(Washington, DC)  The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to strengthen support for both basic science research and math and science education by approving legislation to reauthorize the National Science Foundation (NSF).

H.R. 1867, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2007, is designed to allow the NSF to foster relationships between academia and industry in order to spawn U.S. competitiveness and also further its traditions of education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“Basic research is a driver of growth and economic development, and NSF is a major source of federal backing for basic research at universities, across all disciplines,” said Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).  “NSF also has 50 years of proven success in science, technology, engineering and math education. This bill provides the funding critical to those programs that NSF supports.” H.R. 1867 would keep NSF funding on a path to doubling in 10 years by providing $16.4 billion for research. The authorization also improves funding rates for young researchers and stimulates higher risk research by establishing a pilot program of one-year seed grants for new investigators, among other provisions.

“If America is going to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we need to bolster math and science education right from the start,” said Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA), who introduced the bill.  “With passage of this bill, the House of Representatives took an important step to ensure that we increase job opportunities here at home; promote new technologies; bolster research opportunities; and prevent our country falling further and further behind.” 

The bill also furthers the agency’s traditions of STEM education by providing $2.8 billion for NSF’s education directorate, including $765 million for three critical K-12 programs – Math and Science Partnerships, Noyce Teacher Scholarships, and the Tech Talent program – that were expanded and refined under H.R. 362, the “10,000 Teacher, 10 Million Minds” Math and Science Scholarship Act.

“The National Science Foundation has a mission to achieve excellence in science, technology, and engineering,” said Chairman Baird.  “Funding basic research and teaching our children math and science has a tremendous impact on our ability to compete in a global marketplace, our national security, and on the future of our workforce.  By investing in programs and policies that are of the highest quality, we’re in turn developing a divers and well-prepared workforce.”

The NSF is unique among the federal government’s scientific research agencies in that it supports science and engineering across all disciplines. Each year, NSF supports an average of about 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students at universities, laboratories and field sites all over the U.S. and throughout the world.

For a sectional summary of the bill, please click here.