June 30, 2021 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) budget could double, to $ 81 billion over the next 5 years, if a massive fundraising bill that passes with bipartisan support in the Senate this month – this is also passed by the United States House of Representatives. Representatives.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, called the bill, which he co-sponsored with a nearly $ 250 billion award, “the biggest investment in scientific research and technological innovation for generations “.
But rumbling through the talks are concerns about how the bill will affect U.S.-China relations.
Some senators fear that Chinese researchers who collaborate with the Americans will steal or legally use the results to stimulate scientific discovery at home and gain a competitive advantage.
“I don’t want taxpayer dollars going through the front door and research going out the back door to China or other adversaries,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said recently at the conference. ‘a debate in the Senate. debate.
Conversely, U.S. researchers fear that the strict restrictions and scrutiny imposed by the bill will prevent Chinese researchers from wanting to work with Americans. Such limits, they argue, could hamper the search for solutions to global problems, such as COVID-19 pandemic, aerial and the water pollution and climate change.
Passage of the bill – on United States Innovation and Competition Act – would be a huge boost for the NSF, which supports basic and applied research in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the development of medical devices and diagnostic tools.
Scientific collaborations with other countries are essential, says Amanda Greenwell, chief of the legislative and public affairs office of the NSF, explaining that the foundation does not comment on current legislation.
“US leadership in research often requires collaboration, from capturing the first image of a black hole to deciphering the effects of climate change,” she says. “These discoveries would have been impossible if American researchers had not been able to work with other great minds and powerful resources around the world.”
But “any collaboration must be ethical, based on clear guiding principles that every nation must follow, and emerge from honest partnerships that respect research integrity, security and the rule of law,” she said.