The America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act will be introduced in the US Senate on Monday. The bill is a compilation of provisions and language from past innovation legislation like the National Competitiveness Investment Act, American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006, and Protecting Americas Competitive Edge Through Energy Act of 2006. We don’t yet have a draft of the actual bill language, but a summary of the bill states: the America COMPETES Act focuses on three primary areas of importance to maintaining and improving United States innovation in the 21st Century: (1) increasing research investment, (2) strengthening educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school, and (3) developing an innovation infrastructure.
Provisions in the bill include:
- Double funding for NSF and Department of Energy Office of Science by FY2011
- Direct federal agencies that fund S&T research to set a goal of 8% of their R&D budgets to fund high-risk frontier research
- Authorize NIST at $937 million by FY2011 and requiring NIST to use a minimum of 8% of its funding for high-risk, high-reward research
- Authorize competitive grants to States for elementary and secondary education alignment with the requirements of post-secondary education, the 21st century workforce, and the Armed Services
- Establish training and education programs at summer institutes hosted at the National Laboratories and increase support for the Teacher Institutes for the 21st Century program at NSF
- Expand the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at NSF
- Assist States in establishing or expanding statewide specialty schools in math and science that students from across the state would be eligible to attend and providing expert assistance in teaching from National Laboratories staff at those schools
- Increase the number of teachers prepared to teach AP/IB and pre-AP/IB math, science, and foreign language courses
- Develop and implement programs for bachelors degrees in math, science, engineering, and critical foreign languages with concurrent teaching credentials and part-time masters in education programs for math, science, and critical foreign language teachers to enhance both content knowledge and teaching skills
- Create partnerships between National Laboratories and local high-need high schools to establish centers of excellence in math and science education
- Expand NSF graduate research fellowship and traineeship programs, require NSF to work with institutions of higher education to facilitate the development of professional science masters degree programs, and expand NSFs science, mathematics, engineering and technology talent program
Once the bill is introduced and the actual language is available, we will be back with more details.
Update: We’ve been told that the bill will not go through a committee and will instead be placed directly on the Senate calendar so that the Leadership can act on it at any time.
Also, the Senators who are sponsoring the bill and putting it forward are: Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), John Ensign (R-NV), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bill Nelson (R-FL), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).