ASEE Achieves Key Priorities in Science and Technology Legislation

Miriam Quintal and Amanda Bruno
September 20, 2022
On August 9, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS+), a long-awaited competitiveness and innovation package that is one of the most comprehensive in decades. The bill passed with bipartisan support, receiving votes in favor from almost all Democrats, 15 Republican Senators, and 24 Republican House Members. CHIPS+ includes many policy provisions that ASEE championed and helped shape.

The legislation authorizes approximately $102 billion to advance major research and workforce initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); creates a new bioeconomy research and development national initiative; and establishes Regional Technology Hubs at the Department of Commerce (DOC). In addition, the bill appropriates $54 billion in funding for semiconductor research and development, manufacturing, tax incentives, and workforce development as well as advanced wireless innovation infrastructure and development. The authorized provisions did not come with appropriations, and thus funding will need to come through regular appropriations or other special funding vehicles. 
CHIPS+ authorizes $81 billion for NSF over five years, growing annual authorized funding to $19 billion in fiscal year 2027. As ASEE advocated, the House and Senate struck a balance between their visions of how much funding should be authorized for the recently established Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) versus the rest of NSF and the topics the new Directorate should concentrate on. TIP will focus both on 10 key technology areas of national security relevance as proposed by the Senate and national, societal, and geostrategic challenges that were proposed by the House.
ASEE’s advocacy influenced authorization of several new programs, such as one to boost recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented minority faculty modeled on the NSF ADVANCE program; capacity-building programs for minority-serving institutions; grants to study workforce pathways and needs at four-year institutions; new centers to scale STEM education innovations in formal and informal learning settings; grants to study rural STEM education challenges; and a new National Science Corps for master teachers.
The legislation also includes strong support for NSF graduate fellowships and traineeships; new requirements for graduate mentoring plans in all proposals; expansion of the Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program; the codification of the newly-named Eddie Bernice Johnson NSF INCLUDES Initiative that supports large-scale partnerships to broaden participation in STEM; and provisions to support caregivers and combat sexual harassment in STEM.
The bill also includes new requirements to increase research accessibility, accountability, and security, such as new gift reporting requirements for institutions; authorization of a new National Secure Data Service; new agency requirements on NSF and DOE to maintain tools and processes for managing research security threats; and a requirement for NSF to work with an independent organization to identify key technology areas that may lead to the development of controlled unclassified or classified information.
ASEE was active in advocacy on this legislation over the past two and a half years, including engagements with numerous congressional member offices through Hill Days during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 Engineering Deans Public Policy Colloquiums and early meetings of engineering deans with key committee staff as far back as the initial drafting of the component legislation in 2020. The Society endorsed several individual bills that ultimately made it into the legislation and shared conference priorities with House and Senate leadership as well as all 26 Senate and 81 House conferees multiple times throughout the conferencing process. ASEE additionally led a multi-organization letter in support of immigration provisions that would have made it easier for international students to achieve green card status after receiving an advanced degree from a US institution. While the letter rallied community support, with 33 other professional societies and institutions signing on, ultimately the effort to include the provision in final legislation was unsuccessful. ASEE continues to seek other avenues to expand green card access for advanced degree holders.
Going forward, ASEE will champion funding for the authorized provisions in the CHIPS and Science Act and work to ensure that these initiatives are established over the next several years. 

Miriam Quintal and Amanda Bruno are ASEE’s Washington representatives at government relations firm Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC. Lewis-Burke’s full analysis of the legislation can be found at