Among the handful of major legislative accomplishments in the nearly completed 117th Congress was the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which was signed into law by President Biden on August 9. Implementation of the Act is underway, with the newly-appointed CHIPS & Science Act Steering Council having convened on October 6. The Council includes the Secretaries of Commerce and the Treasury, as well as the Directors of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Management and Budget, along with senior officials from the Departments of Defense, Labor, Energy and State. [Find the White House summary of the Council meeting here.]
The Council meeting was focused on the “CHIPS” section of the Act, which aims to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity and address supply chain issues. NSF is tasked with advancing STEM training and education to ensure that the U.S. will have adequate ranks of skilled workers for the manufacturing side as well as trained engineers on the innovation side. About $200 million is being directed to this purpose.
Although the TIP directorate is intended to catalyze translational and “use-inspired” research, which can skew toward, for example, engineering solutions, it is conceived as a cross-cutting directorate that will engage with all of the research directorates, including SBE. At a recent briefing to representatives of the NSF stakeholder community Dr. Erwin Gianchandrani, the Assistant Director for TIP, affirmed that social sciences should play a role in some of the initiatives planned for TIP. However, much of the funding emanating from TIP will be pushed out not through traditional solicitations but rather through multi-sector partnerships.
Part of the TIP Directorate’s mission is to identify and support new approaches to major issues that broadly affect American society. Among the topics that Gianchandrani indicated will be priorities for TIP are two that are particularly relevant to the work of population scientists—namely, climate change and equity. However, thus far, there are few specifics on the scope or timing of funding opportunities related to these issues. PAA and APC’s government affairs staff will continue to track implementation closely to identify opportunities to engage with the new TIP directorate.