Chairman Cartwright Statement at The National Science Foundation's Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request Hearing

2021-04-14 10:12

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on The National Science Foundation's Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request:

Today we welcome the Director of the National Science Foundation, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan.

Dr. Panchanathan is relatively new to the National Science Foundation, having been confirmed to the Director position on June 18, 2020. 

Dr. Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and comes to this position having served as a leader in science, engineering, and education for more than 30 years. Prior to joining NSF, Dr. Panchanathan served as the executive vice president of the Arizona State University (ASU) Knowledge Enterprise, where he was also chief research and innovation officer. He was also the founder and director of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at ASU. In 2014, he was appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board, where he chaired the Committee on Strategy and served as a member of the External Engagement and National Science and Engineering Policy committees. 

As the Director of NSF, Dr. Panchanathan is funding work at the frontiers of science and cultivating the next generation of STEM leaders. His efforts will be critical not only for renewing America’s global leadership, but also for rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and creating family-sustaining American jobs in communities large and small.

Just as science will be key to our recovery, so too has it been key in our fight against COVID-19.  I applaud NSF for the more than 1,000 COVID-19 RAPID grants it’s awarded to help understand, combat, and recover from this pandemic. 

I want to thank all our scientists and researchers who cracked the code of the coronavirus and developed safe and effective vaccines. Science is getting us out of this pandemic faster than anyone could imagine possible.

Fittingly, the President’s discretionary request for fiscal year 2022 includes historic investments for NSF. In all, the budget proposes $10.17 billion for NSF, a 20 percent increase over the 2021 enacted level.  

I was pleased to see the proposed funding boost for research and development and plans to broaden the mission of NSF in order to accelerate the translation of basic research into new technologies in areas such as semiconductors and advanced computing, advanced communications technology, and advancements in energy and biotechnology. 

NSF will play a critical role in discovering and advancing new technologies, including those that will reduce emissions and create sustainable solutions. As someone who truly believes that climate change poses an existential threat to our planet, I was especially pleased to see that the President’s budget proposes essential investments in climate science, clean energy, and sustainability research. 

The $1.2 billion for advances in climate science and clean energy-related research would allow us to better understand the dynamics of the earth’s climate systems, its impacts, and how we can better help our communities and those across the globe to plan for a better future. 

The discretionary request also includes a 50 percent increase, or $100 million over the fiscal year 2021 enacted levels, for programs that aim to increase participation in STEM of underrepresented groups. America has incredible talent across our country, across socioeconomic and racial lines, in urban areas and rural areas.  Too often we have not fully utilized this talent, and not given enough opportunities and inspiration to young people who need it. Such investments, which grow our domestic STEM talent pool, are long overdue. 

Lastly, the investments included for construction of and upgrades to major NSF facilities, such as the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the McMurdo Station, illustrate the Administration’s commitment to NSF programs for science, the academic community, and the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, astronomers, and engineers across the country as they continue their important research.  

I am looking forward to the furtherance of innovation that will inevitably result in future scientific advancements. I am a strong supporter of NSF and its mission to “promote the progress of science” and prepare us for the technologies of tomorrow. 

Thank you once again, Dr. Panchanathan, for joining us today and I look forward to discussing the NSF’s fiscal year 2022 budget request with you

117th Congress