The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Office of Congressional and government Affairs
At A Glance
Public Law
: America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010
: 111-358
Session: 111th Congress (Second Session)


The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain references to and studies for The National Academies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR5116 Gordon B. (D-Tenn.) 12/21/10
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)
To invest in innovation through research and development, to improve the competitiveness of the United States, and for other purposes.
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(a) In General.—The Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with the Secretary of Education, shall request the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the scientific workforce in the areas of oceanic and atmospheric research and development. The study shall investigate—

(1) whether there is a shortage in the number of individuals with advanced degrees in oceanic and atmospheric sciences who have the ability to conduct high quality scientific research in physical and chemical oceanography, meteorology, and atmospheric modeling, and related fields, for government, nonprofit, and private sector entities;

(2) what Federal programs are available to help facilitate the education of students hoping to pursue these degrees;

(3) barriers to transitioning highly qualified oceanic and atmospheric scientists into Federal civil service scientist career tracks;

(4) what institutions of higher education, the private sector, and the Congress could do to increase the number of individuals with such post baccalaureate degrees;

(5) the impact of an aging Federal scientist workforce on the ability of Federal agencies to conduct high quality scientific research; and

(6) what actions the Federal government can take to assist the transition of highly qualified scientists into Federal career scientist positions and ensure that the experiences of retiring Federal scientists are adequately documented and transferred prior to retirement from Federal service.

(b) Coordination.—The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Education shall consult with the heads of other Federal agencies and departments with oceanic and atmospheric expertise or authority in preparing the specifications for the study.

(c) Report.—No later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Education shall transmit a joint report to each committee of Congress with jurisdiction over the programs described in 4002(b) of the America COMPETES Act (33 U.S.C. 893a(b)), as amended by section 302 of this Act, detailing the findings and recommendations of the study and setting forth a prioritized plan to implement the recommendations.

(d) Program and Plan.—The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall evaluate the National Academy of Sciences study and develop a workforce program and plan to institutionalize the Administration’s Federal science career pathways and address aging workforce issues. The program and plan shall be developed in consultation with the Administration’s cooperative institutes and other academic partners to identify and implement programs and mechanisms to ensure that—

(1) sufficient highly qualified scientists are able to transition into Federal career scientist positions in the Administration’s laboratories and programs; and

(2) the technical and management experiences of senior employees are documented and transferred before leaving Federal service.





(a) Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program.—Section 19 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278g-2) is amended by striking “, in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences,”.

(b) Research Fellowships.—Section 18(a) of that Act (15 USC 278g-1(a)) is amended by striking “up to 1.5 percent of the”.

(c) Commerce, Science, and Technology Fellowship Program.—Section 5163(d) of the Omnibus Trade and Competition Act of 1988 (15 U.S.C. 1533) is repealed.





(a) Findings.—The Congress finds that—

(1) The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 stated, “it shall be an objective of the Foundation to strengthen research and education in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States, and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education,”;

(2) National Science Foundation funding remains highly concentrated, with 27 States and 2 jurisdictions, taken together, receiving only about 10 percent of all NSF research funding; each of these States received only a fraction of one percent of Foundation’s research dollars each year;

(3) the Nation requires the talent, expertise, and research capabilities of all States in order to prepare sufficient numbers of scientists and engineers, remain globally competitive and support economic development.

(b) Continuation of Program.—The Director shall continue to carry out EPSCoR, with the objective of helping the eligible States to develop the research infrastructure that will make them more competitive for Foundation and other Federal research funding. The program shall continue to increase as the National Science Foundation funding increases.

(c) Congressional Reports.—The Director shall report to the appropriate committees of Congress on an annual basis, using the most recent available data—

(1) the total amount made available, by State, under EPSCoR;

(2) the amount of co-funding made available to EPSCoR States;

(3) the total amount of National Science Foundation funding made available to all institutions and entities within EPSCoR States; and

(4) efforts and accomplishments to more fully integrate the 29 EPSCoR jurisdictions in major activities and initiatives of the Foundation.

(d) Coordination of EPSCoR and Similar Federal Programs.—

(1) Another finding.—The Congress finds that a number of Federal agencies have programs, such as Experimental Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research and the National Institutes of Health Institutional Development Award program, designed to increase the capacity for and quality of science and technology research and training at academic institutions in States that historically have received relatively little Federal research and development funding.

(2) Coordination required.—The EPSCoR Interagency Coordinating Committee, chaired by the National Science Foundation, shall—

(A) coordinate EPSCoR and Federal EPSCoR-like programs to maximize the impact of Federal support for building competitive research infrastructure, and in order to achieve an integrated Federal effort;

(B) coordinate agency objectives with State and institutional goals, to obtain continued non-Federal support of science and technology research and training;

(C) develop metrics to assess gains in academic research quality and competitiveness, and in science and technology human resource development;

(D) conduct a cross-agency evaluation of EPSCoR and other Federal EPSCoR-like programs and accomplishments, including management, investment, and metric-measuring strategies implemented by the different agencies aimed to increase the number of new investigators receiving peer-reviewed funding, broaden participation, and empower knowledge generation, dissemination, application, and national research and development competitiveness;

(E) coordinate the development and implementation of new, novel workshops, outreach activities, and follow-up mentoring activities among EPSCoR or EPSCoR-like programs for colleges and universities in EPSCoR States and territories in order to increase the number of proposals submitted and successfully funded and to enhance statewide coordination of EPSCoR and Federal EPSCoR-like programs;

(F) coordinate the development of new, innovative solicitations and programs to facilitate collaborations, partnerships, and mentoring activities among faculty at all levels in non-EPSCoR and EPSCoR States and jurisdictions;

(G) conduct an evaluation of the roles, responsibilities and degree of autonomy that program officers or managers (or the equivalent position) have in executing EPSCoR programs at the different Federal agencies and the impacts these differences have on the number of EPSCoR State and jurisdiction faculty participating in the peer review process and the percentage of successful awards by individual EPSCoR State jurisdiction and individual researcher; and

(H) conduct a survey of colleges and university faculty at all levels regarding their knowledge and understanding of EPSCoR, and their level of interaction with and knowledge about their respective State or Jurisdictional EPSCoR Committee.

(3) Meetings and reports.—The Committee shall meet at least twice each fiscal year and shall submit an annual report to the appropriate committees of Congress describing progress made in carrying out paragraph (2).

(e) Federal Agency Reports.—Each Federal agency that administers an EPSCoR or Federal EPSCoR-like program shall submit to the OSTP as part of its Federal budget submission—

(1) a description of the program strategy and objectives;

(2) a description of the awards made in the previous year, including—

(A) the percentage of reviewers and number of new reviewers from EPSCoR States;

(B) the percentage of new investigators from EPSCoR States;

(C) the number of programs or large collaborator awards involving a partnership of organizations and institutions from EPSCoR and non-EPSCoR States; and

(3) an analysis of the gains in academic research quality and competitiveness, and in science and technology human resource development, achieved by the program in the last year.

(f) National Academy of Sciences Study.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Director shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on all Federal agencies that administer an Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research or a program similar to the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

(2) MATTERS TO BE ADDRESSED.—The study conducted under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A) A delineation of the policies of each Federal agency with respect to the awarding of grants to EPSCoR States.

(B) The effectiveness of each program.

(C) Recommendations for improvements for each agency to achieve EPSCoR goals.

(D) An assessment of the effectiveness of EPSCoR States in using awards to develop science and engineering research and education, and science and engineering infrastructure within their States.

(E) Such other issues that address the effectiveness of EPSCoR as the National Academy of Sciences considers appropriate.



(a) In General.—Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the National Science Foundation shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences to initiate a study to evaluate, develop, or improve metrics for measuring the potential impact-on-society, including—

(1) the potential for commercial applications of research studies funded in whole or in part by grants of financial assistance from the Foundation or other Federal agencies;

(2) the manner in which research conducted at, and individuals graduating from, an institution of higher education contribute to the development of new intellectual property and the success of commercial activities;

(3) the quality of relevant scientific and international publications; and

(4) the ability of such institutions to attract external research funding.

(b) Report.—Within 1 year after initiating the study required by subsection (a), the Director shall submit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology setting forth the Director’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations.


The Director of the National Science Foundation may utilize funds appropriated to carry out grants to institutions of higher education (as such term is defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a))) to provide financial support for post-graduate research in fields with potential commercial applications to match, in whole or in part, any private sector grant of financial assistance to any post-doctoral program in such a field of study.


It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the Foundation should, in its planning for construction and stewardship of large facilities, coordinate and collaborate with other Federal agencies, including the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, to ensure that joint investments may be made when practicable;

(2) in particular, the Foundation should ensure that it responds to recommendations by the National Academy of Sciences and working groups convened by the National Science and Technology Council regarding such facilities and opportunities for partnership with other agencies in the design and construction of such facilities; and

(3) for facilities in which research in multiple disciplines will be possible, the Director should include multiple units within the Foundation during the planning process.





The Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.), as amended by section 602, is further amended by adding at the end thereof the following:


“(a) Establishment.—The Secretary shall establish a regional innovation program to encourage and support the development of regional innovation strategies, including regional innovation clusters and science and research parks.

‘(b) Cluster Grants.—

“(1) In general.—As part of the program established under subsection (a), the Secretary may award grants on a competitive basis to eligible recipients for activities relating to the formation and development of regional innovation clusters.

“(2) Permissible activities.—Grants awarded under this subsection may be used for activities determined appropriate by the Secretary, including the following:

“(A) Feasibility studies.

“(B) Planning activities.

“(C) Technical assistance.

“(D) Developing or strengthening communication and collaboration between and among participants of a regional innovation cluster.

“(E) Attracting additional participants to a regional innovation cluster.

“(F) Facilitating market development of products and services developed by a regional innovation cluster, including through demonstration, deployment, technology transfer, and commercialization activities.

“(G) Developing relationships between a regional innovation cluster and entities or clusters in other regions.

“(H) Interacting with the public and State and local governments to meet the goals of the cluster.

“(3) Eligible recipient defined.—In this subsection, the term ‘eligible recipient’ means—

“(A) a State;

“(B) an Indian tribe;

“(C) a city or other political subdivision of a State;

“(D) an entity that—

“(i) is a nonprofit organization, an institution of higher education, a public-private partnership, a science or research park, a Federal laboratory, or an economic development organization or similar entity; and

“(ii) has an application that is supported by a State or a political subdivision of a State; or

“(E) a consortium of any of the entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (D).

“(4) Application.—

“(A) In general.—An eligible recipient shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information and assurances as the Secretary may require.

“(B) Components.—The application shall include, at a minimum, a description of the regional innovation cluster supported by the proposed activity, including a description of—

“(i) whether the regional innovation cluster is supported by the private sector, State and local governments, and other relevant stakeholders;

“(ii) how the existing participants in the regional innovation cluster will encourage and solicit participation by all types of entities that might benefit from participation, including newly formed entities and those rival existing participants;

“(iii) the extent to which the regional innovation cluster is likely to stimulate innovation and have a positive impact on regional economic growth and development;

“(iv) whether the participants in the regional innovation cluster have access to, or contribute to, a well-trained workforce;

“(v) whether the participants in the regional innovation cluster are capable of attracting additional funds from non-Federal sources; and

“(vi) the likelihood that the participants in the regional innovation cluster will be able to sustain activities once grant funds under this subsection have been expended.

“(C) Special consideration.—The Secretary shall give special consideration to applications from regions that contain communities negatively impacted by trade.

“(5) Special consideration.—The Secretary shall give special consideration to an eligible recipient who agrees to collaborate with local workforce investment area boards.

“(6) Cost share.—The Secretary may not provide more than 50 percent of the total cost of any activity funded under this subsection.

“(7) Use and application of research and information program.—To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure that activities funded under this subsection use and apply any relevant research, best practices, and metrics developed under the program established in subsection (c).

“(c) Science and Research Park Development Grants.—

“(1) In general.—As part of the program established under subsection (a), the Secretary may award grants for the development of feasibility studies and plans for the construction of new science parks or the renovation or expansion of existing science parks.

“(2) Limitation on amount of grants.—The amount of a grant awarded under this subsection may not exceed $750,000.

“(3) Award.—

“(A) Competition required.—The Secretary shall award grants under this subsection pursuant to a full and open competition.

“(B) Geographic dispersion.—In conducting a competitive process, the Secretary shall consider the need to avoid undue geographic concentration among any one category of States based on their predominant rural or urban character as indicated by population density.

“(C) Selection criteria.—The Secretary shall publish the criteria to be utilized in any competition for the selection of recipients of grants under this subsection, which shall include requirements relating to the—

“(i) effect the science park will have on regional economic growth and development;

“(ii) number of jobs to be created at the science park and the surrounding regional community each year during its first 3 years;

“(iii) funding to be required to construct, renovate or expand the science park during its first 3 years;

“(iv) amount and type of financing and access to capital available to the applicant;

“(v) types of businesses and research entities expected in the science park and surrounding regional community;

“(vi) letters of intent by businesses and research entities to locate in the science park;

“(vii) capability to attract a well trained workforce to the science park;

“(viii) the management of the science park during its first 5 years;

“(ix) expected financial risks in the construction and operation of the science park and the risk mitigation strategy;

“(x) physical infrastructure available to the science park, including roads, utilities, and telecommunications;

“(xi) utilization of energy-efficient building technology including nationally recognized green building design practices, renewable energy, cogeneration, and other methods that increase energy efficiency and conservation;

“(xii) consideration to the transformation of military bases affected by the base realignment and closure process or the redevelopment of existing buildings, structures, or brownfield sites that are abandoned, idled, or underused into single or multiple building facilities for science and technology companies and institutions;

“(xiii) ability to collaborate with other science parks throughout the world;

“(xiv) consideration of sustainable development practices and the quality of life at the science park; and

“(xv) other such criteria as the Secretary shall prescribe.

“(4) Allocation constraints.—The Secretary may not allocate less than one-third of the total grant funding allocated under this section for any fiscal year to grants under subsection (b) or this subsection without written notification to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committees on Science and Technology and on Energy and Commerce.

“(d) Loan Guarantees for Science Park Infrastructure.—

“(1) In general.—Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may guarantee up to 80 percent of the loan amount for projects for the construction or expansion, including renovation and modernization, of science park infrastructure.

“(2) Limitations on guarantee amounts.—The maximum amount of loan principal guaranteed under this subsection may not exceed—

“(A) $50,000,000 with respect to any single project; and

“(B) $300,000,000 with respect to all projects.

“(3) Selection of guarantee recipients.—The Secretary shall select recipients of loan guarantees under this subsection based upon the ability of the recipient to collateralize the loan amount through bonds, equity, property, and such other things of values as the Secretary shall deem necessary. Recipients of grants under subsection (c) are not eligible for a loan guarantee during the period of the grant. To the extent that the Secretary determines it to be feasible, the Secretary may select recipients of guarantee assistance in accord with a competitive process that takes into account the factors set out in subsection (c)(3)(C) of this section.

“(4) Terms and conditions for loan guarantees.—The loans guaranteed under this subsection shall be subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe, except that—

“(A) the final maturity of such loans made or guaranteed may not exceed the lesser of—

“(i) 30 years; or

“(ii) 90 percent of the useful life of any physical asset to be financed by the loan;

“(B) a loan guaranteed under this subsection may not be subordinated to another debt contracted by the borrower or to any other claims against the borrowers in the case of default;

“(C) a loan may not be guaranteed under this subsection unless the Secretary determines that the lender is responsible and that provision is made for servicing the loan on reasonable terms and in a manner that adequately protects the financial interest of the United States;

“(D) a loan may not be guaranteed under this subsection if—

“(i) the income from the loan is excluded from gross income for purposes of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

“(ii) the guarantee provides significant collateral or security, as determined by the Secretary in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, for other obligations the income from which is so excluded;

“(E) any guarantee provided under this subsection shall be conclusive evidence that—

“(i) the guarantee has been properly obtained;

“(ii) the underlying loan qualified for the guarantee; and

“(iii) absent fraud or material misrepresentation by the holder, the guarantee is presumed to be valid, legal, and enforceable;

“(F) the Secretary may not extend credit assistance unless the Secretary has determined that there is a reasonable assurance of repayment; and

“(G) new loan guarantees may not be committed except to the extent that appropriations of budget authority to cover their costs are made in advance, as required under section 504 of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (2 U.S.C. 661c).

“(5) Payment of losses.—

“(A) In general.—If, as a result of a default by a borrower under a loan guaranteed under this subsection, after the holder has made such further collection efforts and instituted such enforcement proceedings as the Secretary may require, the Secretary determines that the holder has suffered a loss, the Secretary shall pay to the holder the percentage of the loss specified in the guarantee contract. Upon making any such payment, the Secretary shall be subrogated to all the rights of the recipient of the payment. The Secretary shall be entitled to recover from the borrower the amount of any payments made pursuant to any guarantee entered into under this section.

“(B) Enforcement of rights.—The Attorney General shall take such action as may be appropriate to enforce any right accruing to the United States as a result of the issuance of any guarantee under this section.

“(C) Forbearance.—Nothing in this section may be construed to preclude any forbearance for the benefit of the borrower which may be agreed upon by the parties to the guaranteed loan and approved by the Secretary, if budget authority for any resulting subsidy costs (as defined in section 502(5) of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990) is available.

“(6) Evaluation of credit risk.—

“(A) The Secretary shall periodically assess the credit risk of new and existing direct loans or guaranteed loans.

“(B) Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, the Comptroller General of the United States shall—

“(i) conduct a review of the subsidy estimates for the loan guarantees under this section; and

“(ii) submit to Congress a report on the review conducted under this paragraph.

“(7) Termination.—A loan may not be guaranteed under this section after September 30, 2013.

“(8) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated $7,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2013 for the cost (as defined in section 502(5) of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990) of guaranteeing $300,000,000 in loans under this section, such sums to remain available until expended.

“(e) Regional Innovation Research and Information Program.—

“(1) In general.—As part of the program established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall establish a regional innovation research and information program—

“(A) to gather, analyze, and disseminate information on best practices for regional innovation strategies (including regional innovation clusters), including information relating to how innovation, productivity, and economic development can be maximized through such strategies;

“(B) to provide technical assistance, including through the development of technical assistance guides, for the development and implementation of regional innovation strategies (including regional innovation clusters);

“(C) to support the development of relevant metrics and measurement standards to evaluate regional innovation strategies (including regional innovation clusters), including the extent to which such strategies stimulate innovation, productivity, and economic development; and

“(D) to collect and make available data on regional innovation cluster activity in the United States, including data on—

“(i) the size, specialization, and competitiveness of regional innovation clusters;

“(ii) the regional domestic product contribution, total jobs and earnings by key occupations, establishment size, nature of specialization, patents, Federal research and development spending, and other relevant information for regional innovation clusters; and

“(iii) supply chain product and service flows within and between regional innovation clusters.

“(2) Research grants.—The Secretary may award research grants on a competitive basis to support and further the goals of the program established under this subsection.

“(3) Dissemination of information.—Data and analysis compiled by the Secretary under the program established in this subsection shall be made available to other Federal agencies, State and local governments, and nonprofit and for-profit entities.

“(4) Regional innovation grant program.—The Secretary shall incorporate data and analysis relating to any grant under subsection (b) or (c) and any loan guarantee under subsection (d) into the program established under this subsection.

“(f) Interagency Coordination.—

“(1) In general.—To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure that the activities carried out under this section are coordinated with, and do not duplicate the efforts of, other programs at the Department of Commerce or other Federal agencies.

“(2) Collaboration.—

“(A) In general.—The Secretary shall explore and pursue collaboration with other Federal agencies, including through multiagency funding opportunities, on regional innovation strategies.

“(B) Small businesses.—The Secretary shall ensure that such collaboration with Federal agencies prioritizes the needs and challenges of small businesses.

“(g) Evaluation.—

“(1) In general.—Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, the Secretary shall enter into a contract with an independent entity, such as the National Academy of Sciences, to conduct an evaluation of the program established under subsection (a).

“(2) Requirements.—The evaluation shall include—

“(A) whether the program is achieving its goals;

“(B) any recommendations for how the program may be improved; and

“(C) a recommendation as to whether the program should be continued or terminated.

“(h) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) Regional innovation cluster.—The term ‘regional innovation cluster’ means a geographically bounded network of similar, synergistic, or complementary entities that—

“(A) are engaged in or with a particular industry sector;

“(B) have active channels for business transactions and communication;

“(C) share specialized infrastructure, labor markets, and services; and

“(D) leverage the region’s unique competitive strengths to stimulate innovation and create jobs.

“(2) Science park.—The term ‘Science park’ means a property-based venture, which has—

“(A) master-planned property and buildings designed primarily for private-public research and development activities, high technology and science-based companies, and research and development support services;

“(B) a contractual or operational relationship with one or more science- or research-related institution of higher education or governmental or non-profit research laboratories;

“(C) a primary mission to promote research and development through industry partnerships, assisting in the growth of new ventures and promoting innovation-driven economic development;

“(D) a role in facilitating the transfer of technology and business skills between researchers and industry teams; and

“(E) a role in promoting technology-led economic development for the community or region in which the science park is located.A science park may be owned by a governmental or not-for-profit entity, but it may enter into partnerships or joint ventures with for-profit entities for development or management of specific components of the park.

“(3) State.—The term ‘State’ means one of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or any other territory or possession of the United States.

“(i) Authorization of Appropriations.—Except as provided in subsection (d)(8), there are authorized to be appropriated $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2013 to carry out this section (other than for loan guarantees under subsection (d)).”.