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Update on Research Funding via Federal Agencies June 29, 2022

Strategic Intelligence
June 29, 2022

Research Development's Strategic Intelligence team monitors the federal budget and funding landscape and produces this memo on a bi-weekly basis to share information that may impact ASU research.

Science Policy Legislation

President Biden to Nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar to Lead Office of Science and Technology Policy  

On 6/21/22, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Dr. Arati Prabhakar to serve as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and once confirmed to this position, also as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. In this capacity, Dr. Prabhakar will be the President’s Chief Advisor for Science and Technology, a co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and a member of the President’s Cabinet. 

 Is Time Running Out for Compromise on America COMPETES/USICA Act?  

So far, efforts to reconcile the two pieces of legislation - the America COMPETES Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the U.S. Senate - have snagged and recent reports suggest a final push to reconcile narrower versions of the competing bills will occur before the July 4th break. It is a sprawling piece of legislation that mushroomed during the pandemic to encompass supply chain issues, science security, NSF priorities, and direct support for the U.S. semiconductor industry, to name just a few of its provisions.  

In House and Senate China Competition Bills, Dueling Theories of How Innovation Happens–and Some Agreement  

The Bipartisan Innovation Act that will emerge from the conference reflects a growing, bipartisan consensus that the USA needs to better tailor its research and development policy towards creating and commercializing new technologies. Yet competing theories about how innovation happens are evident in the two bills. On scientific research funding, the House approach is best evidenced in its $50.3b investment into the Department of Energy and the business-as-usual approach it takes to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the nation’s two quintessential basic research agencies, while the Senate approach is best evidenced in its explicit emphasis on 10 key technology areas, stronger funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the culture-shifts and mission-driven focus it tries to instill into the NSF.   

House Science Spending Bills Coming Together  

The House Appropriations Committee is wrapping up work this week on its versions of the 12 bills that will fund federal agencies for fiscal year 2023. The committee will advance bills covering NASA, NSF, and the DOE and DOC on Tuesday (6/28), and the bills for the U.S. Geological Survey and NIH on Wednesday (6/29) and Thursday (6/30), respectively. The committee’s proposed topline budgets generally align with President Biden’s request for large boosts to science agencies, with some exceptions. It would provide about half the requested increases for NSF and DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy but considerably more than the amounts requested for the DOE Office of Science, DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, and early-stage Department of Defense R&D programs. The bills also earmark funds for university research and facility upgrade projects proposed by individual members of Congress. 


U.S. universities fight Senate innovation bill targeting foreign gifts to faculty  

A provision in the Senate's U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) would require universities to collect information on “any gifts received from a foreign source [by] faculty, professional staff, and others engaged in research.” This would go into a “searchable database” the institution must create and maintain; institutions that violate the rules would be subject to fines of up to $50,000. The provision applies to any U.S. institution receiving more than $5 million a year in federal research funding. Higher education lobbyists, alarmed at the administrative burden and the chilling effect the provision might have on all international collaborations, are waging a last-minute fight to prevent that from happening. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The campaign to host ARPA-H has begun 

The House handily passed Rep. Anna Eshoo’s (D-Calif.) bill to establish ARPA-H as an independent health agency 336-85 on Tuesday night. The bill, H.R. 5585, would put ARPA-H under the Health and Human Services Department but place it outside of NIH, which lawmakers have said doesn’t have the right model for making agile research decisions and bringing products to market. The bill won bipartisan buy-in with language limiting the number of offices and capping administrative costs at 15 percent. 

Congress already allotted $1 billion to get the agency up and running in the 2022 fiscal year budget.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF selects Kellina Craig-Henderson to lead its Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate  

The U.S. National Science Foundation has selected Kellina Craig-Henderson to serve as Assistant Director of its Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. Craig-Henderson, who has been serving as Acting Assistant Director of SBE since January, was the Deputy Assistant Director of SBE under Dr. Arthur “Skip” Lupia, the previous Assistant Director of SBE whose term expired last year.  

NSF announces new opportunities for Hispanic-serving institutions to support research and capacity building through collaborations and partnerships  

NSF announced on 6/22/22 a new funding opportunity of nearly $29 million through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, also known as the HSI program. Through this new solicitation, NSF introduces the HSI Program Network Resource Centers and Hubs, or HSI-Net, which seeks to establish two centers and up to five hubs to develop the infrastructure needed to generate and disseminate new knowledge, successful practices and effective design principles arising from research on and work at HSIs.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Brain Injuries, Recycling Rare Earth Elements and Improving AI: DARPA in June

In the first half of this month, The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provided a number of updates on new and ongoing initiatives. DARPA’s researchers have been busy with everything from AI to brain injuries and recycling. 

Cornerstone program – brain injury 

ANSR program – trustworthy AI

Department of Commerce (DoC)

Making local economies prosperous and resilient: The case for a modern Economic Development Administration

To inform this process, this brief provides a rationale and framework for EDA reauthorization. It is organized in three sections. First, it expands on the case for a federal role in regional economic development. It then shows why only the legislative process can better equip the EDA to improve America’s capacity to innovate, compete, and expand economic opportunity for more people in more places. The brief closes with how: We recommend that the EDA become a $4 billion agency with a sharper purpose and set of roles and capabilities that match that mission. We believe this framework for EDA reauthorization and future appropriations would set the agency and its community partners up for success in today’s—and tomorrow’s—economy.

Department of Defense (DoD)

Pentagon shares new vision to address problems with it microelectronics supply chain 

The Pentagon released a broad “Microelectronics Vision” this week that outlines the foundational framework for its highly anticipated, in-the-making national strategy to help holistically mitigate intensifying supply chain vulnerabilities. However, some observers found it lacking in detail...In the document, Shyu and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Bill LaPlante wrote that the DOD “is at a pivotal moment where it must take advantage of the national interest and funding in [microelectronics] by developing a unifying vision and strategy to ensure national security equities are met.” 

Department of Energy (DoE)

DOE announces intended funding for hydrogen hubs across the nation | SSTI

Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) announced its intention to release a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the year. This FOA, titled “Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs” or “H2Hubs” will outline funding phases to promote the expansion of clean hydrogen energy and aid in the development of at least four clean hydrogen hubs throughout the U.S. DOE anticipates releasing the FOA in September or October 2022

Funding Opportunity Announcement: Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Industrial Decarbonization through Electrification of Process Heating | Department of Energy

On June 23rd, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CEMII) for Industrial Decarbonization through Electrification of Process Heating Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). This FOA will provide up to $70 million in federal funding to develop and fund a new institute that will conduct research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) focused on developing and scaling electrified processes that reduce emissions, improve flexibility, and enhance energy efficiency of industrial process heating. Concept papers are due August 9, 2022.

Environmental Protection Agency

House appropriators release bill to bolster EPA, Interior  

House appropriators have proposed sizable increases for the Interior Department and EPA in a $44.8 billion spending bill. The EPA would receive $11.5 billion for fiscal 2023 under the legislation, roughly a 21 percent increase or $2 billion more over the agency’s current funding of $9.5 billion.  Despite the sizable boost, the legislation is less ambitious than Biden’s budget for EPA, which would give the agency nearly $11.9 billion, according to administration documents. The House bill would direct $301 million for environmental justice activities, about $201 million more above fiscal 2022 levels. EPA’s science and environmental programs would also be boosted under the new bill. They would get $4.67 billion, about $951 million more than current funding.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

House Appropriators Recommend Boost for NASA In Fy2023, But Not As Much As Requested 

The House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA is recommending $25.45 billion for the agency in FY2023. While a substantial increase over current funding of $24.04 billion, the total is half a billion less than the $25.97 billion President Biden requested. As welcome as a $1.4 billion increase would be, it likely is not enough for NASA to execute its ambitious portfolio of space technology, aeronautics, science and human exploration missions on their current schedules.

NASA Announces Launch Delay for Psyche Asteroid Mission  

NASA announced on 6/24/22 the Psyche asteroid mission, the agency’s first mission designed to study a metal-rich asteroid, will not make its planned 2022 launch attempt. Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft’s flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on Oct. 11. The mission team needs more time to ensure that the software will function properly in flight. ASU leads the Psyche mission. 

NASA: Assessments of Major Projects  

NASA plans to invest over $80 billion in its major projects to continue exploring Earth, the moon, and the solar system. This is US GAO's 14th annual assessment of NASA's major projects. In 2021, NASA completed six projects, including launching the James Webb space telescope. But, in the last year, NASA's major projects collectively exceeded their cost estimates by almost $3 billion. They also surpassed their collective schedules by almost 10 years. COVID-19 was not the primary cause of the cost growth and schedule delays but exacerbated these challenges. 

US Department of State/USAID

USAID Needs a Funding Rethink to Do Its Job

As Congress considers the administration’s budget request, it should also examine how the agency spends its money. The Center for Global Development’s Scott Morris and Charles Kenny described a few weeks ago just how little foreign aid funding ever leaves what they called the “Washington bubble.” This has to change if the United States wants to play a meaningful role to address the effects of a rapidly warming climate or to achieve by 2030 any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that it and 192 other countries set to improve food insecurity, health, and other global challenges. 

Money Matters: USAID forecast outlines $2.6B gender funding plans | Devex

Last week USAID updated its business forecast and held its quarterly webinar. One of the key items on the agenda was a $2.6 billion pot of funding for gender issues in the fiscal year 2023. The funding was originally announced in the budget request at the end of March but wasn’t featured prominently. The latest call has given more details about how USAID wants to embed gender more deeply in all of its work. The latest round of funding is twice as much as USAID has ever spent on gender.