ACS Positions on Policy Issues

Creating Opportunity through Scientific Innovation

The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society with members in industry, academia, and government. A not-for-profit organization chartered by Congress, ACS works with government to promote public policies that help the chemistry enterprise and its practitioners serve the nation. The Society is committed to addressing national and global challenges such as economic opportunity, energy and water availability, and environmental sustainability through the appropriate application of chemical science and engineering. ACS has over 20 public policy statements that aim to

Summary of ACS Public Policy Priorities

Investments in science and engineering have produced more than half of U.S. economic growth since WWII. Strong support for chemistry and other R&D is central to our nation’s global competitiveness, productivity, defense, public health, energy security, and environmental progress. Although the engines of innovation are largely in private hands, the federal government provides nearly 60 percent of all support for basic research. This investment fosters new knowledge, industrial innovation, and the training of future scientists and engineers. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Affairs has estimated that R&D investment accounted for seven percent of U.S. GDP growth between 1995 and 2004. Government also plays a key role in fostering a healthy climate for innovation through tax policy, international standards, intellectual property, and other incentives. ACS supports efforts to

  • Promote sustained federal investments in R&D, science infrastructure, and industrial innovation to enhance U.S. global competitiveness.
  • Speed up the development and commercialization of new technologies that promote energy independence, environmental sustainability, national and homeland security, human health, and other national goals.
  • Foster U.S. tax and trade policies that improve the competitiveness of U.S. entrepreneurs and companies.
  • Promote incentives and reduce economic, regulatory, and intellectual property barriers to the development of new technologies and associated science and technology jobs.

America needs scientific and engineering professionals. To equip today’s students with the skills to fill the technical jobs of tomorrow, we must improve science and mathematics education at the K-12, community college, undergraduate, and graduate levels. We also need to encourage talented people to enter science and engineering fields. Workforce policies must respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by an aging demographic, a more diverse workforce, and major shifts in employment practices. ACS supports efforts to

  • Enable lifelong, strong, inquiry-based science education for everyone in both formal and informal settings to improve the scientific understanding of all our citizens.
  • Strengthen the quality of teaching through increased partnership and support of pre- and in-service training of educators from the kindergarten through the graduate school levels.
  • Encourage the best and the brightest to pursue scientific careers, particularly more women, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities.
  • Enhance the ability of all scientists and engineers to bring specific technical talents to the U.S. workforce.
  • Strengthen professional opportunities and employment-related incentives for science and engineering practitioners.

Science can lead to better understanding of new solutions to many of society’s problems including environmental and health issues. In order to achieve this, the best science should be available to, and used by, government officials when making decisions. To achieve confidence in government decisions that depend upon science and technology, science must be considered in an open and responsible manner. ACS supports efforts to

  • Encourage environmental decisions that promote sustainable resource usage and waste prevention in an economically viable chemical enterprise.
  • Foster the development and adoption of green products and processes by industry, academia, and government.
  • Assure appropriate, balanced use of voluntary and regulatory measures in achieving environmental, health, safety, and security goals and promote the responsible use of science in environmental management.
  • Encourage appropriate global harmonization of environmental, health, and safety initiatives to promote science and technology around the globe.
  • Promote institutions and guidelines to assure that governments make appropriate and open use of scientific and technological information in making policy decisions.

Science and technology provide critical tools that help us address our national and global needs. Open exchange of information and ideas is critical to scientific progress. However, dynamic security challenges to our infrastructure, economy, and lives require that the scientific community minimize unintended or nefarious uses of legitimate science and technology. ACS supports efforts to

  • Promote a strong, non-governmental, scientific publishing enterprise that assures access to information and exchange of scientific ideas and information among all parties with legitimate uses while appropriately protecting copyright and security-related information.
  • Assure the quality of science and technological advancement through open, rigorous and inclusive peer review related to scientific publishing.
  • Assure the most open interactions possible among scientists, engineers, and students from across the globe.