“Obama Promises Major Investment in Science” – AP News story (April 27, 2009)
“The bottom line is that if you’re a fan of new technologies being developed on US soil, you should be pretty damned excited.” – Alex Koppelman, writing in Salon.com
President Obama announced today an effort to increase the nation’s investment in research and development spending for the sciences and new technologies. As Alex Koppelman points out:
One particularly striking point to note about this: That level of funding [an increase to 'more than three percent of GDP'] would almost meet the amount of money spent on defense. To some extent, that may simply represent a shift in where on the budget certain funds are accounted for, as defense spending has always been a key driver of American scientific research, but it’s still a sharp difference from the normal state of affairs.
I’ve written before (“How to Find Research“) about the need for increased R&D spending, and about the role of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy in its main role: advising the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the impacts of science and technology on domestic and international affairs.
OSTP does the hard work – but it is guided in part by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAST. This group can be a quiet backwater – as it has been on and off for years – or it has the potential to be a dynamic leading voice in advising the Administration on S&T policies, particularly in investments in scientific research and tech innovation.
It looks like we’re on the dynamic upswing, given that President Obama also used today’s high-profile announcement to name his appointments to an all-new PCAST.
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