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Buzz of the week: R&D

Buzz of the week: R&D

There are very few things better than having a President mention your program in a State of the Union address. It means that a program, which may have otherwise wallowed, can suddenly get its time in the spotlight… and powerful momentum. As columnist Tom Oliphant put it, "One thing a president can do is steal other people ideas -- that the victim of the theft is always grateful."

Such is the case with those interested in science and technology research, who got a boost when the President spoke about American Competitiveness Initiative.

The program calls for such things as doubling the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years, improving the quality of math and science education.

John Marburger, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, explained during a press briefing:

The President made a strong commitment last night to double within 10 years the budgets of the agencies that have the greatest impact on physical science, which is the infrastructure for all the sciences. The cost of this program over 10 years is $50 billion for the R&D part, but that's augmented by another program to make it possible for more companies to participate in the R&D tax credit. The President has called for years to make this tax credit permanent, and we hope that Congress will see fit to recognize the value of doing that and also improving it so that it's more accessible to more countries.

The major cost of this program for the first year will be in the cost of the tax credits, $4.6 billion. The cost of the doubling of the physical science research agencies, priority agencies is $910 billion in the first year, and extending out over 10 years, that amounts to $50 billion over 10 years -- a major investment in the research infrastructure of our nation.

This is actually a program that could make its way through the lawmaking process. The program has support from the National Academies, the IT industry, IT industry groups, and there are bills in Congress supported by Democrats and Republicans with over half the members as sponsors.

So there are many people who are thrilled with last week's idea theft.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Feb 03, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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