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H.R. 6490 (114th): American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 8, 2016.

American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

This bill requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to maintain the intellectual merit and broader impacts criteria as the basis for evaluating grant proposals in the merit review process.

The NSF shall issue and periodically update policy guidance for both NSF staff and other NSF merit review process participants on the importance of transparency and accountability to the outcomes made through the merit review process.

The bill renames the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research as the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and revises program requirements.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shall research information systems for future cybersecurity needs.

The bill renames the National High Performance Computing Program as the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program and revises program requirements.

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) shall continue to coordinate federal research in high-energy physics, radiation biology, and fusion energy.

The NIST shall implement a comprehensive strategic plan for laboratory programs expanding interactions with academia, international researchers, and industry, and commercial and industrial applications.

The NSF shall:

evaluate the existing and future needs, across all NSF-supported disciplines, for mid-scale projects; strengthen oversight and accountability over the full life-cycle of major multi-user research facility projects; and continue to review its efforts to sustain scientific efforts in the face of logistical challenges for the U.S. Antarctic Program. The Department of Commerce Office of Security shall directly manage NIST's law enforcement and site security programs through an assigned Director of Security for NIST.

The Office of Management and Budget shall establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative burdens of federally funded researchers while protecting the public's interest in the transparency of, and accountability for, federally funded activities.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) shall establish a body under the NSTC to identify and coordinate international science and technology cooperation in order to strengthen U.S. science and technology enterprise, improve economic and national security, and support U.S. foreign policy goals.

The NSF, the Department of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shall establish the STEM Education Advisory Panel to advise the NSTC Committee on STEM Education on matters related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The NSF shall award grants to increase the participation of underrepresented populations in STEM fields.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology Act is amended to revise requirements for the NIST post-doctoral fellowship program and the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Federal science agencies may use crowdsourcing and voluntary, collaborative citizen science to advance their missions.

The OSTP shall establish an interagency working group to: (1) summarize available research and best practices on how to promote diversity and inclusions in STEM fields, and (2) examine whether barriers exist to promoting diversity and inclusion within federal agencies employing scientists and engineers.

Each federal agency shall recommend to the President how it could expand research opportunities for undergraduate students attending institutions of higher education.

The NSF shall award grants for:

research on computer science education and computational thinking; and Innovation Corps entrepreneurship and commercialization education, training, and mentoring. The OSTP shall arrange with the National Research Council to study technologies employed at institutions of higher education to provide notifications to students, faculty, and other personnel during emergencies.