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Policy Priorities: Current ACS Position Statements

by Susan J. Ainsworth
February 28, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 9

All statements are available online at All funding statements are related to fiscal 2011, unless otherwise indicated.

Fostering Innovation Through Research & Technology

Business Climate: Supports reforms of the U.S. patent
and intellectual property framework that promote innovation. Supports policies
designed to improve technology transfer and commercialization of breakthroughs spurred by federal research investments.

Department of Defense (funding): Supports funding of at least $1.998 billion for basic research. Expresses concern about the proposed decline in the overall science and technology portfolio, particularly for applied research and advanced technology development.

Department of Energy (funding): Supports a 4.4% increase of $217 million for the Office of Science.

Energy Science & Technology: Provides a framework for government, industry, and academia to develop a comprehensive energy science and technology policy.

Environmental Protection Agency (funding): Supports Office of Research & Development funding to return to $646 million. Calls for a return to the $110 million funding level for Science to Achieve Results extramural research and fellowship programs.

Innovation & Competitiveness: Supports investment in a talented workforce through education and training, long-term commitments to basic research and technology development, and the development of a sustainable infrastructure for innovation.

National Institute of Standards & Technology (funding): Supports, at a minimum, a proposed 7.2% increase to $919 million for the core programs. Calls for a 15.7% increase to $575 million for NIST laboratories. Supports funding the Technology Innovation Program at the authorized level of $140.5 million.

National Institutes of Health (funding): Supports funding of $32.1 billion, representing a 3.2% increase.

National Science Foundation (funding): Supports a minimum 8.0% increase to $7.4 billion. Supports funding for the NSF Math & Science Partnership program to approach the authorized level of $123 million.

Patent Reform: Supports comprehensive reform of the U.S. patent system with 10 detailed recommendations.

Science & Technology in the Fiscal-Year 2012 Budget: Supports predictable and sustainable increases for the basic science agencies and cautions the Administration to focus on the long-term benefits of basic research rather than short-term economic impacts such as immediate job creation. Makes specific recommendations for seven agencies.


Computer Simulations: Says computer simulations that mimic laboratory procedures have the potential to be a useful supplement to student hands-on activities but not a substitute for them.

Department of Education (funding): Supports $477.3 million for four new education initiatives focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Employment Nondiscrimination: Recommends federal legislation to extend employment discrimination protection to include sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity.

Evolution: Supports teaching of evolution and opposes alternative, nonscientific theories in the science classroom. Urges states and localities to support high-quality science standards and curricula.

Health Care Policy: Supports access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans and sets out broad principles to guide policy on association health care plans and other health care options.

Science Education: Supports modernizing learning environments and strengthening STEM teacher education programs, and encourages student research opportunities.


Public Access: Supports using publishing models that are sustainable and provide universal access to scientific research. Supports the 10 principles outlined in the "Brussels Declaration on STM Publishing," a document set forth by the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers.

Scientific Freedom: Advocates freedom of scientific exchange and stronger scientific collaboration to benefit humankind.

Visa Restrictions: Supports timely screening for visiting scientists and students. Commits to assisting federal agencies with technical expertise.


Biomonitoring: Supports collection of biomonitoring data to better identify, understand, and communicate the potential environmental and human health risks associated with chemical exposures. Encourages continued development of biomonitoring methodology for tracking the fate of chemicals, their exposure pathways and uptake mechanisms, and trends in human exposures.

Climate: Reviews the science and recommends action on reducing greenhouse gases as well as adaptation strategies for dealing with climate change. Encourages continued research and funding into the effects of climate change, while emphasizing the importance of educating the public on this issue.

Chemicals Management: Addresses issues of public confidence, risk assessment, the responsibilities of industry, and sustainability. Makes specific recommendations on incorporation of green chemistry principles; data, testing, and exemptions; and the education and training of chemical scientists.

Endocrine Disruption: Endorses expanded endocrine disrupter education and research and the development of more effective science-based decision-making tools and methods for reducing and eliminating exposures of humans and the environment.

Inherently Safer Technology: Endorses federal support for developing IST and greater use of IST in reducing risk.

Regulation of Laboratory Waste: Reviews the pitfalls of regulations intended for large-scale chemical manufacturing being applied to laboratories.

Scientific Insight & Integrity: Supports the use of insightful and comprehensive scientific and engineering research and analysis to assist the development and evaluation of policy options. Encourages policies—including transparency, openness, empowerment of scientists inside and outside of government, and an appropriate scientific advisory system—that help the government obtain and apply scientific assessments.

Sustainability of the Chemical Enterprise: Defines the concept of sustainability in the context of the chemical enterprise. Supports government incentives for sustainable technologies, including regulatory flexibility, tax incentives, and research support.



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