Feds should boost IT research, report says

National Academies

The federal government's support of information technology research is "essential" and must be raised to meet the growing challenges researchers face, according to a new report from the National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board.

The report, released by the National Academies today, states that agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Researched Projects Agency must play larger roles in IT research and must have the government's support to sustain a broad scope of research.

While touting the United States as the international leader in IT, the report calls for an increase in federal funding. Agencies must "adjust their strategies and tactics as national needs and imperatives change," the board states.

The focus of IT research must align with national needs, the report says. Homeland security, an increase of commodity IT products and a growing dependence of economic and social activity on networking and computer capabilities are shaping the approach to federally funded computer research, according to the report.

Government support for IT research should complement industrial research, the board said. Federal sponsorship of university-based research programs must also continue in order to develop an IT talent base to support future growth in both government and industrial research.

Other federal agencies that provide funding for IT research include NASA, the Energy Department, the National Institutes of Health, and parts of the Defense Department in addition to DARPA.

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