Invent Together | Legislative Update on the IDEA Act Legislative Update on the IDEA Act | Invent Together

Legislative Update on the IDEA Act

July 21, 2022

Invent Together successfully advocated for the IDEA Act and other provisions related to inventor diversity to be included in the Senate and House innovation and competition bills known as USICA and the America COMPETES Act. For months, a conference committee has been working to reconcile the differences between these two bills. This week, lawmakers decided to advance a narrower bill focused on the U.S. semiconductor industry and select R&D initiatives.

Tuesday night, the Senate held a procedural vote on whether to proceed with the narrower bill. The Senate voted 64-34 in favor of advancing this legislation. The legislation under consideration contains numerous provisions that will help expand inventor diversity. Invent Together supports the following provisions in the bill:

Provisions We Support

  • Language on invention, patenting, technology transfer, and commercialization, including that funds may be used for the costs associated with “instrumentation, technology transfer, and commercialization activities, including patenting and licensing” (Secs. 10388, 10391)
  • Authorization of $3.1 billion to higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and consortia with an industry organization or firm in a relevant technology or innovation sector to advance the development, adoption, and commercialization of technologies, including to help offset the costs of patenting and licensing research products (Sec. 10391)
  • Regional Innovation Engines to support entities working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), EPSCoR institutions, emerging research institutions, or community colleges to develop and deploy critical technologies including to reimburse the cost of instrumentation, technology transfer, and commercialization activities, including patenting and licensing (Sec. 10388)
  • Awards and partnerships with emerging research institutions to broaden participation in research and innovation (Sec. 10325(c))
  • Creation of the position of National Science Foundation (NSF) Chief Diversity Officer to oversee diversity and inclusion matters for the agency (Sec. 10327)
  • NSF grants to support research related to diversity and inclusion in the technology sector (Sec. 10326)
  • Authorization of $81 billion to NSF over five years for research and related activities including $20 billion for a new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships, and $13 billion for STEM and invention-related education including various fellowships, traineeships, and scholarships (Sec. 10303)
  • Requirement that the new NSF Directorate broaden participation to populations historically underrepresented in STEM (Sec. 10384)
  • Requirement that federal science agencies establish caregiver policies and provide funds administered by the NSF for research on sexual harassment in STEM fields (Secs. 10501, 10531–10539)
  • Support for R&D on widespread and sustained implementation of STEM education innovations (Title III, Subtitle B)
  • A provision providing for R&D to increase access to STEM education opportunities in rural schools and to provide teachers with the resources they need to teach more effectively (Sec. 10512)
  • A directive for the Department of Education (DOE) to support the development of a scientific workforce through programs to facilitate K-12, university students, early-career researchers, faculty, and the National Laboratories through use of proven techniques to expand the number of individuals from underrepresented groups pursuing and attaining skills or undergraduate and graduate degrees (Sec. 10111)
  • A requirement that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conduct outreach to and develop research collaborations with HBCUs and MSIs, including recruiting students and faculty at such institutions to participate in graduate student internships and visiting faculty research programs (Sec. 10241)
  • Priority provisions for funding to underrepresented populations and outreach provisions to such populations as well as a “special consideration” provision for applicants who graduated from or intend to conduct research at MSIs and emerging research institutions. (Secs. 10321, 10330, 10512, 10601)
  • A provision that directs the Secretary of Energy to support the coordination of relevant technology transfer programs that advance the commercial application of clean energy technologies and to facilitate the development of metrics to measure the impact of clean energy technology transfer programs on commercial applications of clean energy technologies being developed by entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds (Sec. 10715)
  • A provision charging the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with developing and submitting to Congress a comprehensive national science and technology strategy including how to maintain and advance U.S. leadership in science and technology, including in the key technology focus areas, as well as a quadrennial review of the science and technology enterprise of the United States (Secs. 10611, 10613)
  • Requirement that the Director of OSTP coordinate with the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the National Security Council (NSC), the Director of the National Economic Council (NEC), and other relevant agency heads to review each national security strategy with regard to U.S. national competitiveness in science, technology, research, innovation, and technology transfer activities, including patenting and licensing, that support the national security strategy (Sec. 10612)

We are thrilled these provisions are included in the bill, but we are disappointed that the IDEA Act was not included. We will continue to advocate for the IDEA Act’s enactment.