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Title of Law:America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science (America COMPETES) Act
Law #:Public Law 110- 69
Passed by Congress:110th Congress (1st Session)

The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain references to and studies for The National Academies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR2272 Gordon, B. (D-Tenn.) 08/02/07
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States.
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SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

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TITLE VII—NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

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Sec. 7032. National Academy of Sciences report on diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

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SEC. 1002. STUDY ON BARRIERS TO INNOVATION.

(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct and complete a study to identify, and to review methods to mitigate, new forms of risk for businesses beyond conventional operational and financial risk that affect the ability to innovate, including studying and reviewing—

(1) incentive and compensation structures that could effectively encourage long-term value creation and innovation;
(2) methods of voluntary and supplemental disclosure by industry of intellectual capital, innovation performance, and indicators of future valuation;
(3) means by which government could work with industry to enhance the legal and regulatory framework to encourage the disclosures described in paragraph (2);
(4) practices that may be significant deterrents to United States businesses engaging in innovation risk-taking compared to foreign competitors;
(5) costs faced by United States businesses engaging in innovation compared to foreign competitors, including the burden placed on businesses by high and rising health care costs;
(6) means by which industry, trade associations, and universities could collaborate to support research on management practices and methodologies for assessing the value and risks of longer term innovation strategies;
(7) means to encourage new, open, and collaborative dialogue between industry associations, regulatory authorities, management, shareholders, labor, and other concerned interests to encourage appropriate approaches to innovation risk-taking;
(8) incentives to encourage participation among institutions of higher education, especially those in rural and underserved areas, to engage in innovation;
(9) relevant Federal regulations that may discourage or encourage innovation;
(10) all provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, including tax provisions, compliance costs, and reporting requirements, that discourage innovation;
(11) the extent to which Federal funding promotes or hinders innovation; and
(12) the extent to which individuals are being equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century workforce, as measured by—

(A) elementary school and secondary school student academic achievement on the State academic assessments required under section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 (b)(3)), especially in mathematics, science, and reading, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender;

(B) the rate of student entrance into institutions of higher education, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender, by type of institution, and barriers to access to institutions of higher education;

(C) the rates of—

(i) students successfully completing postsecondary education programs, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender; and
(ii) certificates, associate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees awarded in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender; and

(D) access to, and availability of, high quality job training programs.

(b) Report Required.—Not later than 1 year after entering into the contract required by subsection (a) and 4 years after entering into such contract, the National Academy of Sciences shall submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under such subsection.

(c) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Office of Science and Technology Policy $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2008 for the purpose of carrying out the study required under this section.

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SEC. 1005. STUDY OF SERVICE SCIENCE.

(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of United States enterprises and institutions and to prepare the people of the United States for high-wage, high-skill employment, the Federal Government should better understand and respond strategically to the emerging management and learning discipline known as service science.

(b) Study.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall, through the National Academy of Sciences, conduct a study and report to Congress on how the Federal Government should support, through research, education, and training, the emerging management and learning discipline known as service science.

(c) Outside Resources.—In conducting the study under subsection (b), the National Academy of Sciences shall consult with leaders from 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)), leaders from corporations, and other relevant parties.

(d) Service Science Defined.—In this section, the term “service science” means curricula, training, and research programs that are designed to teach individuals to apply scientific, engineering, and management disciplines that integrate elements of computer science, operations research, industrial engineering, business strategy, management sciences, and social and legal sciences, in order to encourage innovation in how organizations create value for customers and shareholders that could not be achieved through such disciplines working in isolation.

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SEC. 1006. PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL ON INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS.

(a) In General.—The President shall establish a President’s Council on Innovation and Competitiveness.

(b) Duties.—The duties of the Council shall include—

(1) monitoring implementation of public laws and initiatives for promoting innovation, including policies related to research funding, taxation, immigration, trade, and education that are proposed in this Act or in any other Act;
(2) providing advice to the President with respect to global trends in competitiveness and innovation and allocation of Federal resources in education, job training, and technology research and development considering such global trends in competitiveness and innovation;
(3) in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, developing a process for using metrics to assess the impact of existing and proposed policies and rules that affect innovation capabilities in the United States;
(4) identifying opportunities and making recommendations for the heads of executive agencies to improve innovation, monitoring, and reporting on the implementation of such recommendations;
(5) developing metrics for measuring the progress of the Federal Government with respect to improving conditions for innovation, including through talent development, investment, and infrastructure improvements; and
(6) submitting to the President and Congress an annual report on such progress.

(c) Membership and Coordination.—

(1) MEMBERSHIP.—The Council shall be composed of the Secretary or head of each of the following:

(A) The Department of Commerce.
(B) The Department of Defense.
(C) The Department of Education.
(D) The Department of Energy.
(E) The Department of Health and Human Services.
(F) The Department of Homeland Security.
(G) The Department of Labor.
(H) The Department of the Treasury.
(I) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
(J) The Securities and Exchange Commission.
(K) The National Science Foundation.
(L) The Office of the United States Trade Representative.
(M) The Office of Management and Budget.
(N) The Office of Science and Technology Policy.
(O) The Environmental Protection Agency.
(P) The Small Business Administration.
(Q) Any other department or agency designated by the President.

(2) CHAIRPERSON.—The Secretary of Commerce shall serve as Chairperson of the Council.

(3) COORDINATION.—The Chairperson of the Council shall ensure appropriate coordination between the Council and the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, and the National Science and Technology Council.

(4) MEETINGS.—The Council shall meet on a semi-annual basis at the call of the Chairperson and the initial meeting of the Council shall occur not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d) Development of Innovation Agenda.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Council shall develop a comprehensive agenda for strengthening the innovation and competitiveness capabilities of the Federal Government, State governments, academia, and the private sector in the United States.

(2) CONTENTS.—The comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A) An assessment of current strengths and weaknesses of the United States investment in research and development.

(B) Recommendations for addressing weaknesses and maintaining the United States as a world leader in research and development and technological innovation, including strategies for increasing the participation of individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

(C) Recommendations for strengthening the innovation and competitiveness capabilities of the Federal Government, State governments, academia, and the private sector in the United States.

(3) ADVISORS.—

(A) RECOMMENDATION.—Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, shall develop and submit to the President a list of 50 individuals that are recommended to serve as advisors to the Council during the development of the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1). The list of advisors shall include appropriate representatives from the following:

(i) The private sector of the economy.
(ii) Labor.
(iii) Various fields including information technology, energy, engineering, high-technology manufacturing, health care, and education.
(iv) Scientific organizations.
(v) Academic organizations and other nongovernmental organizations working in the area of science or technology.
(vi) Nongovernmental organizations, such as professional organizations, that represent individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b) in the areas of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.

(B) DESIGNATION.—Not later than 30 days after the date that the National Academy of Sciences submits the list of recommended individuals to serve as advisors, the President shall designate 50 individuals to serve as advisors to the Council.

(C) REQUIREMENT TO CONSULT.—The Council shall develop the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1) in consultation with the advisors.

(4) INITIAL SUBMISSION AND UPDATES.—

(A) INITIAL SUBMISSION.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Council shall submit to Congress and the President the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1).

(B) UPDATES.—At least once every 2 years, the Council shall update the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1) and submit each such update to Congress and the President.

(e) Optional Assignment.—Notwithstanding subsection (a) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (c), the President may designate an existing council to carry out the requirements of this section.

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SEC. 5003. SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS EDUCATION AT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY.

(a) Science Education Programs.—Section 3164 of the Department of Energy Science Education Enhancement Act (42 U.S.C. 7381a) is amended—

(1) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), and (d) as subsections (c), (d), and (f), respectively;

(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

“(b) Organization of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Programs.—

“(1) DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS EDUCATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Science (referred to in this subsection as the ‘Under Secretary’), shall appoint a Director of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (referred to in this subsection as the ‘Director’) with the principal responsibility for administering science, engineering, and mathematics education programs across all functions of the Department.

“(2) QUALIFICATIONS.—The Director shall be an individual, who by reason of professional background and experience, is specially qualified to advise the Under Secretary on all matters pertaining to science, engineering, and mathematics education at the Department.

“(3) DUTIES.—The Director shall—

“(A) oversee all science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department;

“(B) represent the Department as the principal interagency liaison for all science, engineering, and mathematics education programs, unless otherwise represented by the Secretary or the Under Secretary;

“(C) prepare the annual budget and advise the Under Secretary on all budgetary issues for science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department;

“(D) increase, to the maximum extent practicable, the participation and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities at every level of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; and

“(E) perform other such matters relating to science, engineering, and mathematics education as are required by the Secretary or the Under Secretary.

“(4) STAFF AND OTHER RESOURCES.—The Secretary shall assign to the Director such personnel and other resources as the Secretary considers necessary to permit the Director to carry out the duties of the Director.

“(5) ASSESSMENT.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall offer to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences under which the National Academy, not later than 5 years after, and not later than 10 years after, the date of enactment of this paragraph, shall assess the performance of the science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department.

“(B) CONSIDERATIONS.—An assessment under this paragraph shall be conducted taking into consideration, where applicable, the effect of science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department on student academic achievement in science and mathematics.

“(6) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this subsection.”; and

(3) by striking subsection (d) (as redesignated by paragraph (1)) and inserting the following:

“(d) Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund.—The Secretary shall establish a Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund, using not less than 0.3 percent of the amount made available to the Department for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application for each fiscal year, to carry out sections 3165, 3166, and 3167.

“(e) Annual Plan for Allocation of Education Funding.—The Secretary shall submit to Congress as part of the annual budget submission for a fiscal year a report describing the manner in which the Department has complied with subsection (d) for the prior fiscal year and the manner in which the Department proposes to comply with subsection (d) during the following fiscal year, including—

“(1) the total amount of funding for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities for the corresponding fiscal year;

“(2) the amounts set aside for the Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund under subsection (d) from funding for research activities, development activities, demonstration activities, and commercial application activities for the corresponding fiscal year; and

“(3) a description of how the funds set aside under subsection (d) were allocated for the prior fiscal year and will be allocated for the following fiscal year.”.

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SEC. 5008. DISCOVERY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING INNOVATION INSTITUTES.

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall establish distributed, multidisciplinary institutes (referred to in this section as “Institutes”) centered at National Laboratories to apply fundamental science and engineering discoveries to technological innovations relating to—

(1) the missions of the Department; and
(2) the global competitiveness of the United States.

(b) Topical Areas.—The Institutes shall support scientific and engineering research and education activities on critical emerging technologies determined by the Secretary to be essential to global competitiveness, including activities relating to—

(1) sustainable energy technologies;
(2) multiscale materials and processes;
(3) micro- and nano-engineering;
(4) computational and information engineering; and
(5) genomics and proteomics.

(c) Partnerships.—In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall establish partnerships between the Institutes and—

(1) institutions of higher education—

(A) to train undergraduate and graduate science and engineering students;
(B) to develop innovative undergraduate and graduate educational curricula; and
(C) to conduct research within the topical areas described in subsection (b); and

(2) private industry to develop innovative technologies within the topical areas described in subsection (b).

(d) Grants.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each fiscal year, the Secretary may select not more than 3 Institutes to receive a grant under this section.

(2) MERIT-BASED SELECTION.—The selection of Institutes under paragraph (1) shall be—

(A) merit-based; and
(B) made through an open, competitive selection process.

(3) TERM.—An Institute shall receive a grant under this section for not more than 3 fiscal years.

(e) Review.—The Secretary shall offer to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences under which the Academy shall, by not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act—

(1) review the performance of the Institutes under this section; and
(2) submit to Congress and the Secretary a report describing the results of the review
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(f) Authorization of Appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to provide grants to each Institute selected under this section $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2010.

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SEC. 5012. ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY—ENERGY.

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(k) ARPA-E Evaluation.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—After ARPA-E has been in operation for 4 years, the Secretary shall offer to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences under which the National Academy shall conduct an evaluation of how well ARPA-E is achieving the goals and mission of ARPA-E.

(2) INCLUSIONS.—The evaluation shall include—

(A) the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences on whether ARPA-E should be continued or terminated; and
(B) a description of lessons learned from operation of ARPA-E.

(3) AVAILABILITY.—On completion of the evaluation, the evaluation shall be made available to Congress and the public.

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SEC. 6131. PROMISING PRACTICES.

(a) Purpose.—The purpose of this section is to establish an expert panel to provide information on promising practices for strengthening teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at the elementary school and secondary school levels. The panel shall build on prior Federal efforts, such as efforts by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and shall synthesize scientific evidence pertaining to the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning.

(b) National Panel on Promising Practices in K-12 STEM Teaching and Learning.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall enter into a contract with the Center for Education of the National Academy of Sciences to establish and convene, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, an expert panel to—

(A) identify promising practices for improving teaching and student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in kindergarten through grade 12; and
(B) examine and synthesize the scientific evidence pertaining to the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning.

(2) COMPOSITION OF NATIONAL PANEL.—The National Academy of Sciences shall ensure that the panel established under paragraph (1) represents scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technologists, computer and information technology experts, educators, principals, researchers with expertise in teaching and learning (including experts in cognitive science), and others with relevant expertise. The National Academy of Sciences shall ensure that the panel includes the following:

(A) Representation of teachers and principals directly involved in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in kindergarten through grade 12.
(B) Representation of teachers and principals from diverse demographic groups and geographic areas, including urban, suburban, and rural schools.
(C) Representation of teachers and principals from public and private schools.

(3) QUALIFICATION OF MEMBERS.—The members of the panel established under paragraph (1) shall be individuals who have expertise and experience relating to—

(A) existing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs;
(B) developing and improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula content;
(C) improving the academic achievement of students who are below grade level in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields; and
(D) research on teaching or learning.

(c) Authorized Activities of National Panel.—The panel established under subsection (b) shall identify—

(1) promising practices in the effective teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics in kindergarten through grade 12;
(2) promising training and professional development techniques designed to help teachers increase their skills and expertise in improving student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in kindergarten through grade 12;
(3) critical skills and skills progressions needed to enable students to acquire competence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and readiness for advanced secondary school and college level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics coursework;
(4) processes by which students with varying degrees of prior academic achievement and backgrounds learn effectively in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields; and
(5) areas in which existing data about promising practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education are insufficient.

(d) Report.—The panel established under subsection (b) shall prepare a written report for the Secretary that presents the findings of the panel pursuant to this section and includes recommendations, based on the findings of the panel, to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning in kindergarten through grade 12.

(e) Dissemination.—The Secretary shall disseminate the report under subsection (d) to the public, State educational agencies, and local educational agencies, and shall make the information in such report available, in an easy to understand format, on the website of the Department.

(f) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Promising Practices.—

(1) RELIABILITY AND MEASUREMENT.—The promising practices in the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in elementary schools and secondary schools collected under this section shall be—

(A) reliable, valid, and grounded in scientifically valid research;
(B) inclusive of the critical skills and skill progressions needed for students to acquire competence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;
(C) reviewed regularly to assess effectiveness; and
(D) reviewed in the context of State academic assessments and student academic achievement standards.

(2) STUDENTS WITH DIVERSE LEARNING NEEDS.—In identifying promising practices under this section, the panel established under subsection (b) shall take into account the needs of students with diverse learning needs, particularly students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.

(g) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2008.

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SEC. 7026. LABORATORY SCIENCE PILOT PROGRAM.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds the following:

(1) To remain competitive in science and technology in the global economy, the United States must increase the number of students graduating from high school prepared to pursue postsecondary education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

(2) There is broad agreement in the scientific community that learning science requires direct involvement by students in scientific inquiry and that laboratory experience is so integral to the nature of science that it must be included in every science program for every science student.

(3) In America’s Lab Report, the National Research Council concluded that the current quality of laboratory experiences is poor for most students and that educators and researchers do not agree on how to define high school science laboratories or on their purpose, hampering the accumulation of research on how to improve laboratories.

(4) The National Research Council found that schools with higher concentrations of non-Asian minorities and schools with higher concentrations of poor students are less likely to have adequate laboratory facilities than other schools.

(5) The Government Accountability Office reported that 49.1 percent of schools where the minority student population is greater than 50.5 percent reported not meeting functional requirements for laboratory science well or at all.

(6) 40 percent of those college students who left the science fields reported some problems related to high school science preparation, including lack of laboratory experience and no introduction to theoretical or to analytical modes of thought.

(7) It is in the national interest for the Federal Government to invest in research and demonstration projects to improve the teaching of laboratory science in the Nation’s high schools.

(b) Grant Program.—Section 8(8) of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 is amended—

(1) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (F) as clauses (i) through (vi), respectively;

(2) by inserting “(A)” before “A program of competitive”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(B) In accordance with subparagraph (A)(v), the Director shall establish a research pilot program designated as ‘Partnerships for Access to Laboratory Science’ to award grants to partnerships to improve laboratories and provide instrumentation as part of a comprehensive program to enhance the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction at the secondary school level. Grants under this subparagraph may be used for—

“(i) professional development and training for teachers aligned with activities supported under section 2123 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6623);
“(ii) purchase, rental, or leasing of equipment, instrumentation, and other scientific educational materials;
“(iii) development of instructional programs designed to integrate the laboratory experience with classroom instruction and to be consistent with State mathematics and science and, to the extent applicable, technology and engineering, academic achievement standards;
“(iv) training in laboratory safety for school personnel;
“(v) design and implementation of hands-on laboratory experiences to encourage the interest of individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and help prepare such individuals to pursue postsecondary studies in these fields; and
“(vi) assessment of the activities funded under this subparagraph.

“(C) Grants may be made under subparagraph (B) only to a partnership—

“(i) for a project that includes significant teacher preparation and professional development components; or
“(ii) that establishes that appropriate teacher preparation and professional development is being addressed, or has been addressed, through other means.

“(D) Grants awarded under subparagraph (B) shall be to a partnership that—

“(i) includes a 2-year or 4-year degree granting institution of higher education;
“(ii) includes a high need local educational agency (as defined in section 201 of the Higher Education Act of 1965);
“(iii) includes a business or eligible nonprofit organization; and
“(iv) may include a State educational agency, other public agency, National Laboratory, or community-based organization.

“(E) The Federal share of the cost of activities carried out using amounts from a grant under subparagraph (B) shall not exceed 40 percent.

“(F) The Director shall require grant recipients under subparagraph (B) to submit a report to the Director on the results of the project supported by the grant.”.

(c) Report.—The Director shall evaluate the effectiveness of activities carried out under the research pilot projects funded by the grant program established pursuant to the amendment made by subsection (b) in improving student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A report documenting the results of that evaluation shall be submitted to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act. The report shall identify best practices and materials developed and demonstrated by grant awardees.

(d) Sunset.—The provisions of this section shall cease to have force or effect on the last day of fiscal year 2010.

(e) Authorization of Appropriations.—From the amounts authorized under subsections (a)(2)(B), (b)(2)(B), and (c)(2)(B) of section 7002, there are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section and the amendments made by this section $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2008, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 2 succeeding fiscal years.

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SEC. 7032. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES REPORT ON DIVERSITY IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS FIELDS.

(a) In General.—The Director shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences for a report, to be transmitted to the Congress not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, about barriers to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields and to identify strategies for bringing more underrepresented minorities into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce.

(b) Specific Requirements.—The Director shall ensure that the report described in subsection (a) addresses—

(1) social and institutional factors that shape the decisions of minority students to commit to education and careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields;

(2) specific barriers preventing greater minority student participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields;

(3) primary focus points for policy intervention to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in the future workforce of the United States;

(4) programs already underway to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, and their level of effectiveness;

(5) factors that make such programs effective, and how to expand and improve upon existing programs;

(6) the role of minority-serving institutions in the diversification of the workforce of the United States in these fields and how that role can be supported and strengthened; and

(7) how the public and private sectors can better assist minority students in their efforts to join the workforce of the United States in these fields.

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SEC. 8005. STUDY OF THE PROVISION OF ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS.

(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Education shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study and provide a report to the Secretary, the Secretary of Commerce, and Congress. The study shall consider the mechanisms and supports needed for an institution of higher education (as defined in section 7001) or nonprofit organization to develop and maintain a program to provide free access to online educational content as part of a degree program, especially in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or foreign languages, without using Federal funds, including funds provided under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.) The study shall consider whether such a program could be developed and managed by such institution of higher education or nonprofit organization and sustained through private funding. The study shall examine how such program can—

(1) build on existing online programs, including making use of existing online courses;
(2) modify or expand traditional course content for online educational content;
(3) develop original course content for online courses and degree programs;
(4) provide necessary laboratory experience for science, technology, and engineering courses;
(5) be accepted for full credit by other institutions of higher education; and
(6) provide credentials that would be recognized by employers, enabling program participants to attain employment.

(b) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2008.

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HRpt 110-289 - To accompany H.R. 2272 - To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States.
Conference Committee
(08/01/07)
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CONFERENCE REPORT (H. REPT. 110-289)

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SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

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TITLE VII—NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

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Sec. 7032. National Academy of Sciences report on diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

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SEC. 1002. STUDY ON BARRIERS TO INNOVATION.

(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct and complete a study to identify, and to review methods to mitigate, new forms of risk for businesses beyond conventional operational and financial risk that affect the ability to innovate, including studying and reviewing—

(1) incentive and compensation structures that could effectively encourage long-term value creation and innovation;
(2) methods of voluntary and supplemental disclosure by industry of intellectual capital, innovation performance, and indicators of future valuation;
(3) means by which government could work with industry to enhance the legal and regulatory framework to encourage the disclosures described in paragraph (2);
(4) practices that may be significant deterrents to United States businesses engaging in innovation risk-taking compared to foreign competitors;
(5) costs faced by United States businesses engaging in innovation compared to foreign competitors, including the burden placed on businesses by high and rising health care costs;
(6) means by which industry, trade associations, and universities could collaborate to support research on management practices and methodologies for assessing the value and risks of longer term innovation strategies;
(7) means to encourage new, open, and collaborative dialogue between industry associations, regulatory authorities, management, shareholders, labor, and other concerned interests to encourage appropriate approaches to innovation risk-taking;
(8) incentives to encourage participation among institutions of higher education, especially those in rural and underserved areas, to engage in innovation;
(9) relevant Federal regulations that may discourage or encourage innovation;
(10) all provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, including tax provisions, compliance costs, and reporting requirements, that discourage innovation;
(11) the extent to which Federal funding promotes or hinders innovation; and
(12) the extent to which individuals are being equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century workforce, as measured by—

(A) elementary school and secondary school student academic achievement on the State academic assessments required under section 1111(b)(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 (b)(3)), especially in mathematics, science, and reading, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender;

(B) the rate of student entrance into institutions of higher education, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender, by type of institution, and barriers to access to institutions of higher education;

(C) the rates of—

(i) students successfully completing postsecondary education programs, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender; and
(ii) certificates, associate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees awarded in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, identified by ethnicity, race, and gender; and

(D) access to, and availability of, high quality job training programs.

(b) Report Required.—Not later than 1 year after entering into the contract required by subsection (a) and 4 years after entering into such contract, the National Academy of Sciences shall submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under such subsection.

(c) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Office of Science and Technology Policy $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2008 for the purpose of carrying out the study required under this section.

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SEC. 1005. STUDY OF SERVICE SCIENCE.

(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of United States enterprises and institutions and to prepare the people of the United States for high-wage, high-skill employment, the Federal Government should better understand and respond strategically to the emerging management and learning discipline known as service science.

(b) Study.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall, through the National Academy of Sciences, conduct a study and report to Congress on how the Federal Government should support, through research, education, and training, the emerging management and learning discipline known as service science.

(c) Outside Resources.—In conducting the study under subsection (b), the National Academy of Sciences shall consult with leaders from 2- and 4-year institutions of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)), leaders from corporations, and other relevant parties.

(d) Service Science Defined.—In this section, the term “service science” means curricula, training, and research programs that are designed to teach individuals to apply scientific, engineering, and management disciplines that integrate elements of computer science, operations research, industrial engineering, business strategy, management sciences, and social and legal sciences, in order to encourage innovation in how organizations create value for customers and shareholders that could not be achieved through such disciplines working in isolation.

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SEC. 1006. PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL ON INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS.

(a) In General.—The President shall establish a President’s Council on Innovation and Competitiveness.

(b) Duties.—The duties of the Council shall include—

(1) monitoring implementation of public laws and initiatives for promoting innovation, including policies related to research funding, taxation, immigration, trade, and education that are proposed in this Act or in any other Act;
(2) providing advice to the President with respect to global trends in competitiveness and innovation and allocation of Federal resources in education, job training, and technology research and development considering such global trends in competitiveness and innovation;
(3) in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, developing a process for using metrics to assess the impact of existing and proposed policies and rules that affect innovation capabilities in the United States;
(4) identifying opportunities and making recommendations for the heads of executive agencies to improve innovation, monitoring, and reporting on the implementation of such recommendations;
(5) developing metrics for measuring the progress of the Federal Government with respect to improving conditions for innovation, including through talent development, investment, and infrastructure improvements; and
(6) submitting to the President and Congress an annual report on such progress.

(c) Membership and Coordination.—

(1) MEMBERSHIP.—The Council shall be composed of the Secretary or head of each of the following:

(A) The Department of Commerce.
(B) The Department of Defense.
(C) The Department of Education.
(D) The Department of Energy.
(E) The Department of Health and Human Services.
(F) The Department of Homeland Security.
(G) The Department of Labor.
(H) The Department of the Treasury.
(I) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
(J) The Securities and Exchange Commission.
(K) The National Science Foundation.
(L) The Office of the United States Trade Representative.
(M) The Office of Management and Budget.
(N) The Office of Science and Technology Policy.
(O) The Environmental Protection Agency.
(P) The Small Business Administration.
(Q) Any other department or agency designated by the President.

(2) CHAIRPERSON.—The Secretary of Commerce shall serve as Chairperson of the Council.

(3) COORDINATION.—The Chairperson of the Council shall ensure appropriate coordination between the Council and the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, and the National Science and Technology Council.

(4) MEETINGS.—The Council shall meet on a semi-annual basis at the call of the Chairperson and the initial meeting of the Council shall occur not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d) Development of Innovation Agenda.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Council shall develop a comprehensive agenda for strengthening the innovation and competitiveness capabilities of the Federal Government, State governments, academia, and the private sector in the United States.

(2) CONTENTS.—The comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A) An assessment of current strengths and weaknesses of the United States investment in research and development.

(B) Recommendations for addressing weaknesses and maintaining the United States as a world leader in research and development and technological innovation, including strategies for increasing the participation of individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

(C) Recommendations for strengthening the innovation and competitiveness capabilities of the Federal Government, State governments, academia, and the private sector in the United States.

(3) ADVISORS.—

(A) RECOMMENDATION.—Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council, shall develop and submit to the President a list of 50 individuals that are recommended to serve as advisors to the Council during the development of the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1). The list of advisors shall include appropriate representatives from the following:

(i) The private sector of the economy.
(ii) Labor.
(iii) Various fields including information technology, energy, engineering, high-technology manufacturing, health care, and education.
(iv) Scientific organizations.
(v) Academic organizations and other nongovernmental organizations working in the area of science or technology.
(vi) Nongovernmental organizations, such as professional organizations, that represent individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b) in the areas of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.

(B) DESIGNATION.—Not later than 30 days after the date that the National Academy of Sciences submits the list of recommended individuals to serve as advisors, the President shall designate 50 individuals to serve as advisors to the Council.

(C) REQUIREMENT TO CONSULT.—The Council shall develop the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1) in consultation with the advisors.

(4) INITIAL SUBMISSION AND UPDATES.—

(A) INITIAL SUBMISSION.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Council shall submit to Congress and the President the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1).

(B) UPDATES.—At least once every 2 years, the Council shall update the comprehensive agenda required by paragraph (1) and submit each such update to Congress and the President.

(e) Optional Assignment.—Notwithstanding subsection (a) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (c), the President may designate an existing council to carry out the requirements of this section.

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SEC. 5003. SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS EDUCATION AT THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY.

(a) Science Education Programs.—Section 3164 of the Department of Energy Science Education Enhancement Act (42 U.S.C. 7381a) is amended—

(1) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), and (d) as subsections (c), (d), and (f), respectively;

(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

“(b) Organization of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Programs.—

“(1) DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS EDUCATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Science (referred to in this subsection as the ‘Under Secretary’), shall appoint a Director of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (referred to in this subsection as the ‘Director’) with the principal responsibility for administering science, engineering, and mathematics education programs across all functions of the Department.

“(2) QUALIFICATIONS.—The Director shall be an individual, who by reason of professional background and experience, is specially qualified to advise the Under Secretary on all matters pertaining to science, engineering, and mathematics education at the Department.

“(3) DUTIES.—The Director shall—

“(A) oversee all science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department;

“(B) represent the Department as the principal interagency liaison for all science, engineering, and mathematics education programs, unless otherwise represented by the Secretary or the Under Secretary;

“(C) prepare the annual budget and advise the Under Secretary on all budgetary issues for science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department;

“(D) increase, to the maximum extent practicable, the participation and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities at every level of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; and

“(E) perform other such matters relating to science, engineering, and mathematics education as are required by the Secretary or the Under Secretary.

“(4) STAFF AND OTHER RESOURCES.—The Secretary shall assign to the Director such personnel and other resources as the Secretary considers necessary to permit the Director to carry out the duties of the Director.

“(5) ASSESSMENT.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall offer to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences under which the National Academy, not later than 5 years after, and not later than 10 years after, the date of enactment of this paragraph, shall assess the performance of the science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department.

“(B) CONSIDERATIONS.—An assessment under this paragraph shall be conducted taking into consideration, where applicable, the effect of science, engineering, and mathematics education programs of the Department on student academic achievement in science and mathematics.

“(6) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this subsection.”; and

(3) by striking subsection (d) (as redesignated by paragraph (1)) and inserting the following:

“(d) Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund.—The Secretary shall establish a Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund, using not less than 0.3 percent of the amount made available to the Department for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application for each fiscal year, to carry out sections 3165, 3166, and 3167.

“(e) Annual Plan for Allocation of Education Funding.—The Secretary shall submit to Congress as part of the annual budget submission for a fiscal year a report describing the manner in which the Department has complied with subsection (d) for the prior fiscal year and the manner in which the Department proposes to comply with subsection (d) during the following fiscal year, including—

“(1) the total amount of funding for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities for the corresponding fiscal year;

“(2) the amounts set aside for the Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund under subsection (d) from funding for research activities, development activities, demonstration activities, and commercial application activities for the corresponding fiscal year; and

“(3) a description of how the funds set aside under subsection (d) were allocated for the prior fiscal year and will be allocated for the following fiscal year.”.

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SEC. 5008. DISCOVERY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING INNOVATION INSTITUTES.

(a) In General.—The Secretary shall establish distributed, multidisciplinary institutes (referred to in this section as “Institutes”) centered at National Laboratories to apply fundamental science and engineering discoveries to technological innovations relating to—

(1) the missions of the Department; and
(2) the global competitiveness of the United States.

(b) Topical Areas.—The Institutes shall support scientific and engineering research and education activities on critical emerging technologies determined by the Secretary to be essential to global competitiveness, including activities relating to—

(1) sustainable energy technologies;
(2) multiscale materials and processes;
(3) micro- and nano-engineering;
(4) computational and information engineering; and
(5) genomics and proteomics.

(c) Partnerships.—In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall establish partnerships between the Institutes and—

(1) institutions of higher education—

(A) to train undergraduate and graduate science and engineering students;
(B) to develop innovative undergraduate and graduate educational curricula; and
(C) to conduct research within the topical areas described in subsection (b); and

(2) private industry to develop innovative technologies within the topical areas described in subsection (b).

(d) Grants.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each fiscal year, the Secretary may select not more than 3 Institutes to receive a grant under this section.

(2) MERIT-BASED SELECTION.—The selection of Institutes under paragraph (1) shall be—

(A) merit-based; and
(B) made through an open, competitive selection process.

(3) TERM.—An Institute shall receive a grant under this section for not more than 3 fiscal years.

(e) Review.—The Secretary shall offer to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences under which the Academy shall, by not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act—

(1) review the performance of the Institutes under this section; and
(2) submit to Congress and the Secretary a report describing the results of the review.

(f) Authorization of Appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to provide grants to each Institute selected under this section $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2010.

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SEC. 5012. ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY—ENERGY.

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(k) ARPA-E Evaluation.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—After ARPA-E has been in operation for 4 years, the Secretary shall offer to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences under which the National Academy shall conduct an evaluation of how well ARPA-E is achieving the goals and mission of ARPA-E.

(2) INCLUSIONS.—The evaluation shall include—

(A) the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences on whether ARPA-E should be continued or terminated; and
(B) a description of lessons learned from operation of ARPA-E.

(3) AVAILABILITY.—On completion of the evaluation, the evaluation shall be made available to Congress and the public.

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PART III—PROMISING PRACTICES IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS TEACHING

SEC. 6131. PROMISING PRACTICES.

(a) Purpose.—The purpose of this section is to establish an expert panel to provide information on promising practices for strengthening teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at the elementary school and secondary school levels. The panel shall build on prior Federal efforts, such as efforts by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and shall synthesize scientific evidence pertaining to the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning.

(b) National Panel on Promising Practices in K-12 STEM Teaching and Learning.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall enter into a contract with the Center for Education of the National Academy of Sciences to establish and convene, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, an expert panel to—

(A) identify promising practices for improving teaching and student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in kindergarten through grade 12; and
(B) examine and synthesize the scientific evidence pertaining to the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning.

(2) COMPOSITION OF NATIONAL PANEL.—The National Academy of Sciences shall ensure that the panel established under paragraph (1) represents scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technologists, computer and information technology experts, educators, principals, researchers with expertise in teaching and learning (including experts in cognitive science), and others with relevant expertise. The National Academy of Sciences shall ensure that the panel includes the following:

(A) Representation of teachers and principals directly involved in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in kindergarten through grade 12.
(B) Representation of teachers and principals from diverse demographic groups and geographic areas, including urban, suburban, and rural schools.
(C) Representation of teachers and principals from public and private schools.

(3) QUALIFICATION OF MEMBERS.—The members of the panel established under paragraph (1) shall be individuals who have expertise and experience relating to—

(A) existing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs;
(B) developing and improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curricula content;
(C) improving the academic achievement of students who are below grade level in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields; and
(D) research on teaching or learning.

(c) Authorized Activities of National Panel.—The panel established under subsection (b) shall identify—

(1) promising practices in the effective teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics in kindergarten through grade 12;
(2) promising training and professional development techniques designed to help teachers increase their skills and expertise in improving student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in kindergarten through grade 12;
(3) critical skills and skills progressions needed to enable students to acquire competence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and readiness for advanced secondary school and college level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics coursework;
(4) processes by which students with varying degrees of prior academic achievement and backgrounds learn effectively in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields; and
(5) areas in which existing data about promising practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education are insufficient.

(d) Report.—The panel established under subsection (b) shall prepare a written report for the Secretary that presents the findings of the panel pursuant to this section and includes recommendations, based on the findings of the panel, to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching and learning in kindergarten through grade 12.

(e) Dissemination.—The Secretary shall disseminate the report under subsection (d) to the public, State educational agencies, and local educational agencies, and shall make the information in such report available, in an easy to understand format, on the website of the Department.

(f) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Promising Practices.—

(1) RELIABILITY AND MEASUREMENT.—The promising practices in the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in elementary schools and secondary schools collected under this section shall be—

(A) reliable, valid, and grounded in scientifically valid research;
(B) inclusive of the critical skills and skill progressions needed for students to acquire competence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;
(C) reviewed regularly to assess effectiveness; and
(D) reviewed in the context of State academic assessments and student academic achievement standards.

(2) STUDENTS WITH DIVERSE LEARNING NEEDS.—In identifying promising practices under this section, the panel established under subsection (b) shall take into account the needs of students with diverse learning needs, particularly students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.

(g) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2008.

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SEC. 7026. LABORATORY SCIENCE PILOT PROGRAM.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds the following:

(1) To remain competitive in science and technology in the global economy, the United States must increase the number of students graduating from high school prepared to pursue postsecondary education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

(2) There is broad agreement in the scientific community that learning science requires direct involvement by students in scientific inquiry and that laboratory experience is so integral to the nature of science that it must be included in every science program for every science student.

(3) In America’s Lab Report, the National Research Council concluded that the current quality of laboratory experiences is poor for most students and that educators and researchers do not agree on how to define high school science laboratories or on their purpose, hampering the accumulation of research on how to improve laboratories.

(4) The National Research Council found that schools with higher concentrations of non-Asian minorities and schools with higher concentrations of poor students are less likely to have adequate laboratory facilities than other schools.

(5) The Government Accountability Office reported that 49.1 percent of schools where the minority student population is greater than 50.5 percent reported not meeting functional requirements for laboratory science well or at all.

(6) 40 percent of those college students who left the science fields reported some problems related to high school science preparation, including lack of laboratory experience and no introduction to theoretical or to analytical modes of thought.

(7) It is in the national interest for the Federal Government to invest in research and demonstration projects to improve the teaching of laboratory science in the Nation’s high schools.

(b) Grant Program.—Section 8(8) of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 is amended—

(1) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (F) as clauses (i) through (vi), respectively;

(2) by inserting “(A)” before “A program of competitive”; and

(3) by adding at the end the following:

“(B) In accordance with subparagraph (A)(v), the Director shall establish a research pilot program designated as ‘Partnerships for Access to Laboratory Science’ to award grants to partnerships to improve laboratories and provide instrumentation as part of a comprehensive program to enhance the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction at the secondary school level. Grants under this subparagraph may be used for—

“(i) professional development and training for teachers aligned with activities supported under section 2123 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6623);
“(ii) purchase, rental, or leasing of equipment, instrumentation, and other scientific educational materials;
“(iii) development of instructional programs designed to integrate the laboratory experience with classroom instruction and to be consistent with State mathematics and science and, to the extent applicable, technology and engineering, academic achievement standards;
“(iv) training in laboratory safety for school personnel;
“(v) design and implementation of hands-on laboratory experiences to encourage the interest of individuals identified in section 33 or 34 of the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (42 U.S.C. 1885a or 1885b) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and help prepare such individuals to pursue postsecondary studies in these fields; and
“(vi) assessment of the activities funded under this subparagraph.

“(C) Grants may be made under subparagraph (B) only to a partnership—

“(i) for a project that includes significant teacher preparation and professional development components; or
“(ii) that establishes that appropriate teacher preparation and professional development is being addressed, or has been addressed, through other means.

“(D) Grants awarded under subparagraph (B) shall be to a partnership that—

“(i) includes a 2-year or 4-year degree granting institution of higher education;
“(ii) includes a high need local educational agency (as defined in section 201 of the Higher Education Act of 1965);
“(iii) includes a business or eligible nonprofit organization; and
“(iv) may include a State educational agency, other public agency, National Laboratory, or community-based organization.

“(E) The Federal share of the cost of activities carried out using amounts from a grant under subparagraph (B) shall not exceed 40 percent.

“(F) The Director shall require grant recipients under subparagraph (B) to submit a report to the Director on the results of the project supported by the grant.”.

(c) Report.—The Director shall evaluate the effectiveness of activities carried out under the research pilot projects funded by the grant program established pursuant to the amendment made by subsection (b) in improving student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A report documenting the results of that evaluation shall be submitted to the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act. The report shall identify best practices and materials developed and demonstrated by grant awardees.

(d) Sunset.—The provisions of this section shall cease to have force or effect on the last day of fiscal year 2010.

(e) Authorization of Appropriations.—From the amounts authorized under subsections (a)(2)(B), (b)(2)(B), and (c)(2)(B) of section 7002, there are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section and the amendments made by this section $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2008, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the 2 succeeding fiscal years.

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SEC. 7032. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES REPORT ON DIVERSITY IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS FIELDS.

(a) In General.—The Director shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences for a report, to be transmitted to the Congress not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, about barriers to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields and to identify strategies for bringing more underrepresented minorities into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce.

(b) Specific Requirements.—The Director shall ensure that the report described in subsection (a) addresses—

(1) social and institutional factors that shape the decisions of minority students to commit to education and careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields;

(2) specific barriers preventing greater minority student participation in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields;

(3) primary focus points for policy intervention to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in the future workforce of the United States;

(4) programs already underway to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, and their level of effectiveness;

(5) factors that make such programs effective, and how to expand and improve upon existing programs;

(6) the role of minority-serving institutions in the diversification of the workforce of the United States in these fields and how that role can be supported and strengthened; and

(7) how the public and private sectors can better assist minority students in their efforts to join the workforce of the United States in these fields.

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SEC. 8005. STUDY OF THE PROVISION OF ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS.

(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Education shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study and provide a report to the Secretary, the Secretary of Commerce, and Congress. The study shall consider the mechanisms and supports needed for an institution of higher education (as defined in section 7001) or nonprofit organization to develop and maintain a program to provide free access to online educational content as part of a degree program, especially in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or foreign languages, without using Federal funds, including funds provided under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.). The study shall consider whether such a program could be developed and managed by such institution of higher education or nonprofit organization and sustained through private funding. The study shall examine how such program can—

(1) build on existing online programs, including making use of existing online courses;
(2) modify or expand traditional course content for online educational content;
(3) develop original course content for online courses and degree programs;
(4) provide necessary laboratory experience for science, technology, and engineering courses;
(5) be accepted for full credit by other institutions of higher education; and
(6) provide credentials that would be recognized by employers, enabling program participants to attain employment.

(b) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2008.

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STUDY ON BARRIERS TO INNOVATION (SEC. 1002)

The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1102) that requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences one year after enactment and four years after enactment to conduct a study to identify forms of risk that create barriers to innovation. The study is intended to review the long-term value of innovation to the business community and to identify means to mitigate risks presently associated with such innovation activities.

The House bill contained no similar provision.

The House recedes to the Senate provision with the removal of paragraphs (a)(13) and (a)(14).

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STUDY OF SERVICE SCIENCE (SEC. 1005)

The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1106) that would express a Sense of Congress that the Federal Government should better understand and respond strategically to the emerging management and learning discipline known as “service science.” The provision would require the Director of OSTP, through the National Academy of Sciences, to conduct a study on how the Federal Government should best support service science through research, education, and training.

The House bill contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment to change the report requirement from 270 days to 1 year.

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PART III—PROMISING PRACTICES IN MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND ENGINEERING TEACHING

PROMISING PRACTICES (SEC. 6131)

The Senate amendment authorized the Secretary of Education to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to convene a national panel within a year after the enactment of this Act to identify promising practices in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in elementary and secondary education. Scientists, practitioners, teachers, principals, and representatives from entities with expertise in education, mathematics, and science would participate in the panel.

The House bill had no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment clarifying the provision, including that promising practices identified under this program should be grounded in scientifically valid research as that term is defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965. The House amendment also authorizes appropriations of $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2008.

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MEETING CRITICAL NATIONAL SCIENCE NEEDS (SEC. 7018)

The House bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate amendment contained a provision requiring NSF to give priority in making research awards to proposals that assist in meeting critical national needs by advancing physical or natural science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or national competitiveness or innovation and specifying that the provision does not inhibit NSF’s support for other areas of research that are within the agency’s mandate or change the core mission of NSF (sec. 4006).

The House recedes with an amendment to add social sciences to the list of priority areas for making research awards and to add safety and security as areas of critical national needs.

The conferees cite the National Academies “Rising Above the Gathering Storm Report” on which this Act is based in calling attention to the unique contribution of research in the social sciences, which have “increased understanding of the nature of competent performance and the principles of knowledge organization that underlie people’s abilities to solve problems in a wide variety of fields, including mathematics and science.” The conferees further agree with the statement in the report that “special investment in physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and information sciences does not mean that there should be a disinvestment in such important fields as the life sciences or the social sciences.” It is the intent of the conferees to ensure support for research in areas that will address the critical national needs identified in the “Gathering Storm” report. The conferees do not intend the language contained in subsections (a) and (b) of this provision to in any way devalue the contributions of other fields or to signal any desire on the part of the conferees to disinvest in any field currently supported by the Foundation, as is made clear in subsection (c).

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NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES REPORT ON DIVERSITY IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS FIELDS (SEC. 7032)

The House bill contained a provision requiring NSF to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for a report on barriers to and strategies for increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields (sec. 318).

The Senate amendment contained a provision with a similar requirement as part of a study that the Office of Science and Technology Policy is required to conduct through the NAS (sec. 1102).

The Senate recedes.

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STUDY OF THE PROVISION OF ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS (SECTION 8005)

The Senate amendment contained a provision (section 5005) that would require the Secretary of Commerce to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a feasibility study on creating a national, free online degree program that would enable all individuals described under section 484(a)(5) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091(a)(5)) who wish to pursue a degree in a field of strategic importance to the United States and where expertise is in demand such as mathematics, science and foreign languages.

The House bill contained no similar provision.

The House recedes to the Senate with an amendment that the Secretary of Education shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study and provide a report to the Secretary, Secretary of Commerce and Congress on the mechanisms and support needed for an institution of higher education or nonprofit organization to develop and maintain a program to provide free access to online educational content as part of a degree program, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or foreign language without using Federal funds including funds provided under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070).

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