Policy ForumScience Innovation

Assessing the Impact of Science Funding

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Science  05 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5932, pp. 1273-1275
DOI: 10.1126/science.1175335

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Science supporters were rightly excited by the passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA, i.e., the stimulus package). Headlines in Science (1) and Nature (2) rejoiced at the new value placed on science as a basis for economic growth and associated job creation. Indeed, federal investment was at least partly based on a belief that the result would be more competitive firms and more, and better, jobs—and soon! (3). That belief was bolstered by advocacy groups: For example, a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) estimated that an additional $20 billion investment in research in the stimulus package would create ∼402,000 American jobs for 1 year.