DR. JOHN GIBBONS
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
AAAS COLLOQUIUM ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
April 15, 1993
The Administration is committed to maintaining U.S. leadership in science and technology. The President and Vice President made that commitment during the campaign and the stimulus package, the investment package, and the FY94 budget request reflect that commitment.
Despite the pressing need to reduce the deficit, the Administration is requesting $76 billion for R&D in FY94. That is a 3 percent increase overFY93, at a time when many agencies are facing serious funding cuts.
Clearly, if there was even more money for R&D, even more ground-breaking research could be done. Unfortunately, we live in the real world. There is just not enough money for everything: health care, protecting the environment, restoring our inner cities to economic vitality.
That is why it is so important that Federal R&D dollars are spent wisely and effectively. The Administration, led by OSTP, is taking a close look at Federal R&D programs. We are looking for duplication and for programs that are no longer relevant or producing good science or new technology. With all the exciting (and underfunded) opportunities out there, we can't afford these programs. We have already proposed cuts to several programs that the Administration determined were not top priority. Nuclear reactor R&D is just one example.
In doing our evaluation we will be looking at how Federal R&D programs help us achieve national goals, like:
1. Creating new technologies that can lead to new products and new jobs.
(After all, our campaign slogan was, "It's the Economy, stupid!")
2. A cleaner environment
3. Better education for our children
4. A strong, cost-effective national defense
5. Reinventing government
6. Expanding the frontiers of knowledge.
This last point may be the most important goal of all.
We look to science to help us understand our place in the universe.
Science, like art, has the power to inspire. It is a key part of our culture. This country would be a sad place indeed, if we stopped searching, if we lost our curiosity about n ow the world works.
The National Science Foundation allocates most of its funding to what it calls "curiosity-driven research"--research that may or may not lead to useful, economically-important discoveries. We cannot possibly know ahead of time where basic research will lead--if we could it would not be basic research--by definition.
Support for basic research is also support for the education and training of the next generation of scientists and engineers.
If you look at each of the other five broad, national goals I've outlined you'll see that basic research plays a key role in each. For instance, basic scientific research provides the foundation of technology. The products developed in the year 2020 will probably depend on discoveries being made today.
I'd like to focus a bit on the first goal I mentioned above--developing new technologies that can lead to a stronger economy. On February 22, the President and Vice President released the Administration's Technology Initiative, entitled "Technology for America's Economic Growth, A New Direction to Build Economic Strength." It outlined in 36 pages of detail, the Administration's strategy for ensuring that Federal technology programs support three simple goals:
A) Promote long-term economic growth that results in job creation and a cleaner environment
B) Use technology to make government more productive and more responsive to the needs of its citizens
C) Maintain U.S. leadership in basic science, mathematics, and engineering (the foundation of technology)
What's new? What's different about this paper from something the Bush Administration would have done?
More comprehensive. Not just research agencies--we deal with tax issues, regulatory issues, education issues--everything that touches on technology policy.
More oriented towards results. We lay out clear goals and say how we'll reach them. More focused on people's needs--jobs, better government, cleaner environment.
More aggressive. We have some important new programs. The Bush Administration usually just dabbled in technology policy. Consider civilian technology; we are dramatically expanding the Advanced Technology Program atNIST. The Republicans saw that as simply a pilot project.
What this is not. The technology policy paper does not define the Administration's R&D policy. There has been some confusion, with researchers worrying that we are proposing fundamental changes to the U.S. research enterprise to focus all of our resources on technology development. That is not the case. What it is is an effort to ensure that Federal dollars spent on technology programs are spent wisely.
FY94 BUDGET OVERVIEW
The FY94 R&D budget proposal reflects the President's overall plan to move our country forward by focusing on the economy, investing in the future, and reinventing government. Our goals are a growing economy with more high-skill, high-wage jobs for American workers; a cleaner environment where, for example, energy efficiency increases profits and reduces pollution; a stronger, more competitive private sector able to maintain U.S. leadership in critical world markets, an educational system where every student is challenged to reach his or her full potential; and an inspired scientific and technological research community focused on ensuring not just our national security, but our very quality of life.
There are two initial points that I would like to make: First, this is the first Administration to produce a line-by-line budget in such a short time in its first year -- a formidable task. It will take some additional time until we are able to provide all of the various cross-cuts and breakdowns that fill in the details of the budget. Second, reordering our federal R&D programs to reflect the end of the Cold War is a huge effort -- it won't happen overnight. Having said that, I believe that this budget represents a good first step, particularly in the face of our current economic challenges.
The fact that overall R&D expenditures are as strong as they are in this deficit-cutting budget is a key point. Within the R&D budget, however, there is also an important shift in where and how the funds are spent. We are beginning to shift the balance between civilian and defense R&D expenditures, with the intent of equalizing these expenditures within the next few years. There is also an increased emphasis on applied R&D, specifically applied R&D for civilian and commercial technologies. There is a fundamental shift both toward developing a much closer working partnership between the public and private sectors, and toward leveraging government investments in cooperation with private investments. All of this, again, takes place against the backdrop of the preservation of our basic R&D budget.
FOCUS ON THE ECONOMY
This budget reflects the changed priorities that come with the end of the Cold War, as we focus less on military confrontation and more on economic competition. This FY94 budget proposal increases the focus on civilian and commercial technologies, and strengthens the federal government's ability to work more effectively in partnership with American industry to improve our economy. Some highlights of the request include:
- A $58 billion request for applied research and dev elopment activities. The biggest percent increase in this category will be for civilian appliedresearch and development activities, a $17 billion investment or six percentincrease from 1993.
- A reorientation of the roles of our nat ional laboratories and researchagencies to work more closely with American industry. Funding has beenproposed for over 1,700 non-defense Cooperative Research and DevelopmentAgreements (CRADAs) throughout the national laboratory system, with public andprivate investments (cash and non-cash) anticipated to exceed $3 billion. Theability of the federal government to cooperate with American high technologyindustries to develop crucial commercial technologies will be strengthened bya dramatic incre ase -- almost 19 percent -- in funding for the NationalInstitute for Standards and Technology (NIST).
- A substantial commitment to a 21st century information infrastructure.More and more businesses depend on access to information and high -speedcommunications links to acquire and retain a competitive edge. R&Dinvestments in a the supercomputer, networking, and telecommunicationstechnologies critical to a 21st century information infrastructure will also becrucial to improving educ ation, health care, and the quality of life for allAmericans. The budget proposes over $1 billion for R&D in this area, a 26percent increase over the FY '93 level.
- Investment in improving our transportation infrastructure. Whil e weare embarking on a new era of information technology, our economiccompetitiveness and quality of life depends as well upon improving our physicaltransportation infrastructure. Nearly $2 billion is proposed for R&D innew transportation techno logies, a 29 percent increase over the 1993 level.
- Increased emphasis on Manufacturing Technology. ManufacturingR&D will be prioritized during the next several years, both through FCCSETand through additional initiatives de signed to improve access to advancedmanufacturing technologies. This will include a national network ofmanufacturing extension centers, with additional spending beyond what isreflected in this R&D budget. In FY94, nearly $1.5 billion is beingpro posed in this area.
A COMMITMENT TO INVESTING IN THE FUTURE WITH BASIC RESEARCH
Basic research is the seed bed for the technical advances that drive theeconomy. In almost every field, U.S. researchers lead the world in scient ificcitations, in Nobel Prizes, and in most other measures of scientificexcellence. A healthy basic research budget is a fundamental necessity. Noneof the innovations in applied R&D proposed in this budget will be funded atthe expense of basic s cience. This budget proposes $14 billion for basicresearch, including:
-- $11 billion for university research from agencies including the NationalScience Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), theDepartment of Energy (DOE), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration (NASA);
-- A 13 percent increase in funding ($1.5 billion) for the U.S. Global ChangeResearch Program, an interagency program operating under FCCSET;
-- An o verall 3 percent increase in funding for NIH ($10.7 billion), with majorfunding for breast cancer research and AIDS research; and
-- A 18 percent increase in funding for research and related activities at NSF($2.2 billion) over the FY93 appropria ted level.
In this budget, how we spend money receives as much attention as howmuch we spend. Each department and agency will participate in this basicrestructuring of Federal R&a mp;D spending. Cabinet Secretaries and AgencyDirectors have, at the request of the Vice President, named Deputies orUndersecretaries in each agency to serve as points of coordination for scienceand technology policy.
These individuals will meet, under the chairmanship of the Office of Scienceand Technology Policy and the National Economic Council, to develop andcoordinate federal science and technology polices. They will focus on 3central goals:
-- Long-term economic growth that c reates jobs and protects the environment;
-- Making government more efficient and more responsive;
-- World leadership in basic science, mathematics, and engineering.
We are also committed to working in cooperation with American industry and ourinternational partners to make the maximum use of every federal dollar. In atime of scarce resources, it is essential to merge public and private interestswherever possible. We expect big pay-offs for the Nation from leveragedFederal investme nts, i.e., partnerships with industry ( consortia, cooperativeR&D agreements, etc.) that ensure that R&D funds are directed towardnational needs and that innovations that occur in the laboratory move quicklyinto the marketplace.
This b udget reflects both our challenges, and our goals. I believe it is anexcellent blueprint for moving this country into the future.
IMPORTANCE OF STIMULUS PACKAGE
In addition to the FY94 R&D budget, I would like r eemphasize the criticalimportance of President Clinton's stimulus package to our R&D programs.
For example, the stimulus package includes supplemental appropriations forsignificant investments in such vital programs as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Science and Technology, including funds for both ATP and NIST's intramural programs.
The stimulus request also includes more than $117 million for NIST and $207million for NSF -- funds that can be