Protect U.S. Science Funding

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Science  26 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6008, pp. 1155
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200554


The recent power shift in the U.S. Congress reflects in part the public's desire to get the U.S. economy quickly back on track and the federal budget under better control. In recognition, both the Obama Administration and the Republican Party leadership are considering significant budget reductions. These could result in 5 to 10% (or greater) cuts in R&D allocations for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The consequences would be severe. Federal agencies, which often commit their funds years in advance but only pay them out in later years, would have little left for new and competing renewal grants. Agencies could see funding success rates fall to below 1 in 10 applications, and new investigators—the seeds of the future—could be hit even harder. These kinds of budget cuts work against the ultimate national goals of restoring the U.S. economy and its international prowess. It is well documented that science, engineering, and technology fuel innovation and economic growth. That is why virtually all competitor countries, including India, China, and Korea, are increasing investments in science and engineering research, development, and education. U.S. funding looks like it could be heading in the opposite direction.

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