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Biden administration releases R&D priorities memo for FY 2023 budget

September 09, 2021
By: Ashwin Shenoy

The Executive Office of the President released its first research and development memo at the end of August for fiscal year 2023. The memo is intended to provide instructions to agencies about the administration's priorities for R&D spending and activities, which should then be reflected in budget requests and agency activities. It highlights the research and development goals of the Biden administration in areas such as pandemic readiness, climate change mitigation, emerging technology, national security, public trust in STEM, and diversity and equity.

The memo emphasizes the need for pandemic readiness and prevention. It stresses that federal agencies should utilize R&D investments toward early warning systems, vaccine development and manufacturing, and diagnostic technologies — emphasizing the importance of being prepared for future pandemics and being able to monitor them in real-time, both domestically and internationally.

The Biden administration’s R&D goals related to energy suggest a shift towards focusing on sustainability and climate change with support for a 50 to 52 percent reduction in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by 2030, and achieving carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2035. They aim to do this via R&D investments into clean hydrogen advanced nuclear power, wind power, and sustainable biofuel. This also includes nature-based solutions for mitigating climate change and having agencies actively monitor greenhouse gas pollution reductions.

The Biden administration’s memo, authored by Shalanda D. Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Eric S. Lander, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, briefly addresses that agencies should promote commercialization as a priority for clean technology.

The new memo also calls for R&D focus towards developing a STEM workforce for the future while increasing access and opportunities related to STEM.

Another emphasis is utilizing R&D investment in a manner that promotes diversity and equity. The memo asks for agencies to take steps to ensure improvements in diversity and equity in the research workforce. The memo calls for increasing outreach to families for participation in STEM programs — especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities. This includes providing investments for smaller institutions, nonprofit STEM programs, and other non-traditional avenues of learning in order to make research and education more accessible to the public.

The Multi-Agency Research and Development Priorities for the FY 2023 Budget memo can be accessed here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-for-agencies/memoranda/

r&d, federal budget