Text: S.753 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (03/02/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 753


To enhance scientific research and competitiveness through the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 2, 2007

Mr. Rockefeller (for himself, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Reed, Mr. Hagel, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Cochran) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To enhance scientific research and competitiveness through the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “EPSCoR Research and Competitiveness Act of 2007”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Ensuring regional diversity in research funding is an essential strategy in strengthening international competitiveness.

(2) Economic development in high technology fields is often advanced by industrial partnerships located nearby research institutions from which companies can acquire intellectual property, highly trained staff, and vital resources.

(3) The National Science Foundation is an independent Federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare, and to secure the national defense”.

(4) Congress has subsequently directed that, “it shall be an objective of the Foundation to strengthen research and education in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States, and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education”.

(5) Currently, Foundation research investments are concentrated in a small number of States. In contrast, 25 other States together receive less than 10 percent of the Foundation’s research funding, yet these States are home to 20 percent of the population, 25 percent of doctoral/research universities, and 18 percent of academic scientists and engineers, and train nearly 20 percent of science and engineering graduate students.

(6) Insufficient research infrastructure diminishes the ability of many universities to compete effectively for research funding, and thereby limits their contributions to regional economic development and international competitiveness.

(7) The Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, is the primary program by which the Foundation seeks to improve the research infrastructure of institutions in States that presently receive small portions of Foundation funding. EPSCoR is thus an important component of national efforts to increase innovation and improve competitiveness.

(8) EPSCoR jurisdictions possess strong science and technology resources that can be utilized to address national priorities and needs in areas such as “energy”, where EPSCoR States account for 7 of the 10 leading energy producing States; “health”, where EPSCoR States’ medical universities have developed IT-based distance medical care for their rural populations; “defense”, where EPSCoR universities are producing “high” tech tools for military; “homeland security”, where EPSCoR universities are developing tools to monitor human and animal traffic across some of the world’s longest open borders; and cyber infrastructure, where nearly all EPSCoR universities are making significant investments for the future.

(9) Full participation by EPSCoR jurisdictions in National Science Foundation science and engineering programs will enable these jurisdictions to contribute to National Science Foundation efforts to increase the number of United States born students who enter science and engineering disciplines. Providing resources to EPSCoR universities will enable the American born students who are trained by these institutions to fill an important workforce need in science and technology areas.

(10) Existing National Science Foundation EPSCoR award mechanisms need to be more flexible and longer-term, reflecting the particular needs of different States and regions. There should also be better use by EPSCoR of existing National Science Foundation grant mechanisms that effectively serve other National Science Foundation research programs.

SEC. 3. Funding.

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Foundation for EPSCoR—

(1) $125,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and

(2) for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2012, an amount equal to the sum of—

(A) $125,000,000; and

(B) $125,000,000 multiplied by a percentage equal to the percentage by which the Foundation’s budget request for such fiscal year exceeds the total amount appropriated to the Foundation for fiscal year 2008.

SEC. 4. Research infrastructure improvement grants.

(a) In General.—In the administration of the Foundation’s research infrastructure improvement grant program, the Director shall authorize States participating in the grant program to include partnerships with out-of-State research institutions if the amount of funding transferred to another State does not exceed 5 percent of the amount of the grant in any fiscal year.

(b) Authorization Level.—From amounts appropriated pursuant to section 3, the Director shall make available to the research infrastructure improvement grant program—

(1) $65,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and

(2) for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2012, an amount equal to the sum of—

(A) $75,000,000; and

(B) $75,000,000 multiplied by a percentage equal to the percentage by which the Foundation’s budget request for such fiscal year exceeds the total amount appropriated to the Foundation for fiscal year 2008.

SEC. 5. Co-funding.

(a) In General.—For each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012, the Director shall obligate and expend not less than 20 percent of the amount available for EPSCoR on co-funding projects that are ranked, by a peer-review process, in the top 20 percent of all proposals submitted in response to an announced competition.

(b) Annual Report.—The Director shall submit an annual report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives that provides information about—

(1) co-funded projects on a State-by-State basis for the preceding year; and

(2) the amount and use of co-funding by each of the Foundation’s directorates for that year.

SEC. 6. Cyber infrastructure.

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director, through the Office of Cyber Infrastructure, shall develop and publish a plan enabling States participating in EPSCoR to participate fully in the Foundation’s Cyber Infrastructure Initiative.

SEC. 7. Major research instrumentation.

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director, through the Office of Major Research Instrumentation, shall develop and publish a plan enabling States participating in EPSCoR to develop partnerships and participate fully in the Foundation’s major research instrumentation program.

SEC. 8. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) DIRECTOR.—The term “Director” means the Director of the National Science Foundation.

(2) EPSCOR.—The term “EPSCoR” means the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research authorized by section 113 of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 1862g).

(3) FOUNDATION.—The term “Foundation” means the National Science Foundation.


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