Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) together introduced H.R. 2528, the STEM Opportunities Act. This legislation requires more comprehensive demographic data collection on the recipients of federal research awards and on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty at U.S. universities; the development of consistent federal policies, such as no-cost award extensions, for recipients of federal research awards who have caregiving responsibilities; consistent federal guidance to grant reviewers and program officers on best practices to minimize the effects of implicit bias in the review of federal research grants; requires OSTP to develop guidance for universities and Federal laboratories to aid them in identifying any cultural and institutional barriers limiting the recruitment, retention, and achievement of women, minorities, rural students, and other underrepresented groups in academic and government STEM research careers and in developing and implementing current best practices for reducing such barriers; and authorizes NSF to award grants to universities to implement or expand research-based practices targeted specifically at increasing the recruitment and retention of minority students and faculty.
“I am delighted to be reintroducing this bill with my good friend and Ranking Member of the Science Committee, Frank Lucas,” said Chairwoman Johnson. “The goal of our legislation is to develop and implement evidence-based policies to promote the progress of women, minorities, and other groups underrepresented in STEM studies and research careers. The need for full engagement in STEM by women and underrepresented groups goes beyond enabling individuals to fulfill their dreams of becoming a scientist. Our economic future relies on what we do now to nurture the STEM talent that will be necessary to meet the demands of an increasingly technological and knowledge-based economy.”
“Chairwoman Johnson and I share a commitment to developing a diverse and strong STEM workforce that drives American competitiveness in science and technology,” said Ranking Member Lucas. “Better demographic data on the students, researchers, and faculty receiving federal grants will help us identify and reduce barriers that prevent underrepresented groups from entering and advancing in STEM fields. Our bill also focuses specifically on enhancing computer science education at Tribal Colleges and Universities, which will increase STEM opportunities and career prospects for American Indian and Alaska Native students. I appreciate all that Chairwoman Johnson has done to promote a diverse STEM workforce. I’m looking forward to working with her to move the STEM Opportunities Act and other STEM legislation for rural students and more in the coming year.”
A full committee hearing on this legislation will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at 10 a.m. in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.