CHIPS and Science Highlights: National Strategy

经过August 9, 2022

Many aspects of theCHIPS And Science Acthave gotten significant attention, but one potentially consequential section for U.S. science has been almost wholly overlooked: a requirement that the U.S. government establish a national science and technology strategy.

Strategy development is a well-established function for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), but usually these strategies are focused on narrow topics like climate science or agricultural innovation. What’s new in CHIPS is the requirement for an overarching, top-to-bottom assessment and strategy covering all areas of S&T.



In reality, CHIPS requires not one, not two, butthreedifferent strategy documents from OSTP, in consultation with other federal agencies, White House councils, bodies like the National Science Board, and nongovernmental organizations including industry and universities.

CHIPS第10613节creates a quadrennial S&T review, which OSTP will have to deliver by the end of next year (and every four years thereafter – until 2032, when the requirement expires). The quadrennial review is intended to be a “comprehensive examination” of U.S. science, with input from a wide range of institutions inside and outside government. It will also make policy and investment recommendations in areas like industrial innovation, science for social challenges, the STEM workforce, tech transfer, regional innovation, and U.S. research leadership.

One year after the quadrennial assessment, CHIPS requires another more concrete policy strategy, with programmatic recommendations to achieve key goals and research priorities.

Lastly, the bill requires a periodic S&T supplement to support the annualNational Defense Strategy. This third document will cover many of the same topics as the above, but with a national security and economic security frame. It will also deal with questions like startup barriers, research security, and federal program effectiveness.

这种三管齐下的方法 - 也许有点过分 - 反映了参议院的愿景(想要国家安全战略)和众议院(这是众议院)的融合wanted the other two).


There are a few reasons these strategies could be useful for the U.S. science enterprise. One simple reason is that they should provide useful context to inform agencies and Congress. How is the U.S. faring globally in science? What are the weaknesses, bottlenecks, and emerging trends? Which sectors are seeing threatened leadership? Working to answer these questions always provides important context for policymakers and can help drive national priorities. The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics does provide现在其中一些信息,当然应该扮演一个重要组成部分the broader reviews – but now these analyses should feature more prominently in the policy stream, with broader scope and perhaps greater visibility.

The requirements also give government a strategic framework for making investment decisions, which is a device many of our global competitors employ. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the key cog in the federal budget system, and will be at the table alongside other agencies and offices. OMB already works with OSTP to setR&D prioritiesin the annual budget process. The new strategy requirements don’t alter that process – which is rather fragmented and bottom-up – but they could provide a nudge for coordination and big-picture thinking on a whole-of-government basis.

Interestingly, these strategies may also provide an avenue for systemic reform: the quadrennial review is required to evaluate “policies that hinder research and development in the United States.” This could provide an opening for experts to recommend policies to enhance research productivity or reduce administrative burden, for instance.

All that said, one should be wary of overstating the benefits. Whatever the quality of the new strategy, it will still be up to policymakers, agencies, and appropriators to follow it with action. In so doing, they’ll have to balance an array of competing needs, goals, and ideas from internal and external stakeholders. Buy-in shouldn’t be treated as a forgone conclusion.

The requirements also set up some strange timing. For example, the quadrennial review is due at the end of 2023, and the policy strategy at the end of 2024, a presidential election year. If there’s a change in the Oval Office, would a new administration disregard the work of the prior OSTP? What about in 2028 or 2032?

至少,战略练习应该在美国科学决策中提供迷人的近期实验 - 从长远来看,可以为推动美国科学技术领导力提供一种工具。