On May 21, 2007, the House passed H.R. 2272, the Omnibus Innovation & Competitiveness bill, which contains several key elements of the House Democrats' Innovation Agenda.
The Innovation Agenda involves partnerships with the private sector to invest in a workforce ready for global competition. It will help: create a new generation of innovators; make a sustained commitment to federal research and development; spur and expand affordable access to broadband; achieve energy independence; and provide small business with tools to encourage entrepreneurial innovation. The agenda represents the culmination of two years of work with academic and business leaders to make our nation more able to compete successfully in the global economy.
This bill is made up of five bills that have been passed by the House over the last several weeks. They were combined into one bill to prepare to go to conference with the Senate, which passed an omnibus innovation and competitiveness bill (S. 761) on April 25.
H.R. 2272 combined the following five bills:
This legislation ensures that our teachers are equipped to adequately prepare the workforce of tomorrow in science, math, and technology. It invests in new teachers through professional development, summer training institutes, graduate education assistance, and scholarships. The Act:
- Establishes a teacher education program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to encourage math, science and engineering faculty to work with education faculty to improve the education of science and math teachers
- Provides scholarships to science, math and engineering students who commit to become science or math teachers at elementary and secondary schools
- Authorizes summer teacher training institutes at NSF and DOE to improve the content knowledge and skills of in-service science and math teachers, including preparing them to teach Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in science and math
- Requires that NSF include support for master's degree programs for in-service science and mathematics teachers within the NSF Math and Science Partnerships
- Authorizes funding for the NSF STEM Talent Expansion program and expands the program to include centers for improving undergraduate STEM education
This act encourages young scientists by providing grants in the early stages of their careers. The legislation:
- Supports outstanding researchers in the early stages of their careers through grants at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) of $80,000 per year for 5 years
- Establishes a presidential innovation award to stimulate scientific and engineering advances in the national interest
- Establishes a national coordination office to identify and prioritize research infrastructure needs at universities and national laboratories and to help guide the investments of new infrastructure funds authorized for NSF and DOE
- Authorizes NSF to support research on innovation; directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to report on efforts to recruit and retain early-career scientists and engineers
- Keep the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a 10-year doubling path
- Establish a pilot program of one-year seed grants for new investigators to help improve funding rates for young investigators and stimulate higher-risk research
- Encourage NSF to foster relationships between academia and industry in order to spawn U.S. competitiveness
- Further the agency's traditions of education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields by increasing funding for certain NSF education programs including programs authorized under H.R. 362, “10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds” Math and Science Scholarship Act”
The Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act (H.R. 1868) is the first full reauthorization of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology since 1991, authorizing $2.5 billion for fiscal year 2008-2010.
The Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act will:
- Increase funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a public-private partnership which leverages federal, state and private investments to implement and stimulate new manufacturing processes and technologies. Funding for MEP would be scheduled to double within 10 years
- Replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), which was eliminated from the President's fiscal year 2008 budget request, with the Technology Innovation Program (TIP), to better reflect global innovation competition by funding high-risk, high-reward, pre-competitive technology development, focusing on small and medium-sized companies
- Set the funding of research labs at NIST on a ten-year path to doubling
- Provide construction funding to complete much-needed lab upgrade
- The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology have made important contributions to our nation's research and competitiveness. Supporting both efforts is a step forward in fostering America's innovation, scientific research, and leadership in an increasingly competitive global economy.