OMB has added “American public health security and innovation” to its list of agency R&D priorities for their submissions for the next budget cycle.
“This priority brings under a single, comprehensive umbrella biomedical and biotechnology R&D aimed at responding to the pandemic and ensuring the U.S. S&T enterprise is maximally prepared for any health-related threats,” OMB said in memo M-20-29, this year’s version of an annual memo during preparations for the next White House budget proposal to Congress.
Among priorities in that area are that agencies are: “support R&D that will contribute to timely development of modernized devices and equipment, diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines within the medical countermeasures enterprise”; “enhance their ability to predict future pandemics by continuing to advance data and forecasting science to inform a more streamlined, better coordinated, and continual whole-of-society approach to addressing future infectious disease outbreaks”; “accelerated identification and selection of R&D investments including the rapid detection, containment, and treatment of infectious diseases”; and “evidence-based standards and research to rapidly and strategically continue improving biotechnology infrastructure that support human, plant, and animal safety.”
The memo meanwhile identifies building the science and technology workforce of the future as a cross-cutting priority, telling agencies to prioritize education investments that support both remote and in-person learning; attract, prepare and support people in STEM career paths; develop teachers and professors; create “safe, diverse, inclusive, and equitable research environments for all members of the research enterprise”; and foster cooperative agreements with each other and with the private sector.
It also updates policies under the prior “industries of the future” category, including developing and using artificial intelligence; quantum information science; advanced communications networks; advanced manufacturing; future computing ecosystems; and autonomous vehicles.