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“CHIPS Plus” Bill Passed by Senate

By a vote of 64 to 33, the Senate adopted this afternoon the “CHIPS Plus” legislation.  While much of the press attention has been focused on the provisions related to semiconductor chips in the 1,000-plus page bill, most of the legislation is focused on the broader scientific research enterprise.  Although the legislation addresses, among other agencies, the Department of Energy, NASA, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, the language on the National Science Foundation has been of the most interest to a significant portion of the academic community.

For example, the bill would authorize a new Technology, Innovation, and Partnership Directorate at the NSF, which would be charged with emphasizing applied research and commercialization.  Another set of provisions would greatly expand the scope of the ESPCOR program and require NSF, to the great extent practicable, to allocate 20 percent of all NSF research and education funds to institutions in EPSCOR states by FY2029; the bill calls for the set-asides to start at 15.5 percent starting in FY2023.  In the most recent year, about 13-14 percent of all funds went to such institutions.  

A section-by-section of the summary is available here.

The proponents of the legislation hope that the House will take it up before recessing for August this Friday.