Science Agencies FY21

The Honorable Nita M. Lowey
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Richard Shelby
Committee on Appropriations
United States Sentate
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Vice Chair
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Kay Granger
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chair Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, Chair Shelby, and Vice Chair Leahy,

We are writing to urge you to provide the highest possible fiscal year (FY) 2021 allocation for the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittees, at least equal to the FY 2020 allocation and sufficient to fully fund the basic and applied research programs in the CJS portfolio. The bill includes agencies and departments that are vital to the advancement of science, technology, economic development, and criminal justice. These include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department of Commerce statistical agencies, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs.

Strong funding for the CJS bill is necessary for the United States to maintain its global lead in science and technology. According to the 2020 Science and Engineering Indicators report, while the US remains at the forefront of research, spending $548 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2017, other nations have dramatically increased their investments in science. For example, between 2010 and 2017, China’s R&D enterprise grew by 13 percent annually and South Korea’s grew by 8 percent annually. In comparison, U.S. R&D expenditures increased by only about 4 percent per year over this same period. China is now likely to surpass us in total spending, threatening our science and technology leadership in fields such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, quantum computing, and other areas

In addition to increased competition in the realm of science and technology, our nation faces immense environmental challenges. The CJS research agencies play a central role in understanding and predicting global and regional changes; developing new technologies to improve resilience; and providing life-saving weather forecasts. NSF, NASA, and NOAA together fund over 60 percent of our nation’s federal investments in environmental research and development as well as funding a large portion of our civilian observational capabilities. Additionally, there is an ever-increasing need for the disaster resilience research headed by NIST, including investment in post-disaster impact research and pre-impact mitigation, whether from high-winds, fire, or flood.

A robust CJS allocation will also allow the Commerce Department to provide vital funding to offices that support the U.S. economy. Commerce Department programs produce detailed analyses that are indispensable for understanding our multitrillion-dollar economy. Our nation must sustain these and other efforts, including successful conclusion of the 2020 Census and the dissemination of high quality socioeconomic and demographic decennial census data that scientists will use throughout the next decade to inform basic, clinical, and applied research and research training activities.

The CJS bill includes critical research that supports law enforcement and criminal justice. In recent years, there has been increased demand for objective research regarding policing, prison and sentencing reform, mental health, addiction and community-trust building activities. Research funded by DOJ is central to our understanding of these issues and sound policymaking. Increasing the allocation for CJS will help to provide additional resources for these essential DOJ
research programs.

In sum, the federal government has a unique role in funding the R&D crucial for our national needs, but the federal share of R&D spending as a percentage of GDP is now at its lowest point since the 1950s. The CJS bill is singularly responsible for determining over 50 percent of the annual federal investment in non-defense, non-biomedical research – research that is essential for our long-term economic growth, security, and prosperity.

Given the importance of federal support for R&D and the vital role played by the CJS Subcommittees in funding a substantial portion of this research, we urge you and your colleagues to do everything you can to ensure a sufficient CJS 302(b) allocation. Doing so will allow the Subcommittees to support the R&D investments necessary to meet our nation’s challenges and opportunities


The Census Project
Coalition for Aerospace and Science
Coalition for National Science Funding
Crime and Justice Research Alliance
The NIST Coalition
AASRO (Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations) American Anthropological Association
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Geographers American Association of Physics Teachers American Astronomical Society
American Educational Research Association
American Geophysical Union
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Institute of Physics American Mathematical Society American Physical Society American Physiological Society
American Psychological Association American Society for Microbiology American Society of Agronomy American Society of Civil Engineers American Society of Plant Biologists American Sociological Association American Statistical Association
Annis Water Resources Institute – Grand Valley State University
Arafune Government Relations, LLC Associated Universities Inc. Association for Psychological Science
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Association for Women in Mathematics
Association for Women in Science Association of American Medical Colleges Association of American Universities
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Association of Public Data Users (APDU) Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Battelle
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (New York and Bermuda) Biophysical Society
Boise State University Boston University Brandeis University Brown University
California Institute of Technology
California State University Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology
Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates Center for Coastal Studies Cheasapeake Bay Foundation
Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation
Computing Research Association Consortium for Ocean Leadership Consortium of Social Science Associations Cornell University
Council for Community Economic Research
Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics
Council on Undergraduate Research
Crop Science Society of America
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Department of Geography and Meteorology, Valparaiso University
Departrment of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University
Duke University EarthCorps Earthjustice
East Carolina University – Integrated Coastal Programs
Ecological Society of America Environmental Defense Fund Environmental Law & Policy Center Eversole Associates
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences Florida State University
Galveston Bay Foundation Geological Society of America George Mason University Georgia Institute of Technology Harvard University
Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Independent Organizational Development Consultant
Indiana University
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
IOOS Association
Johns Hopkins University
Lehigh University
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC Linguistic Society of America Marine Biological Laboratory Marine Conservation Institute
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mathematical Association of America Metropolitan State University of Denver Michigan State University
Michigan Technological University
Mineralogical Society of America
National Association of Development Organizations National Association of Marine Laboratories National Communication Association
National Estuarine Research Reserve Association
National Science Teachers Association
NC State University/CMAST Northeastern University Northern Illinois University
Northern Vermont University-Lyndon
Northview Weather LLC Northwestern University Ocean Conservancy
The Ohio State University
Population Association of America/Association of Population Centers
Princeton University
Psychonomic Society
PsySiP: Psychology of Science in Policy
Purdue University
Restore America’s Estuaries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
SAGE Publishing
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Sea Grant Association
Society for American Archaeology
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Society for Neuroscience
Society for Research in Child Development
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) SOEST, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Soil Science Society of America
St. Louis University
State University of New York System (SUNY) Stockton University
Stony Brook University
Tufts University
University of California System University of California, Berkeley University of Cincinnati University of Colorado Boulder University of Florida
University of Georgia University of Illinois University of Iowa
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology
University of Michigan University of Nebraska University of New Hampshire University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania University of Texas at Austin University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin-Madison
US Ignite
USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies
Vanderbilt University
Virginia Alliance of Public Research and Land-Grant Universities
Washington State University
West Virginia University
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Yale University

Download a copy of the Science Agencies FY21 Appropriations Letter