America's Best Ally:
Science & Technology.
In order to fuel a true American restoration, we must wholeheartedly embrace science and technology research, development and education. How? With a significant funding commitment, cabinet-level leadership and greater federal coordination, the U.S. S&T infrastructure will tackle the greatest challenges of our time: from food, water and energy security to lessening the threat of future pandemics to curbing climate disruption.Endorse the Action Plan
Our nation’s future is in question. Science and technology must guide the way forward.
Our economy, national security and quality of life hang on answering these challenges.
- Combating climate change and disruption
- Confronting COVID-19 and other public health issues
- Addressing food and water security
- Securing sufficient energy production, utilization and storage
We are witnessing a period of unprecedented climate disruption and extreme weather events. 2020 was the worst fire year on record for the West Coast, with more than 10.3 million acres set ablaze, two dozen deaths, and unprecedented levels of air pollution, which evidence suggests will lead to excess morbidity and early mortality for those exposed. Simultaneously, the southern U.S. experienced one of the most intense hurricane seasons on record. Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in Louisiana in August, was the strongest hurricane since 1856.
As the biggest health crisis in more than a century, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of strengthening and reinvesting in our public health infrastructure. Decades of investment in basic biomedical research and rapid private sector innovation paved the way for speedy development of the coronavirus vaccines — the moon landing of our time. But the U.S. is still not prepared for the next widespread health emergency. From the next pandemic to the opioid epidemic, from a growing mental health crisis to chronic diseases that affect millions of Americans like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and rare diseases, our greatest health challenges will not and cannot be met without elevated, sustained funding and a national strategy.
In the last two decades, more than 50% of the continental U.S. has already experienced drought conditions. Furthermore, nearly half of U.S. freshwater basins may not be able to meet monthly water demand by 2071. This will especially impact American agriculture as it accounts for three-quarters of the annual consumption from these basins, resulting in difficult decisions on resource allocation of our most vital forms of sustenance. The U.S. must ensure that it can continue to produce enough food and provide water to meet the needs of its population.
The U.S. has fallen to 12th in energy RD&D investment and is losing ground in areas such as clean energy innovation and nuclear power generation to countries like China. This is despite a history of successful returns on this kind of investment: A recent Department of Energy report found that every federal dollar invested in energy R&D from 1975 to 2015 yielded $32 in net economic benefits. Prioritizing investment in our energy infrastructure will have a broader global impact, such as cutting CO2 emissions, and on an individual-household level, including lowering energy bills.
We can solve these crises, but only if we dramatically expand public investment in science and technology.
We Must Act Now
These three actions will move us toward a new era of innovation, prosperity and safety:
At least double federal expenditure for R&D and STEM education relative to GDP over the next five years.
Endow the OSTP Director, now a cabinet-level position, with the resources and budgetary authority needed to address society’s most pressing issues.
Reinvent and reinvigorate cross-agency collaboration across the 20+ federal departments and agencies conducting R&D to harness the full power of our public science and technology enterprise.
WE MUST ALL STAND UNITED BEHIND SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
Academia, industry and the S&T community have endorsed our Action Plan. But Washington needs to hear from every corner of the U.S. that the existential challenges we face today can only be overcome by prioritizing science and technology at the federal level.
ABOUT THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ACTION COMMITTEE
We're a group of 22 non-profit, academic, foundation, and corporate leaders working to dramatically strengthen U.S. science and technology.
The Committee is co-chaired by:
Keep up to date with our progress as we work to unleash American scientific and technical ingenuity against our burgeoning threats.
President Biden proposed a much-needed booster shot for American science and technology in his 2022 budget. But to fuel a true American restoration, we must wholeheartedly embrace science and technology research and development, coordination, and education. Additionally, the nation’s competitiveness with rising international science and tech powers requires a bold plan for sustained growth in investment over the long term. The Biden administration should set a target of at least doubling science and technology investment of GDP by 2026.
In November 2020, STAC released the Science & Technology Action Plan (STAP), with recommendations centered on three overarching themes – Leadership, Coordination, and Investment – and focused on confronting threats within four broad categories: Public Health and Healthcare, Environment and Climate Change, Food and Water Security, and Energy Production, Utilization, and Storage. In January of 2021, STAC launched the implementation of the Action Plan and is making great strides.
Sudip Parikh, co-chair of the Science and Technology Action Committee, released the following statement applauding the House’s passage of the National Science Foundation for the Future Act, H.R. 2225, on behalf of the Committee.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee markup of H.R. 2225, National Science Foundation for the Future Act, is another encouraging sign that Congress is focused on and committed to bolstering our nation’s science and technology capacity. A strategic investment in S&T and STEM education, the NSF for the Future Act, if funded, would boost our nation’s capacity to combat existing and emerging societal threats and strengthen our competitiveness in the global economic arena.