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Update on Research Funding via Federal Agencies September 23, 2021

Karen Walker
September 23, 2021

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

Continuing resolution would keep agencies running through Dec. 3

The House on Tuesday will begin consideration of a temporary, stop-gap funding measure, which would keep agencies running through Dec. 3. The continuing resolution, which House Democrats released Tuesday morning and revised later that afternoon, is necessary to avoid a government shutdown before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. The CR includes $28.6 billion in additional disaster relief funding, as well as $6.3 billion to support resettlement efforts for Afghan evacuees, priorities for both the Biden administration and a bipartisan group of lawmakers whose home states have been impacted by recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters. But it’s unclear whether the continuing resolution will pass both chambers of Congress in its current form. The bill would also suspend the debt limit through Dec. 16, 2022, a measure Republicans have said they’re unwilling to support.

Science Committee Parcels Out $45 Billion for Democrats’ Spending Drive

The House Science Committee advanced its legislative proposal for dividing up the $45.5 billion it was allocated from the $3.5 trillion spending package that Democrats are currently developing. If enacted, it would provide several science agencies with a flood of funding that in most cases would be spent over five years to restore and upgrade facilities and expand certain research programs. Republicans unanimously oppose the overall package and so Democrats are aiming to pass it using Congress’ budget reconciliation process, which circumvents the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. However, there are also strong disagreements among Democrats over the scale and content of the package, and efforts to resolve such disputes could eventually result in R&D-related spending proposals being dropped or significantly altered. 

Democrats Seek Billions for R&D at Minority-Serving Institutions  

Through a combination of executive actions and legislative proposals, the Biden administration is seeking to increase the research capacity of minority-serving institutions (MSIs), arguing they are critical to expanding and diversifying the domestic STEM workforce. MSIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other categories of institutions that serve large numbers of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.  President Biden has proposed allocating tens of billions for research infrastructure upgrades and R&D projects across MSIs within special spending packages he is urging Congress to pass. In parallel, he has also proposed several new science agency initiatives focused on increasing support for MSIs through the annual appropriations process. 

Call for Nominations -- National Academies' Climate Security Roundtable 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) will establish a Climate Security Roundtable, to provide support to the Climate Security Advisory Council, which is a partnership between the U.S. Intelligence Community and the Federal Science community to better understand and anticipate the ways climate change affects U.S. national security interests. Contact: Rachel Levinson (

National Institutes of Health (NIH) 

Recordings and Minutes from NIH Council Meetings    

NIH Institutes and Centers are hosting their Fall council meetings. Click the above link for a schedule of upcoming meetings.  Recordings are available for the following ICs: 

National Science Foundation (NSF) 

NSF AD/EHR Search - Dear Colleague Letter  

NSF is beginning a national search for the Assistant Director for its Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR), which oversees a roughly $1 billion portfolio of STEM education and research programs. The new Assistant Director (AD) will succeed Dr. Karen Marrongelle, who recently accepted the post of NSF Chief Operating Officer. Applications are due Oct. 8, 2021. 

New Science and Technology Centers to address vexing societal problems

NSF announced six new Science and Technology Centers to advance ambitious, complex research in fields ranging from mechanobiology to particle physics to climate change.  

 Department of Commerce (DOC)

Department of Commerce Establishes National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee  

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today announced that the Commerce Department has established a high-level committee to advise the President and other federal agencies on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). Working with the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department is now seeking to recruit top-level candidates to serve on the committee. 

U.S. officials to hold semiconductor supply chain meeting | Reuters    

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and White House economic adviser Brian Deese will host a semiconductor supply chain meeting convening at the White House on Sept. 23, the Commerce Department said. The department said in a statement that officials would discuss the ongoing global chip shortage and the impact the Delta variant has had on global semiconductor supply chains. 

 Department of Energy (DoE) 

AI and Technology Office FY21/22 Program Plan and FY23 Forecast  

This agile program plan is the Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office’s (AITO) strategic operating model for the fourth quarter (Q4) of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 through Q4, FY 22. The plan evolves prior year activity concentrating on a department-wide, cross-cutting portfolio alignment of AI/ML investments to maximize impacts. In addition, the program plan leverages strategic partnerships, particularly the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office (NAIIO) and international relationships, as central enablers of AI outcomes and impacts that exemplify the mission of the administration and DOE. Successful implementation of this program plan will provide national leadership in AI tools, technologies, policies, and emerging capabilities in FY 23 and beyond. 

Solar Futures Study | Department of Energy 

The Solar Futures Study is the third in a series of vision studies from SETO and NREL, preceded by the SunShot Vision Study (2012) and On the Path to SunShot (2016). While the previous studies focused on the impacts of low-cost solar technologies on the economy, this study dives into solar energy’s role in a decarbonized grid and provides analysis of future solar technologies, the solar workforce, and how solar energy might interact with other technologies like storage. 

 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 

Call for Nominations: National Space Council Users' Advisory Group  

NASA is accepting public nominations for the National Space Council Users' Advisory Group. The Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) is a federal advisory committee comprised of experts from outside the United States Government (USG) created as part of the National Space Council (NSpC). The purpose of the UAG is to ensure that the interests of industry and other non-Federal entities are adequately represented in the deliberations of the National Space Council. Nominations are due Sept. 27, 2021.  

NASA splits human spaceflight directorate into two new branches

The space agency announced today (Sept. 21) that it's splitting the current Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) into two new entities: the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) and Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD). ESDMD will be responsible for the development of systems and technology critical for NASA's Artemis program. SOMD, meanwhile, will be in charge of crewed launches and ongoing human spaceflight operations, including activities on the International Space Station and the commercialization of low Earth orbit.