The ASBMB urges Congress to swiftly pass the CHIPS+ legislation with key science-related provisions

July 25, 2022

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) urges lawmakers to swiftly pass the CHIPS+ legislation. It contains many provisions previously endorsed by the ASBMB that are critical the bioeconomy, which makes up a significant and vital portion of the U.S. gross domestic product. Passage of CHIPS+ will bolster science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in America and help ensure that the U.S. research enterprise continues to thrive and compete on a global scale.

Section 10304 from the NSF for the Future Act: This provision will significantly increase the number of graduate research fellowships and improve training by instating mentorship plans, supporting career exploration and increasing inclusion. These policies are desperately needed to fortify the STEM workforce pipeline and ensure that it will continue to produce the skilled and talented workers needed to spur innovation.

Restore and Modernize Our National Labs Act: The national laboratories are the backbone of the U.S. research enterprise, employing over 40,000 researchers who conduct a significant portion of the nation’s scientific research. The $4 billion included in CHIPS+ will modernize and update national labs — changes desperately needed to make sure scientists have access to cutting-edge technologies.

Combatting Sexual Harassment in STEM Act: The CHIPS+ Act will release funds to develop preventative measures and response frameworks for addressing sexual and gender harassment in STEM. Considering that 50% of women and 19% of men in STEM have faced gender harassment, the scientific community and federal science agencies must do more. Including this language and funds in the CHIPS+ Act is an important step forward.

The STEM Opportunities Act: Diversity fosters excellence and innovation. Scientists who have varied life experiences provide different insights when faced with complex scientific questions. This bill included in CHIPS+ will facilitate the participation of historically marginalized groups in STEM. Notably, CHIPS+ contains language — for which the ASBMB advocated during its 2022 Hill Day  — that will extend caregiving flexibilities to trainees and not just their federally funded professors.

After many weeks of deliberation on the thousands of differences between USICA and COMPETES, the CHIPS+ legislation delivers a majority of the bipartisan and essential provisions to strengthen, diversify and modernize STEM research in the U.S.

The investments within to the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology will support further scientific and technological breakthroughs, advance America’s leadership in key technologies, bolster long-term economic growth, and provide the resources necessary to compete globally in the R&D sector.

The ASBMB endorses the CHIPS+ legislation and calls upon Congress to bring this legislation to a full vote as soon as possible.