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Peters, Gardner Kick Off Discussions Aimed at Strengthening American Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), members of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, yesterday convened the first in a series of working group discussions on federal research and development (R&D) policy priorities. The topic of the initial meeting was “Maximizing the Impact of Basic Research.” Representatives from research universities, government advisory bodies, and non-profit research organizations participated in the informal discussion with Senators.

“Our research and development priorities drive innovation, directly contribute to our economic growth and strengthen American competitiveness,” said Peters, the group’s Democratic co-leader. “Our productive discussion brought together a variety of perspectives from the academic, business and nonprofit communities to help shape our basic research priorities and investments for the future and ensure America continues to lead the world in cutting-edge discoveries and advances.”

“This discussion was the first of many that will allow us to gather consensus from representatives from academia, business, nonprofit and government agencies that participate in research and development,” said Gardner, the Republican co-leader of the working group. “As we work toward strengthening and updating policies that keep America competitive, it is important that we receive input from the people who develop and implement cutting-edge research and development initiatives. I look forward to future discussions as they will help guide the debate on how to best unleash the power of American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Senators Peters and Gardner are leading a series of bipartisan working group meetings related to reauthorization of R&D policies. Planned meeting topics include (1) maximizing the impact of basic research; (2) improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education research and teaching practices for students; and (3) translating federal research results into innovative commercial applications for the benefit of the economy and society. Members of the public and interested groups seeking to provide input on the topic of “Maximizing the Impact of Basic Research” are invited and encouraged to submit responses to any of the following questions via Submissions are requested no later than Friday, August 21.

  1. What functions should the federal government, academia, and the private sector be encouraged to perform in driving the U.S. “innovation ecosystem” and how can they strengthen their partnerships to ensure the U.S. position as a global innovation leader?
  2. How can the federal government best structure, coordinate, and/or prioritize its R&D investment portfolio to provide predictability for research initiatives, facilitate the discovery of new knowledge, drive lasting economic growth, and address critical emerging challenges?
  3. What steps can the federal government take to maximize the research obtained for each dollar of federal investment?
  4. What principles should guide federal agencies in ensuring adequate transparency, oversight, and rigor in the process of funding, conducting, reviewing, and reproducing research?
  5. How can the results and value of federally-funded research be better communicated across the research community and to the private sector and general population?