Innovation bill clears House, heads to president

In a surprising turn of events, the House managed to pass a compromise version of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA) before year's end, sending the bill to the President for signature and enabling it to become law. The AICA is the newest version of America COMPETES Act which authoirzes the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The bill does not authorize a particular budget number for federal research agencies, but does contain several provisions of interest to the science community, including a reaffirmation of NSF’s merit-based review process, a section aimed at reducing the administrative burdens facing researchers, and the encouragement of federal agencies to engage citizens in science. The scientific community was largely complimentary of the final outcome of a years-long negotiation that ultimately resulted in a bipartisan agreement. Read the statement on the passage of the AICA by the Coalition for National Science Funding, of which ASA, CSSA and SSSA are members.