House Unveils Bill to Boost Economic Competitiveness, Enhance Research Security
January 31, 2022

A bill was introduced last week in the House to authorize increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other research priorities, strengthen STEM education programs, and boost American economic competitiveness and enhance research security.

The America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022 would establish a new Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions at NSF, to “accelerate collaborative, purpose-driven R&D to advance solutions to pressing societal challenges including climate change and environmental sustainability, global competitiveness, cybersecurity, national security, STEM education and workforce, and social and economic inequality.”

Other provisions amend Section 117 foreign gift and contract reporting requirements at the Department of Education and create a new Section 124 reporting requirement on foreign gifts and contracts to individual faculty and staff. (Read a summary of the provisions of interest to higher education here.)

The legislation is the House response to the Senate’s bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which was approved last June.

ACE has been advocating for changes to the Senate provisions on research security and countering foreign influence, and the House bill does address some of that overreach. For example, it does not include the Senate’s language on requiring the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to examine and review certain foreign gifts or contracts over $1 million to higher education institutions.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider possible amendments to the legislation early this week, and the full House is expected to consider the bill in early February.

The COMPETES Act of 2022

Read the Summary (PDF)