Protect funding for high-risk research by setting aside a portion of the R&D budgets of federal agencies for this purpose.
Maintain a favorable economic and regulatory environment for capitalizing on research—for example, by using tax incentives to build stronger partnerships among academe, industry, and government.
Encourage industry to boost its support of research conducted in colleges and universities from 7 to 20% of total academic research over the next 10 years.
Two important goals can help policy-makers judge the adequacy of federal funding for FS&T. First, the United States should be among the world leaders in all major areas of science. Second, the United States should maintain clear leadership in some areas of science. The recent doubling of the budget of the National Institutes of Health—and other recent increases in R&D funding—acknowledge the tremendous opportunities and national needs that can be addressed through science and technology. Similar opportunities exist in the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, and the social and behavioral sciences—fields in which federal funding has been essentially flat for the last 15 years.
Among the steps that the federal government could take to ensure that funding for science and technology is adequate across fields are these:
Increase the budget for mathematics, the physical sciences, and engineering research by 12% a year for the next 7 years within the research accounts of the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the Department of Defense.
Return federal R&D funding to at least 1% of US gross domestic product.
Make the R&D tax credit permanent to promote private support for research and development, as requested by the Administration in the fiscal year (FY) 2006 budget proposal.
Support for a new interdisciplinary field of quantitative science and technology policy studies could shed light on the complex effects that scientific and technologic advances have on economic activities and social change.
In 1945, in his report Science—The Endless Frontier, Vannevar Bush proposed an idea that struck many people as far-fetched.1 He wrote that the