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America COMPETES Signed by President

Mark Marich

Last week, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010—continuing efforts to improve US economic competitiveness by supporting basic research and improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to better prepare the future workforce.

According to the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), the reauthorization strengthened the government’s commitment to science & technology:

“the new law would continue NIST on a 10-year path of doubling its budget for core S&T programs. It authorizes funding NIST for the next three years at $918.9 million (FY11), $970.8 million (FY12) and $1.04 billion (FY13), though the actual funding levels will be specified by future Congressional appropriations bills. The act also creates a new position for the NIST director, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology.

In a prepared statement, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said that the signing

“means more research and expanded programs… to advance science and technology in the United States. It bolsters our Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in its efforts to drive the commercialization of new innovations to foster job creation and economic growth. And it supports a Regional Innovation Program through our Economic Development Administration that will help business get off the ground and capitalize on regional strengths.

The original America COMPETES Act was based on recommendations in ‘Rising Above the Gathering Storm’, a 2005 report by the National Academies that was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007.

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