The final bill that we are highlighting during our spring advocacy campaign is the STEM Research and Education Effectiveness and Transparency Act, or H.R. 627.
While many STEM trainees receive support through federally funded education programs, the bulk are funded through federal research project grants. Indeed, in 2016, the U.S. government funded $2.9 billion in STEM education programs but spent $38 billion on research at institutions of higher education. The National Science Foundation alone supported 362,000 individuals, many of whom were trainees, that year.
Introduced in January by Robert Wittman, R-Va., H.R. 627 mandates that the NSF provide Congress with a report on its activities to broaden participation of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM degrees and careers.
The NSF’s report would have to include data on recruitment and retention rates, describe employment outcomes, identify gaps in data and make data publically available.
The legislation also directs other federal science agencies to standardize and report annually, to the director of the NSF, data for all awards made to institutions of higher education and federal laboratories.
Increasing transparency of federal programs that work to diversify the STEM pipeline is essential to evaluating and improving taxpayer-funded efforts to support the future STEM workforce.
Urge your U.S. representative to co-sponsor H.R. 627 and ensure that federal programs are achieving their intended outcomes.