CRA commends President-elect Biden for his announcement today that the Presidential Science Advisor will be a member of the Cabinet for the first time in history. We applaud his commitment that “science will always be at the forefront” of his administration, and we look forward to working with the highly talented and qualified team of advisors he named today. We are confident they will contribute a strong scientific voice to the myriad challenges facing our country.
CRA Government Affairs
Posts categorized under: Policy
President-elect Joe Biden announced today he intends to nominate Dr. Eric Lander, biologist and former leader of the Human Genome Project, to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and serve as the Presidential Science Advisor.
Last week the long awaited conferenced National Defense Authorization Act (or NDAA; the defense policy bill) was publicly released. Regular readers will recall that earlier in the year that the House Science Committee’s National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (HR 6216) was included in the House version of the NDAA. At that time, there was no equivalent in the Senate NDAA and it was unclear if it would survive the conference negotiations. Fortunately, the AI Initiative Act was included in the conference agreement released last week.
November 3rd has passed, but the 2020 Presidential Election is ongoing. While there are quite a lot of unknowns, not least of which is who was elected President, there are some things that we know right now. Additionally, we can point to some key races that are still undecided. What does this mean for federally supported research here in Washington? Let’s get into the details.
[This article originally appeared in the CRA Bulletin.]
Today the Computing Research Association (CRA) released the first of more than a dozen planned white papers produced through its subcommittees, exploring areas and issues around computing research with the potential to address national priorities over the next four years. Called Quadrennial Papers, the white papers attempt to portray a broad picture of computing research detailing potential research directions, challenges, and recommendations for policymakers and the computing research community. The release of the 2020 Quadrennial Papers covers five thematic areas: Core Computer Science, Broad Computing, Socio-Technical Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and Diversity & Education.
The Trump Administration continues to issue regulatory rule changes that impact the US higher education and research communities. Regular readers of the Policy Blog will recall that earlier this year the Administration issued multiple proclamations and other policy changes, with regard to legal immigration that impacted the US research community in some way. While the Administration backed off in some of these instances, they never did so completely; in fact, the rhetoric and desire to make lasting changes to the American immigration system remained.
In case you missed it — the CCC Blog has coverage of National Science Foundation’s recently announcement “establishing new artificial intelligence institutes to accelerate research, expand America’s workforce, and transform society in the decades to come.” This move is in line with one of the recommendations in the CCC-led AI roadmap report, A 20-Year Community Roadmap for AI Research in the US. This is great news; and, when combined with the efforts in Congress to bolster AI research — including adding the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 to the House National Defense Authorization Act, which is a piece of “must pass” legislation — signals that AI research is likely to stay a hot-topic in Washington for some time. Keep checking back for more updates.
There has been a flurry of activity over the last few weeks on a number of AI related pieces of legislation in Congress.
The Trump Administration on Tuesday reserved course and rescinded its change that would have stripped visas from international students whose courses move exclusively online during the pandemic.
CRA believes this policy is ill-conceived, cruel and will damage the U.S. research ecosystem greatly, perhaps for years to come. The uncertainty created by this policy, and by the other immigration policy decisions restricting other foreign students and researchers issued over the last several weeks, will certainly discourage more of the best minds in the world from studying and researching in the U.S., to our great detriment.