Sending Office: Committee on Science and Technology – Minority Staff
Sent By:


Request for Cosponsor(s)

Deadline Next Wednesday (May 17th)

Help Engage the Innovative Talent of All Americans

Be an Original Cosponsor of the

STEM Opportunities Act of 2017

May 12, 2017

Current co-sponsors:

Foster, Peters, Norton, Takano, Clark, Bonamici, Tonko, Price, Esty,
Lofgren, Rosen,
Perlmutter, Slaughter, Grijalva, Lieu, Davis, Kilmer


Dear Colleague:

I hope you will join me in becoming a cosponsor the
STEM Opportunities Act of 2017
. Many reports over the past decade have found that it is critical to our Nation’s economic leadership and global competitiveness that we educate and train more scientists and engineers. In the meantime, research shows that
women and underrepresented minorities, who by 2050 will comprise more than 50 percent of our population, are disproportionately lost at every transition point in their STEM studies and research careers. As a Nation, we cannot afford to continue hemorrhaging
so much talent.

Federal agencies, colleges and universities, local and state governments, industry, and non-profit STEM education providers and funders must all collaborate to increase opportunities for women and minorities in STEM. As Congress,
our first responsibility is to ensure that the federal agencies are doing their part. In 2015, the GAO released a report (GAO-15-358) that found that three federal agencies, which collectively provide $3 billion in research funding to our nation’s colleges
and universities, were failing to collect demographic data for recipients of federal research grants that is necessary to determine whether gender discrimination is a factor in the distribution of federal research grants, even while other agencies were doing
so for years. Since then, at least two of the agencies have made progress. However, my legislation would help ensure that all federal science agencies meet the same standards for ensuring transparency and fairness in the grant-making process.

Specifically, the STEM Opportunities Act:

Requires federal science agencies to collect more comprehensive demographic data on the recipients of federal research awards and on STEM faculty at U.S. universities (while protecting individuals’ privacy);

Promotes data-driven research on the participation and trajectories of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM so that policy makers can design more effective policies and practices to reduce barriers,

Develops, through the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), consistent federal policies, such as no-cost extensions and flexibility in timing for the initiation of the award, for recipients of federal research awards who have
caregiving responsibilities, including care for a newborn or newly adopted child and care for an immediate family member who is sick;

Develops, through OSTP, consistent federal guidance to grant reviewers and program officers on best practices to minimize the effects of implicit bias in the review of federal research grants;

Requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and disseminate guidance to universities to aid them in identifying any cultural and institutional barriers limiting the recruitment, retention, and achievement of women and minorities
in academic and government STEM research careers and developing and implementing current best practices for reducing such barriers;

Requires OSTP to develop and issue similar guidance to all federal laboratories; and

Authorizes NSF to award grants to universities to implement or expand research-based practices targeted specifically to increasing the recruitment and retention of minority students and faculty.

We need solutions that we know work. By helping to implement what we know now while promoting research to improve our policies and practices in the future, we can start to make a dent in the unacceptable levels
of attrition experienced in STEM degree programs and research careers. This legislation is primarily targeted at female and underrepresented minority students and faculty who have already expressed an interest in and affinity for STEM. Let’s make sure we keep
all of our talent in the STEM pipeline so they can continue to discover and innovate for the benefit of us all.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this important bill. For additional information or to be a cosponsor, please contact Sara Barber with the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee at 5-6375 or


Eddie Bernice Johnson

Ranking Member
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology



Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Education, Science

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