Joe Biden’s top science advisers are pushing for the creation of a new research funding division within the US State Department to give diplomats the ability to trade US science alliances for geopolitical favours.
The plan, sketched out in a White House strategy document, is meant to address a bipartisan concern that the US is being badly outmanoeuvred by both allies and adversaries in converting research investments into strategic global alliances.
US science funding agencies, according to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), are being “overwhelmed by the number of requests from international partners for bilateral science and/or technology collaboration”.
“Many countries want science and technology to be a cornerstone of our bilateral relationship,” the OSTP told Times Higher Education. “The issue comes when agencies can’t respond to these requests due to significant constraints, and this inability could lead to misinterpretations. We want to fix this.”