White House details 2019 R&D priorities

The administration is directing agencies to lean more on the private sector and to tilt their future research and development priorities -- and dollars -- toward defense technologies, border security, economic growth, efficient health care and low-cost energy sources.

abstract
 

The Trump administration is giving an early glimpse into its tech and research and development priorities for fiscal year 2019.

In a memo from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House is directing agencies to lean more on the private sector and to tilt their future research and development priorities — and dollars — toward defense technologies, border security, economic growth, efficient health care and low-cost energy sources.

The memo, signed by OMB director Mick Mulvaney and deputy CTO Michael Kratsios, stresses that these areas “should receive special focus in agency budget requests,” and promote working across agencies and with the private sector when possible.

On the defense and security sides, OMB and OSTP specifically want agencies to invest in missile defense, autonomous systems, improved cybersecurity and technologies to aid border surveillance and law enforcement.

"Agencies should give priority to policies and actions that place an emphasis on expanding the STEM workforce to include all Americans, both urban and rural, and including women and other underrepresented groups," the memo states.

The memo also instructs agencies to continue "disposing of facilities that are no longer needed."

The memo seeks to avoid cross-agency duplication by coordinating across agencies and supporting early-stage research that is supplemented by the private sector in later stages and "can result in the development of transformative commercial products and services."

"Budget proposals should minimize focus on incremental efforts that are already being explored by industry," the memo states.

The White House also wants agencies to focus on ways to increase accountability and efficiency, and promotes agencies to develop quantitative metrics for all federal research and development programs, and stick with efforts "that have the potential to contribute to the public good," and jettison programs that could "progress more efficiently" through the private sector.

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