May 27, 2015

APS Supports Alexander-Coons Senate Bill Authorizing Sustained, Reliable Energy Research Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society is pleased that U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) recently introduced a bill (S. 1398) that would put energy research on a path of sustained, reliable funding as a partial reauthorization of the 2010 America COMPETES Act.

The bipartisan legislation, which five additional senators are co-sponsoring, would bolster crucial energy programs in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science (SC) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). Moreover, the bill would nearly triple funding for SC’s Early Career and Distinguished Scientist Awards, enabling scientists to begin their lab careers and be recognized for outstanding research in their fields.

“The Senate legislation, while not as bold as I would prefer, is aspirational nonetheless and worthy of strong support by the scientific community,” said APS President Samuel Aronson.

In order to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, create clean energy and jobs for the future, APS has been urging lawmakers to make the necessary investment in long-term, scientific research. And APS believes the Alexander-Coons bill does just that. Investing in scientific research, APS notes, has proved invaluable to our nation’s economy. Since World War II, science and technology have contributed to more than half of the nation’s economic growth.

The Alexander-Coons bill is a partial reauthorization of earlier versions of the America COMPETES Act, which called for the doubling of funding of scientific research. By contrast, the recently passed House COMPETES bill strips funding from research that underpins America’s scientific enterprise, including DOE’s ARPA-E and energy efficiency programs, and the National Science Foundation’s geosciences and social, behavioral and economic research programs. “If we want to build a better America, we must make scientific research a priority,” said APS Director of Public Affairs Michael S. Lubell. APS strongly supports Senate Bill 1398, which seeks to accomplish that goal.

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world.