When America competes, the world benefits: Sens. John Thune and Cory Gardner

For decades, the United States has remained at the forefront of game-changing innovation and scientific accomplishment, far ahead of all other nations. But countries around the world are actively seeking to compete with the next generation of American innovators and scientists. As China prioritizes major research and development projects, and India graduates thousands more scientists and engineers, the U.S. faces significant challenges in the global marketplace.

These challenges are precisely why the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is announcing it will convene an innovation and competitiveness working group in order to help craft legislation that would authorize science and technology policies previously directed under the America Competes Act. We’re excited to gather consensus ideas among committee members about how to enhance our research and development (R&D) enterprise, and improve science and technology policies at government agencies like the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, among other agencies. 

In the coming weeks, this working group will invite representatives from academia, business, nonprofits and government agencies who all participate in U.S. R&D efforts to engage in discussions about how best to keep America competitive. We hope to better understand what reforms can be made so more of every federally funded research dollar goes toward research, for example, instead of being wasted on onerous administrative burdens. We also want to learn how to strengthen the partnership between academia and the private sector to facilitate greater research commercialization and investments. And we will ensure that this recommitment to U.S. competitiveness is premised on realistic and stable budget policies that will allow for more efficient long-term planning by the research community and other stakeholders. ...


Thune is South Dakota’s senior senator, serving since 2005. He is chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and sits on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and the Finance committees. Gardner is Colorado’s junior senator, serving since 2015. He sits on the Commerce, Science and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Foreign Relations; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.


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