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House Passes Science, Research Bill

On May 21, the House approved, 217-205, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1806). The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved the legislation on May 8.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), would reauthorize roughly $16.4 billion in FY2016 and FY2017 for federal research and science programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Energy Office of Science, and Department of Energy’s applied energy research and development programs.

The measure includes provisions that address the extent to which federal STEM programs and activities contribute to the recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM education and the workforce, track the rates of participation by women and underrepresented minorities in such programs, and seek to increase women’s and minorities’ participation and advancement at every level of STEM education.

During the consideration of the bill, the House adopted an amendment by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) that instructs NSF’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) to support and invest in female entrepreneurs. I-Corps encourages entrepreneurship that leads to the “commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research.”

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