Good morning. Welcome, Director Panchanathan and Dr. Reed. Thank you for taking the time to be with us today. I’m looking forward to hearing your testimony and thoughts on the future of the National Science Foundation.

As the primary authorizing Committee for the National Science Foundation, we have a key responsibility to oversee the Foundation, ensuring it continues to support American innovation while spending taxpayer’s funding wisely. Today’s hearing ensures we fulfill that responsibility. 

America has long led the world in science and technology. Our strength lies in the curiosity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens. From the development of the first computer to the sequencing of code that drives automated trucks, American scientists, engineers, and innovators continually push the limits, and we reap these benefits every day.

The National Science Foundation has played a vital role in these innovations by advancing basic scientific knowledge and training that underpins these technologies. Such investments in fundamental research are critical for maintaining American competitiveness.

Today we face threats from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to our global leadership in science and technology. NSF has a crucial role in helping us address that competition – both by supporting innovation and securing our research. We must continue to drive progress while maintaining research security.

Beyond foreign threats, we are in the midst of a technological revolution. The extraordinary rise of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing has proven how quickly we must act to keep pace.

Speaking from personal experience as an entrepreneur, my trucking business has benefited from the artificial intelligence revolution. 

It is important we ensure these federal investments don’t just go to a couple of big cities on the East and West coasts, but also places like Athens, Georgia. I am proud that the University of Georgia is one of the few to be selected as a recipient of the NSF’s Regional Innovation Development Awards. Frankly, we have a number of great institutions that are benefitting from NSF in my home state.

This investment provides sorely needed resources for the Georgia academic and business communities to work together to build an advanced agriculture infrastructure using new and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

This Committee recognizes how the NSF's budgetary constraints, coupled with evolving geopolitical dynamics and shifting research priorities, underscore the importance of our discussion today. I look forward to hearing how NSF plans to prioritize funding and maximize the return on investment for taxpayers.

Again, I thank our witnesses for being here today, and I look forward to your testimony.