House Dem calls for equal opportunity access to federal STEM grants

"Research shows that women and underrepresented minorities, who by 2050 will comprise more than 50 percent of our population, are disproportionately lost at every transition point in their STEM studies and research careers," she said. "As a nation, we cannot afford to continue hemorrhaging so much talent."

Her bill would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to collect data on federal research awards and STEM faculty and universities and promote research into the participation of women and minorities in STEM fields. The bill says information gathered from these steps would be used to help policymakers make the grants more inclusive.

It requires the NSF to develop guidance to universities to help them identify "any cultural and institutional barriers" that limit the research careers of women and minorities. The legislation then authorizes the NSF to award grants to universities that adopt policies that help recruit and retain minority students.

It also asks the government to create policies aimed at getting these grants to people with "caregiving responsibilities, including care for a newborn or newly adopted child."

And, it calls for federal guidelines and best practices to reduce the effects of "implicit bias in the review of federal research grants."

The House has passed a few STEM-related bills over the last few months. Late last year, it passed the STEM Jobs Act, which would create a new visa category for non-U.S. citizens with degrees in the STEM fields.

But the Senate never took up that legislation.

In February, the House approved a bill that would create a STEM competition for students, which will be run by the House.