Obama Proposes Massive Increase in Science Funding
By Michael D. Shear
Somewhat overshadowed by the swine flu crisis today was President Obama's call for dramatically increasing the amount spent on basic science research.
The president said in a speech to the National Academy of Sciences that the United States should increase the amount of government and private money spent on scientific research to three percent of the nation's economic output.
"We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science," he said. "This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history."
Obama did not, however, say how long that would take, and he did not specifically address how the federal government would make that happen.
He did outline several increases in funding for science, including money for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy and a commitment to double the budgets of three key science agencies over the next 10 years.
Obama also sought to tie his broader science initiatives to more immediate health concerns.
"If there was ever a day that reminded us of our shared stake in science and research, it's today. We are closely monitoring the emerging cases of swine flu in the United States. And this is obviously a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert. But it's not a cause for alarm," he said.
Posted at 2:16 PM ET on Apr 27, 2009
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