White House Outlines R&D Objectives

Each year, just as Congress begins to start its work on the federal budget for the next year, the White House begins to plan for the budget request for the year after that. For example, the federal government is currently in FY21, Congress is working on FY22, and now, the White House is sending out the initial memos to federal agency heads for FY23.

These planning memos are viewed as offering initial insights into the goals of an administration. The goals outlined in the FY23 memo (https://bit.ly/3tNM4wv) focus on research and development priorities across the federal government. The three focal points are addressing climate change, making sure the United States is prepared for the next pandemic, and promoting equity for all Americans.

Agency heads are directed to increase supply chain resiliency and the development of products produced in the United States. Agencies are instructed to focus their pandemic preparedness on the development of early detection methods and the development and manufacture of both therapies and vaccines.

The White House also directs agencies to “identify and prioritize R&D investments that advance understanding of climate change and the development of mitigation and adaptation solutions.” It also strongly instructs federal agencies to prioritize research and development projects “with a strong potential to advance equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically disadvantaged.”

The memo recognizes the economic benefits federal research and development can have on the economy, saying that the administration wants to replace the decades-old habit of inventing products in the United States and having them produced in other countries. Instead, the administration wants to develop an “invent it here, make it here” approach.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: kwilson@ascb.org