increase, the numbers are below both the House and Senate numbers that came out during the year. The likely reason is that there were a large number of demands in the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, with the 2020 Census probably taking up the majority of any increases in the bill. NSF’s top line will only increase by 2.5 percent, while the Research and Related Activities (RRA) and Education and Human Resource (EHR) both received larger increases (+3.4 percent and +3.3 percent, respectively).

FY19 FY20 PBR FY20 House FY20 Senate FY20 Final $ Change % Change
NSF Total $8.08B $7.10B $8.64B $8.32B $8.28B +$200M +2.5%
R&RA $6.52B $5.66B $7.10B $6.77B $6.74B +220M +3.4%
EHR $910M $824M $950M $937M $940M +$30M +3.3%

Finally, the appropriations deal contains essentially flat funding for most defense research accounts. As a reminder, the Department of Defense’s Science and Technology (DOD S&T) program is made up of three accounts: 6.1 (basic research), 6.2 (applied research), and 6.3 (advanced technology development). These accounts are themselves made up of individual accounts for each of the three services (Army, Navy, and Air Force), as well as a Defense Wide account. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a section under the Defense Wide account. Unfortunately, the only account to receive any type of meaningful increase was the 6.1 account (+2.8 percent). The other three received 0 percent, 0.5 percent, and 0.9 percent respectively. In short, not good numbers for DOD research.

FY19 FY20 PBR FY20 House FY20 Senate FY20 Final $ Change % Change
DOD 6.1 $2.53B $2.32B $2.51B $2.63B $2.60B +$70M +2.8%
DOD 6.2 $6.07B $5.32B $5.56B $5.98B $6.07B 0 0
DOD 6.3 $7.36B $6.42B $6.78B $7.10B $7.40B +$40M +0.5%
DARPA $3.43B $3.56B $3.53B $3.36B $3.46B +$30M +0.9%

Where is this in the legislative process? The House passed both spending bills on Tuesday; the Senate is expected to pass them before the Friday December 20th deadline, and then send them to the President’s desk for signing into law. Assuming he does sign them, Fiscal Year 2020 will be in the books and we can look forward to the Fiscal Year 2021 process…which starts, with the President’s Budget Request, at the beginning of February.

Budget Update: Got a Little Good News but More Bad News


When we last discussed the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations, we were hopeful that the process was finally starting to move toward completion. A week later, we have some good news but we also have more bad news.

First, the good news: the Senate passed their minibus bundle of appropriations legislation, which includes the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill. This is the legislation that contains funding for the National Science Foundation, NIST, and NASA (House and Senate numbers). It means that Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate can start work on a compromise bill, which can then be considered by both chambers and passed into law.

Now, the bad news. First, Senate Democrats have blocked consideration of the Defense appropriation bill, citing no agreement on the spending allocations for all of the appropriations bill (called 302(b) allocations), as well as policy differences over funding the President’s proposed border wall. This would impact research at the Defense Department. Also, the likely impeachment of President Trump, and resulting Senate trial, are expected to consume all of Congress’ time for the next several months. With the current continuing resolution set to expire on November 21, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) is quoted as saying that without a “miracle” another stop-gap bill would be necessary. The likely time frame for that is to push completion of FY20 into February or March of 2020.

Please keep checking back for more updates.

Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations May, Sort of, be Moving…Maybe…


Regular readers of the Policy Blog will recall that we have been keeping track of the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process. The same readers will also remember that the bottleneck for completing the work on next year’s Federal budget has been the Senate. This isn’t unusual, the Senate’s tradition of seeking compromise and agreement, between the majority and minority, means that the gears move much slower (in comparison, the House works as a relatively fast “majority rules” chamber).

But there is some good news on the horizon that signals movement on the stalled legislation. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has packaged four appropriations bills into a single piece of legislation and the Senate has taken the first procedural steps to consider the bill. To translate that for the layperson, the Senate is now considering whether to pass or reject this package of bills. If the chamber does pass it, that means the House and Senate can begin negotiating a final compromised bill, which can pass both chambers, and head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senate package being considered contains the agriculture; interior; transportation and housing and urban development; and commerce, justice and science (CJS) bills. Of most importance to the computing community is the CJS bill, which contains funding for the National Science Foundation, NIST, and NASA (House and Senate numbers). All of these bills are viewed as noncontroversial. Should the legislation move, indications are that a packaged bill of defense, and labor and health and human service (Labor-HHS) would be next on the Senate’s fast track; that would also be good news, considering research funding for the Defense Department (DOD) and NIH could then be finalized.

Now to put hopes into perspective: there are still many potential stumbling blocks. There is still no agreement, between the House and Senate, on the allocations for each appropriations bill (called 302(b) allocations). As well, there are major policy disagreements between the two chambers on defense funding, specifically about allowing DOD funds to be used for construction of the President’s proposed border wall. And the Administration can only be described as a wildcard; their proposed budget, containing significant cuts, has been rejected by Congress again. Will that have an impact on signing funding legislation into law? While there’s potential progress, there’s still a lot of work to do before FY20 is done; keep checking back for updates.

Appropriations Update: Senate NSF Numbers are Out but the Endgame for FY20 is very, very complicated…


In our continuing series looking at Congressional actions on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, we finally have a look at where the Senate Appropriations Committee stands on funding for some key sciences agencies, with the National Science Foundation being the most important. The basic synopsis is the Senate supplies positive numbers in their blueprint but they are not as generous as what the House of Representatives provided in May. Let’s get into the details.

On September 24th, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee released the text of their bill. The CJS bill is the appropriations legislation that covers NSF, NIST, and NASA. In that bill, the subcommittee provides NSF with $8.32 billion for FY20, which is an increase of $240 million over FY19 ($8.08 billion) or an increase of 3 percent. Within that number, Research and Related Activities (RRA), the sub-account that contains the majority of the research funding at the agency, would receive a plus up of 3.8 percent, or $250 million over FY19, and would be at $6.77 billion for FY20. Additionally, Education and Human Resources (EHR), would receive $937 million, an increase of $27 million over FY19 ($910 million) or a 3 percent increase. While all good numbers, they are all below what the House of Representatives provided for the agency in their bill.

FY18 FY19 FY20 Senate $ Change % Change
NSF Total $7.77B $8.08B $8.32B +$240M +3.0%
R&RA $6.30B $6.52B $6.77B +$250M +3.8%
EHR $902M $910M $937M +$27M +3.0%

The other science agencies in the Senate CJS bill are NASA and NIST. While the top line number for NASA would see a very healthy increase of 5.8 percent, going from $21.50 billion in FY19 to $22.75 billion for FY20, NASA Science would see none of it; the science account would be funded at the same level as FY19 ($6.91 billion). NIST would fair a bit better, with the top line number being $1.04 billion for FY20, which is an increase of 5.5 percent over FY19 ($986 million). Within the NIST account, the Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account, where the majority of the research funding at the agency resides, would see an increase of $29 million, or a 4 percent bump up, going from $725 million in FY19 to $754 million in FY20.

FY18 FY19 FY20 Senate $ Change % Change
NIST Total $1.20B $986M $1.04B +$54M +5.5%
STRS $725M $725M $754M +$29M +4.0%
NASA Total $20.74B $21.50B $22.75B +$1.30B +5.8%
Science $6.22B $6.91B $6.91B 0 0

So, what happens now? The full Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the majority of their individual bills, moving the process on to the full chamber for consideration. Unfortunately, that’s where the process has stopped; none of the appropriation bills, including CJS, have received consideration by the full Senate. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has publicly said he wants to move on these bills soon, possibly as early as next week, but nothing is certain. The only item that has moved is a continuing resolution that was passed to move the deadline for completing work on the FY20 budget to the week before Thanksgiving. Since that was passed, the political focus in Washington has been dominated by the impeachment investigation of the President, and it’s unlikely that there will be any movement on appropriations until at least the beginning of November. And even then, it’s likely that the deadline for finishing the budget will be pushed back further. It’s wait and see territory for the foreseeable future; please check back for more updates.

House Passes CRA-Endorsed Bill to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Sciences


[Editor’s Note: This post was written by CRA’s Tisdale Policy Fellow for Summer 2019, Jesse Anderson.]

On July 23rd, the House passed by voice-vote H.R.36, The Combating Sexual Harassment In Science Act of 2019, which aims to advance efforts to decrease the prevalence of sexual and gender harassment in the STEM research fields. Regular readers will recall that the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee recently held a hearing about sexual harassment in the STEM fields and what federal research agencies can do to reduce its negative impact. H.R. 36 was mentioned during that hearing by both the chair and ranking members of the committee, Chairwoman Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Lucas (R-OK), the original sponsors of the bill. Upon its introduction in January, CRA publicly endorsed the bill.

The bill will now head to the Senate, which does not currently have a companion bill, and it’s unclear whether it will progress further in the legislative process. But, the passage of this bill in the House should be viewed positively, as it means that Congress will take note and continue to monitor. Hopefully, this Congressional action will encourage action from Federal research agencies that have yet to develop their own sexual harassment policies.

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