A new White House directive laying out next year’s spending priorities for federal research agencies describes a U.S. science enterprise imperiled by internal problems and foreign governments. It’s the first time this annual exercise has addressed the perceived threat to research posed by Chinese government entities.
“Research in the important fields of fusion energy and plasma science promises both short-term and long-term benefits to industry and society at large,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “These initiatives ensure that America continues to lead in these critical fields.” A total of $30 million will go to 10 U.S. multi-institutional research teams to support fusion energy research at international facilities.
The National Science Foundation has invested more than $250 million in nearly 700 recipients of the Fiscal Year 2019 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards, one of NSF’s most prestigious honors. Over the next five years, each teacher-scholar will use at least $400,000 in award funds to carry out their proposed plans to advance their field and educate the next generation of researchers.
It’s no accident that mergers are increasing as our economy continues to transform through technology, which itself is driven by corporate investment. Tech has been a key driver of current economic growth -- likely even greater than we’ve been able to measure -- but the spending on research and development needed to bring new innovations to market is frequently risky, costly and complex.
The United States used to lead in both areas. In the 1960s, the federal government invested more in research than all other governments and foreign businesses combined. No wonder the United States dominated the world in technological innovation. The United States also led in tax incentives for innovation, with President Reagan signing into law the world’s first R&D tax credit in 1981. As late as the Clinton Administration, the United States led the world in R&D tax generosity.
The U.S. Army Futures Command may be in Texas to take advantage of Austin’s tech-startup scene, but the Lone Star State has at least one other feature that meshes well with research into hypersonic missiles, lasers, and autonomous weapons: lots of room.
China is striving for a stonger position on the global stage. It has made extraordinary investments in research and development in an attempt to dominate new technological frontiers like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. But scientific and commercial advances, on any front and by any country, should not be achieved through the alleged theft of intellectual property, the co-opting of U.S.-funded researchers...
Over the five-year period between FY 2014 and FY 2018, the 268,355 awards distributed by NIH had a dollar value of more than $126.0 billion --with the vast majority (98.8 percent in FY 2018) going to grantees in metropolitan areas. In general, this analysis focuses on the 123 metropolitan areas with at least 20 NIH awards in FY 2018.
In July, 1945, Vannevar Bush addressed a report to President Franklin D. Roosevelt arguing that basic research needed to become a priority supported by the federal government. As an engineer, businessman and government administrator, Bush recognized that each of these three worlds--academia, industry and government--plays a vital role in promoting scientific innovation. Crucially, he said, the government’s role should to provide the guiding vision for basic research, seed the related effort and sustain its pool of talent.
The values that have driven NSF and its global research partners for decades are openness, transparency, and reciprocal collaboration; these are essential for advancing the frontiers of knowledge. Our science and engineering enterprise, however, is put at risk when other governments endeavor to benefit from the global research ecosystem without upholding these values.