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Research Funding

Biden includes opportunities for chemists in first speech to Congress

by Jyllian Kemsley
April 29, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 16

Photo of Joe Biden as he was giving a speech to a joint session of Congress.
Credit: Michael Reynolds/POOL via CNP/INSTARimages/Cover Images/Newscom
US president Joe Biden opened his speech to Congress saying he'd talk about "crisis and opportunity."

Amid discussion of jobs, infrastructure, education, climate change, health care, national security, and equality, US president Joe Biden laid out several opportunities for scientists in his first address to Congress on April 28. He pointed to “advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips, and clean energy” as areas where the US must “develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future” given competition from China and other countries. He also discussed setting up an advanced research project agency within the National Institutes of Health “to develop breakthroughs to prevent, detect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer.” His recently proposed budget includes funding increases for science agencies that would help pay for such initiatives. In his speech, Biden suggested that he wants to boost federal R&D spending from less than 1% to 2% of US gross domestic product. But whether he has the political support to accomplish these goals remains an open question.


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