Stony Brook University’s (SBU) Advocacy Corps recently met virtually with SBU alumna and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Washington, DC staffer Erin Byers, urging Senator Gillibrand to work with her congressional colleagues to fund American science. Corps members specifically conveyed their concerns regarding the lack of federal appropriations for the CHIPS and Science Act, specifically for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE SC). While Congress provided $50 billion in semiconductor industry funding with the CHIPS and Science Act last year, it has not yet provided funding for the “Science” portion of the bill. Budget constraints and wrangling in Congress pose further threats to catching up to CHIPS and Science’s funding goals.
“Funding for fundamental scientific research must be a top priority — even in times of fiscal constraint and addressing our federal deficit — if we are to stay ahead in this race pivotal to our national security,” said Kristen Paravella, an undergraduate student studying political science. Paravella further noted that the foundational knowledge of these science agencies produces undergirds the nation’s economic and national security. NSF and DOE SC support critical areas of scientific research in areas including artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum information sciences, cybersecurity, microelectronics, nuclear fusion, energy sciences and biotechnology.
Meanwhile, China has gained significant ground in recent years — and their rate of increase in investments in research and development has been twice that of the United States over the last decade. This means China could surpass us in scientific advancement — and the economic growth and national security that flow directly from it. “We cannot sit back while competitor nations step up,” said Mary Brantley, a graduate student studying public policy. “Now is the time for Congress to provide robust funding for NSF and DOE’s Office of science research and educational programs. Funding American science at the levels Congress authorized in CHIPS and Science will ensure our future economic competitiveness and national security.”
Additionally, Corps members stated that brilliant, innovative researchers at Stony Brook University and at other research institutions across the US are ready and willing to develop the next generation of advanced technology, but they need the transformational federal funding promised in the CHIPS Act supporting their work.