ASM and Partners Call for Increased Funding for National Science Foundation

March 13, 2020

The American Society for Microbiology, along with other members of the Coalition for National Science Funding, is requesting a $9 billion appropriation for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal year 2021. ASM submitted the following letter to the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies on March 11, 2020.

Dear Chairman Moran, Ranking Member Shaheen, Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt:

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) – a broad-based group of professional organizations, universities, scientific societies and businesses – wants to thank Congress for its consistent support for fundamental scientific research and educational programs supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). As the only federal agency charged with the promotion of scientific progress across all scientific and engineering disciplines, NSF is the cornerstone of America’s basic research enterprise.

As you consider fiscal year 2021 appropriations, we ask that you provide at least a $9 billion appropriation for NSF.

NSF needs robust funding in FY21 to allow the United States to keep up with global investments around the world. The United States still led the world in total research and development investments in 2017; however, data indicated that China was on track to surpass the U.S. in 2019. According to the National Science Board’s 2020 Science and Engineering Indicators, “Increasingly, the United States is seen globally as an important leader rather than the uncontested leader.”

In addition to an urgent need to maintain U.S. global leadership in science and engineering, there are many other reasons to support the $9 billion request, including:
  • strengthen NSF’s core and interdisciplinary programs and address unmet needs represented by the more than $3 billion in high-quality proposals that are submitted each year but cannot be funded;
  • implement NSF’s 10 Big Ideas, NSF’s innovative long-term research agenda that aims to ensure future generations continue to reap the benefits of fundamental science and engineering research;
  • increase funding for critical priority technologies with major national security and economic implications including artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences, wireless research, engineering biology and advanced manufacturing;
  • support STEM education research that ensures our STEM ecosystem can effectively serve students and adapt to meet future workforce needs;
  • strengthen broadening participation efforts that connect underrepresented groups to STEM;
  • grow training and early career programs that enable future STEM innovators;
  • address massive unmet needs for mid-scale infrastructure projects, where NSF has received over $5 billion in proposals, many of which have potential transformational scientific impact; and
  • protect major research facilities that enable groundbreaking discoveries.

These categories fall short of describing the long-term dividends these investments produce. NSF funding results in direct benefits to national security, economic prosperity and overall quality of life in the United States. Critical technologies such as advanced communications, networking infrastructure, biosensors to combat addiction and low-cost tools for rural hospitals are just a few areas where this research gets translated into action.

With at least $9 billion, NSF would also be able to support an additional 50,000 researchers, students and teachers in FY21–a significant infusion of economic development, creativity and innovation through people.

We are pleased to join in celebrating NSF’s 70th anniversary this May and recognizing that NSF-funded research has proven essential to national security, economy and maintaining our global competitiveness for seven decades. Please support at least $9 billion for NSF in FY 2021 to allow for this incredible work to continue in the decades ahead.


The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF)

American Anthropological Association
American Association of Geographers
American Association of Physics Teachers
American Astronomical Society
American Educational Research Association
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
American Institute of Physics
American Mathematical Society
American Physical Society
American Physiological Society
American Psychological Association
American Society for Microbiology
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Sociological Association
American Statistical Association
Association for Psychological Science
Association for Women in Mathematics
Association for Women in Science
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of American Universities
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)
Biophysical Society
Boise State University
Boston University
Brandeis University
Brown University
California Institute of Technology
Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates
Computing Research Association
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Cornell University
Council on Undergraduate Research
Crop Science Society of America
Duke University
Ecological Society of America
Eversole Associates
Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences
Florida State University Forge Policy Solutions
Geological Society of America
George Mason University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
Indiana University
Lehigh University
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Linguistic Society of America
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mathematical Association of America
Michigan State University
Michigan Technological University
Mineralogical Society of America
Museum of Science, Boston
National Association of Marine Laboratories
National Communication Association
National Science Teachers Association
Northern Illinois University
Northwestern University
Population Association of America/Association of Population Centers
Princeton University
Psychonomic Society
PsySiP: Psychology of Science in Policy
Purdue University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
SAGE Publishing
Society for American Archaeology
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Society for Neuroscience
Society for Research in Child Development
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)
Soil Science Society of America
St. Louis University
State University of New York System (SUNY)
Stony Brook University
The Ohio State University
The Optical Society
Tufts University
University of California System
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Florida
University of Illinois
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
University of Nebraska
University of Pennsylvania
University of Wisconsin-Madison
US Ignite
Vanderbilt University
West Virginia University
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.