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March 17, 2021

Science Committee Releases Majority Staff Report on Scientific Brain Drain in the Federal Workforce

(Washington, DC) – Today, during the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee hearing, “Brain Drain: Rebuilding the Federal Scientific Workforce,” Subcommittee Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) submitted a Majority staff report into the record on trends in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce within federal science agencies following the sequestration in the early 2010s that impacted staffing within federal agencies and workforce-related actions taken by the Trump Administration that contributed to destabilizing the federal STEM workforce over the last four years.
The staff report, “Scientific Brain Drain: Quantifying the Decline of the Federal Scientific Workforce,” evaluates how STEM civil service employment has expanded or contracted over the past decade at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Gender, racial, and ethnic diversity trends within STEM fields are also evaluated in the report.
The report finds significant declines in the STEM workforce at EPA, particularly within the Office of Research and Development, DOE, and NOAA, as well as that racial and ethnic employment gaps are significant in STEM fields compared to the total federal workforce. These trends suggest the United States may need to recommit to promoting U.S. competitiveness in science and innovation, especially as China redoubles its investments in advanced technology and commitment to a pipeline of highly educated STEM workers.
A copy of the full report can be found here.