Washington, D.C. — Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today convened the Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s first hearing of the 113th Congress, examining the outlook for America’s science and technology enterprise.  The hearing focused on the impact of research and development (R&D) on the lives of the American people and examined policies to ensure the U.S. remains the leader in innovation.

Chairman Lamar Smith: “America’s ability to compete depends on whether we have the present vision to conduct the science that will define the future.  Americans have always been innovators and explorers.  Our ancestors crossed oceans, opened frontiers and ventured to explore a new continent and even travel to the Moon. 

“Other nations are changing their policies to become more competitive, and so should we.  Fortunately, blazing trails into new frontiers is what America has always done best.  Members of this Committee have the opportunity to work together on policies that will help America stay competitive.  Today’s hearing is a first step.”

Witnesses discussed the roles of public versus private investments in R&D and how those investments can make the greatest impact.  Industry currently accounts for over 60 percent of America’s R&D investment, a large majority of which goes towards demonstration projects.  By contrast, the federal government funds a majority of basic research, characterized by longer-term activities that industry cannot afford due to the higher risks and expenses. The federal government supports approximately $140 billion annually in R&D.

The Science, Space, and Technology Committee will continue to take the lead on legislation to provide direction on federal R&D spending and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

The following witnesses testified:

Mr. Richard Templeton, President and CEO, Texas Instruments

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dr. Charles Vest, President, National Academy of Engineering