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May 05, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson Holds Bipartisan Roundtable on Federal Science Agencies Research and Analysis Capabilities in Addressing COVID-19

(Dallas, TX) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a bipartisan, Full Committee roundtable on the contributions that agencies within the Committee’s jurisdiction are making and can continue to make to science and technology-based solutions for identifying, understanding, tracking, treating, and containing COVID-19 and other emergent infectious diseases.

The expert panelist who participated in the roundtable included Dr. Michelle Buchanan, Deputy Director for Science and Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the co-lead of DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL) coordination team, which is tasked with identifying and coordinating capabilities related to COVID-19 within DOE Laboratories; Dr. Daniel Gerstein, Senior Policy Researcher for the RAND Corporation who previously served as the Department of Homeland Security’s Acting Under Secretary and Deputy Under Secretary in the Science & Technology Directorate from 2011-2014; Dr. Fleming Crim, Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Director at the National Science Foundation; Dr. Joanne Tornow, Assistant Director of the Directorate for Biological Sciences at NSF; Dr. Arthur “Skip” Lupia, Assistant Director of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at NSF; and  Dr. Marc Salit, Director of the Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology, a partnership between Stanford University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab.

“The gravity of this pandemic cannot be overstated, and we are all in this together –as our nation and the world work to reduce infections, save lives, and find a cure,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “And it is incumbent on us to leverage every federal resource we have in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of our agencies may need more resources to achieve their greatest potential. We may find the need for new interagency strategies that will allow them to maximize their contributions. The fight against this virus is far from over, and we must make sure that we are wisely deploying every tool we can to help overcome this worldwide challenge.”

Members discussed with the panelists the research and analysis capabilities most pertinent to the fight against COVID-19 within several of the federal agencies within the jurisdiction of the Committee; the barriers or resource inadequacies that may be preventing the federal research enterprise from fully and quickly mobilizing its capabilities to achieve timely outcomes on COVID-19; how federal agencies can collaborate more effectively to leverage their respective strengths to combat COVID-19; and how the federal research enterprise can do more to anticipate, understand, and mitigate emergent infectious diseases in the future.