Statement on Science Funding
March 28, 2022 –– The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has been chronically underfunded, and for decades, leading organizations have come together to provide funding and other support for OSTP. Schmidt Futures has proudly worked with this group in recent years and we have publicly acknowledged our contributions and support of private-public partnerships to support talent and advance scientific innovations for the betterment of society.
We were disappointed by the reporting in a recent article that misrepresented our relationship with OSTP. We have great respect for the media, and for the journalists who report stories, even those with which we may disagree. However, we also believe in the media’s responsibility to report the facts, which we produced previously in this case, in order to provide the most complete and accurate picture. The unsubstantiated thesis of the article is that there was undue influence over the department, which there was not. The following is a brief list that will provide a more complete picture of how science funding in the U.S. really works, and why the country requires much more of it:
- The United States Government and the OSTP have used pooled philanthropic funding to ensure proper staffing across agencies for over 25 years.
- Specifically, the OSTP has a long tradition of bringing in technical expertise and fellows to address the rapidly changing science and tech landscape, as the statute that created OSTP (1976) urges the Director to “ utilize with their consent to the fullest extent possible the services, personnel, equipment, facilities, and information (including statistical information) of public and private agencies and organizations, and individuals, in order to avoid duplication of effort and expense.”
- In 1971, Congress passed the bipartisan-supported Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) to enable “tours of duty” across government for subject matter experts from universities and non-profit organizations to provide fast and effective technical expertise and services for public benefit to the Federal Government, often at no cost to taxpayers. Schmidt Futures is always proud to answer the call to serve when our country needs us.
- In 2021, the Federation of American Scientists established a “Talent Hub” to support fellowships in the federal government. Schmidt Futures is just one of 20 organizations or initiatives to contribute to the fund. This funding is administered by a neutral party to several agencies based on need and Schmidt Futures has no control over specific appointments, policies or agencies that the funding supports.
- Schmidt Futures staff had no authority to make any policy decisions and did not do so through OSTP, and the story presents no evidence or examples to the contrary.
- OSTP has always had and continues to retain full discretion and ownership over appointments, hires and policy decisions.
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