American Chemical Society releases 2021 Public Policy Agenda

The American Chemical Society (ACS) congratulates and welcomes the incoming administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the newly elected and returning members of the 117th Congress.

ACS looks forward to working with our national leaders on key policy priorities in a bipartisan manner to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure a sustainable and diverse chemistry enterprise.

ACS is committed to advancing policies designed to ensure a robust U.S. innovation ecosystem that sustainably grows our economy and creates jobs, while also promoting global scientific advancement. The Society has identified four broad categories of policy recommendations for the incoming administration and Congress.

Ensure robust scientific research funding

Sustained, predictable research funding is key for a vital chemistry research enterprise. Since World War II, the U.S. has been preeminent in applied and basic research. To continue innovating in areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and energy generation and storage, the U.S. chemistry research enterprise requires investment in line with historic norms and additional funding to recover from COVID-19. Congress and the administration must work together to pass a budget and approve appropriations that empower researchers to continue working to discover the advancements that will power the economy for decades to come.

Related ACS Statements: Science and Technology in the BudgetU.S. Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Support a Diverse STEM Education and Workforce Pipeline

ACS believes that ensuring equity of access to high quality, hands-on STEM education can help to bridge the gaps that exist in schools, communities and the workforce. The historically bipartisan support for investments in K-12, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (known as HEA) and growth of career and technical education programs are great starting points for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Professional development for educators is desperately needed to aid teaching and learning in virtual and in-person classrooms across the country.

As our nation grappled with the pandemic alongside the rest of the world, the emphasis on the global nature of science in research and development has been in the spotlight. To ensure meaningful discourse and progress, Congress and the administration must work together to protect scientific education and exchange. Foreign scholars, students, scientists and engineers are vital to a robust scientific enterprise and economy; creating robust and reliable immigration and visa policies is critical to our nation continuing to attract the best and brightest.

Related ACS statements: Science Education PolicyFreedom of International Scientific ExchangeVisas for Scientific Collaboration and Academic StudyWorkforce Related Immigration

Promote Sustainability across the Global Chemistry Enterprise and Environment

We must leave a sustainable world for future generations, even as we work to overcome the challenges of today. This will require a commitment from today’s leaders to take a holistic view of economic development. Areas such as renewable energy, green chemistry and sustainable development can unlock exciting new fields of chemistry, grow our economy and create jobs. The Society believes we must reduce single-use plastics and commit to removing the waste of previous generations, making our waterways and oceans clean again for all.

ACS strongly urges policymakers to take bold action to address the changing climate. The physical and atmospheric chemistry underlying anthropogenic global warming is robust and well-established, and the time is now to mitigate and adapt to greenhouse gas emissions. While not the only step that needs to be taken to address this issue, recommitment of the U.S. to the Paris Agreement on climate change  remains a top priority for ACS.

Related ACS statements: Global Climate ChangeEnergy PolicySustainability and the Chemistry Enterprise

Ensure the integrity of science in policy and regulatory decision-making

Policymakers and the public require access to the best available science in order to make informed choices. COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of ensuring scientists are able to share their work, both within the scientific community and with society at large. The federal government, as one of the largest funders of research and employers of scientists, should work to ensure there are transparent rules governing when and how scientists can discuss their research, how that research is used in policymaking and how the underlying data is made available. The rules should err on the side of protecting scientists’ ability to share their expertise with both policymakers and the public.

Related ACS statements: Peer Review: Ensuring High Quality SciencePublishing: Ensuring Access to High Quality ScienceScientific Integrity in Public PolicyChemical Risk Assessment and Regulatory Decision Making

The Society’s comprehensive policy priorities, the individual public policy statements and related materials are available at For more information please contact

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The Society is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Issued January 2021