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Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas Introduce Legislation to Support Early-Career Researchers During and After Pandemic

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Yesterday, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) introduced H.R. 144, the Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act. This legislation creates a new postdoctoral fellowship program at the National Science Foundation to help support career researchers whose employment opportunities have been impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. The goal of this fellowship program would be to prevent the loss of research talent due to job market disruptions caused by any economic decline during and after the pandemic.

“I am deeply worried about the disappearance of STEM job opportunities and the potential long-term consequences for our STEM pipeline and consequently our innovation ecosystem,” saidChairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “We must act now to avoid losing an entire generation of talented scientists and engineers from our research pipeline. These are the very people whom we will need to overcome the next health crisis, to protect our population against the consequences of catastrophic climate change, and to ensure we remain a global leader in science and technology – leadership that is essential to our economic and national security.”

“America’s scientific progress depends on a large pool of talented STEM professionals,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas. “Our postdoctoral researchers are a critical link in the chain of developing the next generation of scientists. Unfortunately, in the STEM community, postdocs have been disproportionately affected by COVID-related lab closures, reduced funding, and hiring freezes. We risk losing these valuable scientists if we do nothing. I’m proud to join Chairwoman Johnson in introducing the Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act to support this up and coming generation of scientists, and preserve America’s research and technology leadership.”

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