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115th Congress    }                                    {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                    {       115-471

======================================================================



 
     STEM RESEARCH AND EDUCATION EFFECTIVENESS AND TRANSPARENCY ACT

                                _______
                                

 December 18, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4375]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 4375) to provide for a study on 
broadening participation in certain National Science Foundation 
research and education programs, to collect data on Federal 
research grants to science agencies, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     1
Section-by-Section...............................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     4
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     5
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     5
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     5
Earmark Identification...........................................     5
Committee Estimate...............................................     5
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     6

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 4375, the ``STEM Research and Education Effectiveness 
and Transparency Act,'' is sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock 
and Rep. Eddie Bernie Johnson. The purpose of H.R. 4375 is for 
the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study and make 
recommendations to Congress regarding the effectiveness of its 
research and education programs aimed at broadening the 
participation of women and historically underrepresented 
individuals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and 
Mathematics (STEM) careers. The bill also requires each Federal 
science agency to collect standardized information, including 
demographics, for each application received for research and 
development grants from universities, research institutions, 
and federal laboratories. Agencies are to submit their 
standardized information annually to NSF, to be published in an 
annual summary.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    During the past decade, employment in STEM occupations has 
grown six times as fast as non-STEM occupations. The average 
wage for STEM occupations is nearly double the average for all 
occupations. By 2018, however, projections are that 2.4 million 
STEM jobs will go unfilled.
    Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields and 
therefore represent a prime opportunity to help fill the STEM 
void. According to the National Center for Science and 
Engineering Statistics (NCSES) women comprise 48 percent of the 
U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of STEM workers. For 
instance, 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer 
professionals are male.
    Many minority groups are also significantly under-
represented in many STEM fields. Hispanics account for 6 
percent of employment in STEM occupations, which is lower than 
their share of the U.S. population age 21 and older (15 
percent), and African Americans account for 5 percent of 
science and engineering employment, which is lower than their 
share of the U.S. population age 21 and older (12 percent).
    Attracting more women and individuals from historically 
under-represented populations to STEM studies and careers will 
create economic opportunities in higher-paying occupations and 
bolster the nation's capabilities in areas of science and 
technology that are crucial to our future economic and national 
security.
    The National Science Foundation is the second largest 
federal resource for STEM education. NSF invests millions of 
taxpayer dollars annually in education and research programs 
aimed at increasing STEM participation among women and under-
represented populations. The study required in H.R. 4375 will 
give Congress, NSF, and other stakeholders objective 
information about what kinds of interventions and assistance 
are efficient, scalable, and effective, and which are not.
    H.R. 4375 also requires all Federal science agencies to 
collect standardized information, including demographics, for 
each application received for research and developments grants. 
Agencies are to submit the information annually to NSF and it 
is to be reported as part of the agency's annual science and 
engineering indicators report. This information will provide 
better transparency as to how taxpayer dollars are spent on 
research and scientists across the Federal government.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On March 9, 2017, the Research and Technology Subcommittee 
held a hearing entitled, ``National Science Foundation Part 1: 
Overview and Oversight.'' Witnesses were: Dr. France Cordova, 
Director, National Science Foundation; Ms. Allison Lerner, 
Inspector General, National Science Foundation.
    On March 21, 2017, the Research and Technology Subcommittee 
held a hearing entitled, ``National Science Foundation Part II: 
Future Opportunities and Challenges for Science.'' Witnesses 
were: Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Acting Chief Operating Officer, 
National Science Foundation; Dr. Maria Zuber, Chair, National 
Science Board; Dr. Jeffrey Spies, Co-Founder and Chief 
Technology Officer, Center for Open Science and Assistant 
Professor, University of Virginia; Dr. Keith Yamamoto, Vice 
Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy, University of 
California, San Francisco.
    On July 26, 2017, the Research and Technology Subcommittee 
held a hearing entitled, ``STEM and Computer Science Education: 
Preparing the 21st Century Workforce.'' Witnesses were: Mr. 
James Brown, Executive Director, STEM Education Coalition; Mr. 
Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer, Code.org; Dr. A. Paul 
Alivisatos, Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost, Vice 
Chancellor for Research, and Professor of Chemistry and 
Materials Science & Engineering, University of California, 
Berkeley; Ms. Dee Mooney, Executive Director, Micron Technology 
Foundation.
    On November 15, the full Committee approved by voice vote 
H.R. 4375, the STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and 
Transparency Act.

                            COMMITTEE VIEWS

Broadening Participation Report

    The National Science Foundation has invested billions of 
dollars in research and programs to broaden participation in 
STEM studies and research. The Committee recognizes the 
importance of these efforts, but is concerned that there has 
not been enough collection and dissemination of outcomes data 
on these investments. The Committee believes that the 
collection and sharing of best practices will save taxpayer 
dollars and accelerate the advancement of broader participation 
in STEM. The Committee understands that NSF is working to 
address this issue through the new NSF initiative Inclusion 
Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of 
Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science 
(INCLUDES). The Committee further understands that a key 
objective of NSF INCLUDES is to engage current NSF awardees 
working on broadening participation, as well as the broader 
STEM community, in the creation and development of a network to 
help provide connections to this community. The Committee is 
aware that NSF is supporting efforts that create, analyze and 
aggregate knowledge and assessments, and also implement, 
expand, and sustain effective practices. The Committee 
determines that a report to Congress is complementary to this 
effort, and will give the committees, NSF, and other 
stakeholders objective information about what kinds of 
interventions and assistance are efficient, scalable and 
effective, and which are not effective, efficient, or useful.

Collection and Reporting of Data on Federal Research Grants

    The Committee believes that the collection and reporting of 
data on federal research grant applications will provide better 
transparency to how taxpayer dollars are spent on research and 
scientists across the Federal government. The Committee finds 
that the data and reporting requirements of this bill are 
complementary to the Digital Accountability and Transparency 
Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and should not make implementation 
overly burdensome. However, the Committee is concerned by the 
results of a November 2017 independent audit of NSF's 
implementation of the DATA Act and urges NSF to adopt the 
recommendations made by auditors to comply with the DATA Act 
and this provision of H.R. 4375.

                           Section-by-Section


Sec. 1. Short title

    STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency 
Act.

Sec. 2. Broadening participation in STEM program effectiveness study

    This section requires the NSF Director to submit a report 
to Congress, one year after enactment, on the effectiveness of 
all NSF research and education programs in broadening the 
participation of women and other underrepresented individuals 
in STEM studies and careers.

Sec. 3. Collection and reporting of data on Federal research grants

    This section requires each Federal science agency to 
collect standardized record-level annual information on 
demographics, primary field, award type, review rating, budget 
request, funding outcome, and awarded budget for each 
application for merit-reviewed research and development grants 
to institutions of higher education and Federal laboratories 
supported by that agency. This section also requires the 
Director of NSF to publish a statistical summary of all the 
data collected.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    There were no amendments to this bill.

                        Committee Consideration

    On November 15, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 4375, by voice vote, 
a quorum being present.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill provides for a report from the NSF to make 
recommendations to Congress regarding the effectiveness of its 
research and education programs aimed at broadening the 
participation of women and historically underrepresented 
individuals in STEM studies and careers. As such this bill does 
not relate to employment or access to public services and 
accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    H.R. 4375 provides for a report from the NSF to make 
recommendations to Congress regarding the effectiveness of its 
research and education programs aimed at broadening the 
participation of women and historically underrepresented 
individuals in STEM studies and careers.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 4375 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting H.R. 4375 does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 4375 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    The Committee estimates that implementing H.R. 4375 would 
have no effect on direct spending or revenue.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    The Committee advises that a Congressional Budget Office 
cost estimate was not available at the time this report was 
printed.

                                  [all]