The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Office of Congressional and government Affairs
At A Glance
 
 
Public Law
: American Innovation and Competitiveness Act
: 114-329
Session: 114th 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 of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

S3084 Gardner (R-Colo.) 12/16/16
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)
To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States.
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TITLE I—MAXIMIZING BASIC RESEARCH

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SEC. 103. EPSCOR REAFFIRMATION AND UPDATE.

(a) Findings.—Section 517(a) of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 1862p-9(a)) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)—

(A) by striking “The National” and inserting “the National”; and

(B) by striking “education,” and inserting “education”;

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking “with 27 States” and all that follows through the semicolon at the end and inserting “with 28 States and jurisdictions, taken together, receiving only about 12 percent of all National Science Foundation research funding;”;

(3) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

“(3) each of the States described in paragraph (2) receives only a fraction of 1 percent of the Foundation’s research dollars each year;”; and

(4) by adding at the end the following:

“(4) first established at the National Science Foundation in 1979, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (referred to in this section as ‘EPSCoR’) assists States and jurisdictions historically underserved by Federal research and development funding in strengthening their research and innovation capabilities;

“(5) the EPSCoR structure requires each participating State to develop a science and technology plan suited to State and local research, education, and economic interests and objectives;

“(6) EPSCoR has been credited with advancing the research competitiveness of participating States, improving awareness of science, promoting policies that link scientific investment and economic growth, and encouraging partnerships between government, industry, and academia;

“(7) EPSCoR proposals are evaluated through a rigorous and competitive merit-review process to ensure that awarded research and development efforts meet high scientific standards; and

“(8) according to the National Academy of Sciences, EPSCoR has strengthened the national research infrastructure and enhanced the educational opportunities needed to develop the science and engineering workforce.”.

(b) Sense of Congress.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—It is the sense of Congress that—

(A) since maintaining the Nation’s scientific and economic leadership requires the participation of talented individuals nationwide, EPSCoR investments into State research and education capacities are in the Federal interest and should be sustained; and

(B) EPSCoR should maintain its experimental component by supporting innovative methods for improving research capacity and competitiveness.

(2) DEFINITION OF EPSCOR.—In this subsection, the term “EPSCoR” has the meaning given the term in section 502 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 1862p note).

(c) Award Structure Updates.—Section 517 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 1862p-9) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(g) Award Structure Updates.—In implementing the mandate to maximize the impact of Federal EPSCoR support on building competitive research infrastructure, and based on the inputs and recommendations of previous EPSCoR reviews, the head of each Federal agency administering an EPSCoR program shall—

“(1) consider modifications to EPSCoR proposal solicitation, award type, and project evaluation—

“(A) to more closely align with current agency priorities and initiatives;

“(B) to focus EPSCoR funding on achieving critical scientific, infrastructure, and educational needs of that agency;

“(C) to encourage collaboration between EPSCoR-eligible institutions and researchers, including with institutions and researchers in other States and jurisdictions;

“(D) to improve communication between State and Federal agency proposal reviewers; and

“(E) to continue to reduce administrative burdens associated with EPSCoR;

“(2) consider modifications to EPSCoR award structures—

“(A) to emphasize long-term investments in building research capacity, potentially through the use of larger, renewable funding opportunities; and

“(B) to allow the agency, States, and jurisdictions to experiment with new research and development funding models; and

“(3) consider modifications to the mechanisms used to monitor and evaluate EPSCoR awards—

“(A) to increase collaboration between EPSCoR-funded researchers and agency staff, including by providing opportunities for mentoring young researchers and for the use of Federal facilities;

“(B) to identify and disseminate best practices; and

“(C) to harmonize metrics across participating Federal agencies, as appropriate.”.

(d) Reports.—

(1) CONGRESSIONAL REPORTS.—Section 517 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 1862p-9), as amended, is further amended—

(A) by striking subsection (c);

(B) by redesignating subsections (d) through (g) as subsections (c) through (f), respectively;

(C) in subsection (c), as redesignated—

(i) in paragraph (1), by striking “Experimental Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research” and inserting “EPSCoR”; and

(ii) in paragraph (2)—

(I) in subparagraphs (A) and (E), by striking “EPSCoR and Federal EPSCoR-like programs” and inserting “each EPSCoR”;

(II) in subparagraph (D), by striking “EPSCoR and other Federal EPSCoR-like programs” and inserting “each EPSCoR”;

(III) in subparagraph (E), by striking “EPSCoR or Federal EPSCoR-like programs” and inserting “each EPSCoR”; and

(IV) in subparagraph (G), by striking “EPSCoR programs” and inserting “each EPSCoR”; and

(D) by amending subsection (d), as redesignated, to read as follows:

“(d) Federal Agency Reports.—Each Federal agency that administers an EPSCoR shall submit to Congress, 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 fiscal year, including—

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

“(B) the total amount of agency funding made available to all institutions and entities within each EPSCoR State;

“(C) the efforts and accomplishments to more fully integrate the EPSCoR States in major agency activities and initiatives;

“(D) the percentage of EPSCoR reviewers from EPSCoR States; and

“(E) 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 over the last 5 fiscal years.”; and

(E) in subsection (e)(1), as redesignated, by striking “Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research or a program similar to the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research” and inserting “EPSCoR”.

(2) RESULTS OF AWARD STRUCTURE PLAN.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the EPSCoR Interagency Coordinating Committee shall brief the appropriate committees of Congress on the updates made to the award structure under 517(f) of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 1862p-9(f)), as amended by this subsection.

(e) Definition of EPSCoR.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 502 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 1862p note) is amended by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:

“(2) EPSCOR.—The term ‘EPSCoR’ means—

“(A) the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research established by the Foundation; or

“(B) a program similar to the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research at another Federal agency.”.

(2) TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.—Section 113 of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 1862g) is amended—

(A) in the heading, by striking “experimental ” and inserting “established ”;

(B) in subsection (a), by striking “an Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research” and inserting “a program to stimulate competitive research (known as the ‘Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research’)”; and

(C) in subsection (b), by striking “the program” and inserting “the Program”.

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SEC. 107. LABORATORY PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS.

(a) In General.—The Director of NIST, acting through the Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, shall develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan for laboratory programs that expands—

(1) interactions with academia, international researchers, and industry; and

(2) commercial and industrial applications.

(b) Optimizing Commercial and Industrial Applications.—In accordance with the purpose under section 1(b)(3) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 271(b)(3)), the comprehensive strategic plan shall—

(1) include performance metrics for the dissemination of fundamental research results, measurements, and standards research results to industry, including manufacturing, and other interested parties;

(2) document any positive benefits of research on the competitiveness of the interested parties described in paragraph (1);

(3) clarify the current approach to the technology transfer activities of NIST; and

(4) consider recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences.


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SEC. 112. MANAGEMENT OF THE U.S. ANTARCTIC PROGRAM.

(a) Review.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Director of the Foundation shall continue to review the efforts by the Foundation to sustain and strengthen scientific efforts in the face of logistical challenges for the United States Antarctic Program.

(2) ISSUES TO BE EXAMINED.—In conducting the review, the Director shall examine, at a minimum, the following:

(A) Implementation by the Foundation of issues and recommendations identified by—

(i) the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation in audit reports and memoranda on the United States Antarctic Program in the last 4 years;

(ii) the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel report, More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness, issued July 23, 2012; and

(iii) the National Research Council report, Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, issued September 2011.

(B) Efforts by the Foundation to track its progress in addressing the issues and recommendations under subparagraph (A).

(C) Efforts by the Foundation to address other opportunities and challenges, including efforts on scientific research, coordination with other Federal agencies and international partners, logistics and transportation, health and safety of participants, oversight and financial management of awardees and contractors, and resources and policy challenges.

(b) Briefing.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall brief the appropriate committees of Congress on the ongoing review, including findings and any recommendations.


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SEC. 116. RESEARCH REPRODUCIBILITY AND REPLICATION.

(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the gold standard of good science is the ability of a researcher or research laboratory to reproduce a published research finding, including methods;

(2) there is growing concern that some published research findings cannot be reproduced or replicated, which can negatively affect the public’s trust in science;

(3) there are a complex set of factors affecting reproducibility and replication; and

(4) the increasing interdisciplinary nature and complexity of scientific research may be a contributing factor to issues with research reproducibility and replication.

(b) Report.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Foundation shall enter into an agreement with the National Research Council—

(A) to assess research and data reproducibility and replicability issues in interdisciplinary research;

(B) to make recommendations for improving rigor and transparency in scientific research; and

(C) to submit to the Director of the Foundation a report on the assessment, including its findings and recommendations, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2) SUBMISSION TO CONGRESS.—Not later than 60 days after the date the Director of the Foundation receives the report under paragraph (1)(C), the Director shall submit the report to the appropriate committees of Congress, including a response from the Director of the Foundation and the Chair of the National Science Board as to whether they agree with each of the findings and recommendations in the report.


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TITLE III—SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH EDUCATION


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SEC. 303. STEM EDUCATION ADVISORY PANEL.

(a) Establishment.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment this Act, the Director of the Foundation, Secretary of Education, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall jointly establish an advisory panel (referred to in this section as the “STEM Education Advisory Panel”) to advise the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council (referred to in this section as “CoSTEM”) on matters relating to STEM education.

(b) Members.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The STEM Education Advisory Panel shall be composed of not less than 11 members.

(2) APPOINTMENT.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (B), the Director of the Foundation, in consultation with the Secretary of Education and the heads of the Federal science agencies, shall appoint the members of the STEM Education Advisory Panel.

(B) CONSIDERATION.—In selecting individuals to appoint under subparagraph (A), the Director of the Foundation shall seek and give consideration to recommendations from Congress, industry, the scientific community, including the National Academy of Sciences, scientific professional societies, academia, State and local governments, organizations representing individuals identified in section 33 or section 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a, 1885b), and such other organizations as the Director considers appropriate.

(C) QUALIFICATIONS.—Members shall—

(i) primarily be individuals from academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and industry, including in-school, out-of-school, and informal education practitioners; and

(ii) be individuals who are qualified to provide advice and information on STEM education research, development, training, implementation, interventions, professional development, or workforce needs or concerns.

(c) Responsibilities.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The STEM Education Advisory Panel shall—

(A) advise CoSTEM;

(B) periodically assess CoSTEM’s progress in carrying out its responsibilities under section 101(b) of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 6621(b)); and

(C) help identify any need or opportunity to update the strategic plan under section 101(b) of that Act.

(2) CONSIDERATIONS.—In its advisory role, the STEM Education Advisory Panel shall consider—

(A) the management, coordination, and implementation of STEM education programs and activities across the Federal Government;

(B) the appropriateness of criteria used by Federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of Federal STEM education programs and activities;

(C) whether societal and workforce concerns are adequately addressed by current Federal STEM education programs and activities;

(D) how Federal agencies can incentivize institutions of higher education to improve retention of STEM students;

(E) ways to leverage private and nonprofit STEM investments and encourage public-private partnerships to strengthen STEM education and help build the STEM workforce pipeline;

(F) ways to incorporate workforce needs into Federal STEM education programs and activities, particularly for specific employment fields of national interest and employment fields experiencing high unemployment rates;

(G) ways to better vertically and horizontally integrate Federal STEM education programs and activities from pre-kindergarten through graduate study and the workforce, and from in-school to out-of-school in order to improve transitions for students moving through the STEM education and workforce pipelines;

(H) the extent to which Federal STEM education programs and activities are contributing to recruitment and retention of individuals identified in sections 33 and 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a, 1885b) in the STEM education and workforce pipelines; and

(I) ways to encourage geographic diversity in the STEM education and the workforce pipelines.

(3) RECOMMENDATIONS.—The STEM Education Advisory Panel shall make recommendations to improve Federal STEM education programs and activities based on each assessment under paragraph (1)(B).

(d) Funding.—The Director of the Foundation, the Secretary of Education, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall jointly make funds available on an annual basis to support the activities of the STEM Education Advisory Panel.

(e) Reports.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and after each assessment under subsection (c)(1)(B), the STEM Education Advisory Panel shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress and CoSTEM a report on its assessment under that subsection and its recommendations under subsection (c)(3).

(f) Travel Expenses of Non-Federal Members.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Non-Federal members of the STEM Education Advisory Panel, while attending meetings of the panel or while otherwise serving at the request of a co-chairperson away from their homes or regular places of business, may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, for individuals in the Government serving without pay.

(2) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit members of the STEM Advisory Panel who are officers or employees of the United States from being allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with existing law.

(g) Termination.—The STEM Education Advisory Panel established under subsection (a) shall terminate on the date that is 5 years after the date that it is established.


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SEC. 306. NIST EDUCATION AND OUTREACH.

(a) Repeal.—The National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 271 et seq.) is amended by striking section 18 (15 U.S.C. 278g-1).

(b) Education and Outreach.—The National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 271 et seq.), as amended, is further amended by inserting after section 17, the following:

“SEC. 18. EDUCATION AND OUTREACH.

“(a) In General.—The Director is authorized to expend funds appropriated for activities of the Institute in any fiscal year, to support, promote, and coordinate activities and efforts to enhance public awareness and understanding of measurement sciences, standards and technology at the national measurement laboratories and otherwise in fulfillment of the mission of the Institute. The Director may carry out activities under this subsection, including education and outreach activities to the general public, industry and academia in support of the Institute’s mission.

“(b) Hiring.—The Director, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, may revise the procedures the Director applies when making appointments to laboratory positions within the competitive service—

“(1) to ensure corporate memory of and expertise in the fundamental ongoing work, and on developing new capabilities in priority areas;

“(2) to maintain high overall technical competence;

“(3) to improve staff diversity;

“(4) to balance emphases on the noncore and core areas; or

“(5) to improve the ability of the Institute to compete in the marketplace for qualified personnel.

“(c) Volunteers.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Director may establish a program to use volunteers in carrying out the programs of the Institute.

“(2) ACCEPTANCE OF PERSONNEL.—The Director may accept, subject to regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management, voluntary service for the Institute for such purpose if the service—

“(A) is to be without compensation; and

“(B) will not be used to displace any current employee or act as a substitute for any future full-time employee of the Institute.

“(3) FEDERAL EMPLOYEE STATUS.—Any individual who provides voluntary service under this subsection shall not be considered a Federal employee, except for purposes of chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code (relating to compensation for injury), and sections 2671 through 2680 of title 28, United States Code (relating to tort claims).

“(d) Research Fellowships.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Director may expend funds appropriated for activities of the Institute in any fiscal year, as the Director considers appropriate, for awards of research fellowships and other forms of financial and logistical assistance, including direct stipend awards to—

“(A) students at institutions of higher learning within the United States who show promise as present or future contributors to the mission of the Institute; and

“(B) United States citizens for research and technical activities of the Institute, including programs.

“(2) SELECTION CRITERIA.—The selection of persons to receive such fellowships and assistance shall be made on the basis of ability and of the relevance of the proposed work to the mission and programs of the Institute.

“(3) FINANCIAL AND LOGISTICAL ASSISTANCE.—Notwithstanding section 1345 of title 31, United States Code, or any other law to the contrary, the Director may include as a form of financial or logistical assistance under this subsection temporary housing and transportation to and from Institute facilities.

“(e) Educational Outreach Activities.—The Director may—

“(1) facilitate education programs for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and academic and industry employees;

“(2) sponsor summer workshops for STEM kindergarten through grade 12 teachers as appropriate;

“(3) develop programs for graduate student internships and visiting faculty researchers;

“(4) document publications, presentations, and interactions with visiting researchers and sponsoring interns as performance metrics for improving and continuing interactions with those individuals; and

“(5) facilitate laboratory tours and provide presentations for educational, industry, and community groups.”.

(c) Post-doctoral Fellowship Program.—Section 19 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278g-2) is amended to read as follows:

“SEC. 19. POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM.

“(a) In General.—The Institute and the National Academy of Sciences, jointly, shall establish and conduct a post-doctoral fellowship program, subject to the availability of appropriations.

“(b) Organization.—The post-doctoral fellowship program shall include not less than 20 new fellows per fiscal year.

“(c) Evaluations.—In evaluating applications for post-doctoral fellowships under this section, the Director of the Institute and the President of the National Academy of Sciences shall give consideration to the goal of promoting the participation of individuals identified in sections 33 and 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a, 1885b) in research areas supported by the Institute.”.

(d) Savings Clauses.—

(1) RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPS AND OTHER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO STUDENTS AT INSTITUTES OF HIGHER EDUCATION.—The repeal made by subsection (a) of this section shall not affect any award of a research fellowship or other form of financial assistance made under section 18 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278g-1) before the date of enactment of this Act. Such award shall continue to be subject to the requirements to which such funds were subject under that section before the date of enactment of this Act.

(2) POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM.—The amendment made by subsection (c) of this section shall not affect any award of a post-doctoral fellowship or other form of financial assistance made under section 19 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278g-2) before the date of enactment of this Act. Such awards shall continue to be subject to the requirements to which such funds were subject under that section before the date of enactment of this Act.


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TITLE VI—INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER


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SEC. 603. OPTICS AND PHOTONICS TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS.

(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The 1998 National Research Council Report, “Harnessing Light” presented a comprehensive overview on the importance of optics and photonics to various sectors of the United States economy.

(2) In 2012, in response to increased coordination and investment by other nations, the National Research Council released a follow up study recommending a national photonics initiative to increase collaboration and coordination among United States industry, Federal and State government, and academia to identify and further advance areas of photonics critical to regaining United States competitiveness and maintaining national security.

(3) Publicly-traded companies focused on optics and photonics in the United States enable more than $3 trillion in revenue annually.

(b) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) optics and photonics research and technologies promote United States global competitiveness in industry sectors, including telecommunications and information technology, energy, healthcare and medicine, manufacturing, and defense;

(2) Federal science agencies, industry, and academia should seek partnerships with each other to develop basic research in optics and photonics into more mature technologies and capabilities; and

(3) each Federal science agency, as appropriate, should—

(A) survey and identify optics and photonics-related programs within that Federal science agency and share results with other Federal science agencies for the purpose of generating multiple applications and uses;

(B) partner with the private sector and academia to leverage knowledge and resources to maximize opportunities for innovation in optics and photonics;

(C) explore research and development opportunities, including Federal and private sector-sponsored internships, to ensure a highly trained optics and photonics workforce in the United States;

(D) encourage partnerships between academia and industry to promote improvement in the education of optics and photonics technicians at the secondary school level, undergraduate level, and 2-year college level, including through the Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program; and

(E) assess existing programs and explore alternatives to modernize photonics laboratory equipment in undergraduate institutions in the United States to facilitate critical hands-on learning.

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SEC. 605. NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STUDY ON TECHNOLOGY FOR EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS ON CAMPUSES.

(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall enter into an arrangement with the National Research Council to conduct and complete a study to identify and review technologies employed at institutions of higher education to provide notifications to students, faculty, and other personnel during emergency situations in accordance with law.

(b) Contents.—The study shall address—

(1) the timeliness of notifications provided by the technologies during emergency situations;

(2) the durability of the technologies in delivering the notifications to students, faculty, and other personnel; and

(3) the limitations exhibited by the technologies to successfully deliver the notifications not more than 30 seconds after the institution of higher education transmits the notifications.

(c) Report Required.—Not later than 1 year after the date that the National Research Council enters into the arrangement under subsection (a), the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall submit to Congress a report on the study, including recommendations for addressing any limitations identified under subsection (b)(3).


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