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NSF Congressional Highlight

President Signs the America COMPETES Act

August 9, 2007

The President today signed the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science) Act into law (Public Law 110-69). The measure aims to: equip teachers, educate students, invest in research and stimulate the American economy.

Based on many of the recommendations of the National Academies' 2005 report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," the new law is intended to help secure the United States' ability to compete in the global marketplace. The 2005 report, requested by Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), found that the United States stood to lose its competitive edge over other nations unless action was taken.

The America COMPETES Act supports basic research by setting budgets at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a path to doubling within the near term. The total NSF budget is authorized at $6.6 billion in FY 2008, $7.326 billion in FY 2009, and $8.132 billion in FY 2010. These funding levels keep the agency on a path to double its budget in approximately seven years.

In addition, the act authorizes $33.6 billion over fiscal years 2008-2010 for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs across the federal government. The measure authorizes multiple grant programs to help educate current and future teachers in the areas of science and math education. The law also invests in basic research and supports young researchers by expanding early career grant programs.

Of particular interest, the law provides strong increases in FY 2008 for K-12 STEM education programs at NSF. These programs, including the Noyce Teacher Scholarship and the Math and Science Partnerships programs, will help to prepare thousands of new STEM teachers and provide current teachers with content and pedagogical expertise in their area of teaching.

The law will also help create thousands of new STEM college graduates, including two-year college graduates, through increased support for NSF's STEM talent expansion (STEP) and Advanced Technological Education (ATE) programs. For those STEM graduates who continue on the path toward graduate studies and academic careers, the law provides support for young, innovative researchers by expanding the Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF), Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), and Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) programs.

Visit NSF's Education and Human Resources Web site for more information about these programs.


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