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America COMPETES Up for Reauthorization

Mark Marich

Created in 2007 during the Bush Administration and reauthorized in 2010 by President Obama, the America COMPETES Act is up for another reauthorization as major provisions are set to expire in 2013. The original law authorized $33.6 billion in appropriations from 2008 - 2010 for programs and activities in physical sciences and engineering research as well as STEM education and more. The reauthorization in 2010 increased the amount to $45.6 billion.

The largest items slated for funding in 2013 are $5.9 billion to support research and related activities at the National Science Foundation and $4.9 billion for basic research at the Department of Energy. Other popular initiatives include the Regional Innovation Program (Department of Commerce), ARPA-E (Department of Education) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

What stays and what goes? That remains to be seen.

However, a new set of 25 recommendations from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation aims to provide a bit of guidance on where priorities lie. Included in those recommendations are:

  • Allowing foreign students receiving STEM PhDs from US universities to automatically qualify for green cards
  • Creation of a new university-industry collaborative R&D tax credit
  • Funding a pilot program supporting experimental approaches to technology transfer and commercialization
  • Increased funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • Funding for the Regional Innovation Program
  • Allocating a share of federal university R&D funding based on performance

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