OMB in memo M-19-25 has set research and development priorities for agency submissions for the fiscal 2021 budget cycle, covering five general areas and five cross-cutting principles that “require departments and agencies to coordinate, collaborate, and partner with one another” and with the science and technology community.
The five general areas are: security, including advanced military capabilities, critical infrastructure resilience, semiconductors and critical minerals; industries of the future, including artificial intelligence, quantum information science, computing, advance communications networks and autonomy and advanced manufacturing; energy and environmental technologies; health and bioeconomic innovation; and space exploration and commercialization.
Regarding cross-cutting initiatives, agencies are to:
* prioritize efforts to “build strong foundations for STEM literacy, to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, and to prepare the STEM workforce, including college-educated STEM workers and those working in skilled trades that do not require a four-year degree.”
* support research environments “consistent with the American values free inquiry, competition, openness, and fairness” with special emphasis on reducing administrative burdens on federally-funded research; improving rigor and integrity in research; creating safe and inclusive research environments; and protecting American research assets.
* support risk taking in R&D investments and within the communities they support, and “ensure that review processes fully consider the possible rewards, risks, and benefits of failure for potentially transformative research.”
* support the President’s Management Agenda goal of leveraging data as a strategic asset, including improving data accessibility and security, leveraging AI and other emerging technologies, and building a data-skilled workforce.
* expand strategic multisector partnerships, including those that engage institutions seeking to build S&T capacity.