On October 22, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather held a hearing titled “Research and Innovation: Ensuring America’s Economic and Strategic Leadership” to discuss the significance that research and innovation have in ensuring U.S. leadership in the global economy. The witnesses were Dr. Rebecca Blank, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Executive Vice President of Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise; Dr. David Shaw, Provost and Executive Vice President of Mississippi State University; and Dr. Diane Souvaine, Chair of the National Science Board.
Subcommittee Chair Cory Gardner (R-CO) stressed the need for bipartisan support to reaffirm the commitment to fund the research economy and keep the United States competitive. Ranking Member Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) argued that the federal government plays a critical role in the research ecosystem and that sustained investment in research has paid enormous dividends, so the United States must continue to make these investments. She stressed the need for increased National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, to produce a larger science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce, to do more to translate research findings into commercial success, and to strengthen research investments.
The hearing largely emphasized the importance of research in the economy of the United States and the lives of its people. Many of the witnesses emphasized transdisciplinary research, involving all the fields of science. Members asked questions about expanding access to science and research resources geographically, to minorities and women, and to younger scientists, as well as about the possible economic benefits of scientific expansion and what types of research investment is needed.
A recording of the hearing is available on the Commerce Committee website.
This article was contributed by COSSA’s fall intern, Kira Nash, of Boston University.