President Obama’s 2013 budget request takes on what most experts have agreed is a need to boost basic research and development. The budget would set a course to eventually double the R&D budgets of three agencies: the National Science Foundation , the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“Within these agencies, funds will be focused on basic research directed at priority areas, such as clean energy technologies, the bio-economy, advanced manufacturing technologies, “smart” infrastructure, wireless communications, and cybersecurity,” Obama’s budget request reads.
It sets aside $140.8 billion for research and development, raising non-defense R&D by 5 percent from what was requested in 2011 and 2012. This includes $7.4 billion for the National Science Foundation, a 5 percent rise, with directions to look for research n advanced manufacturing, clean energy, wireless communications, and science and mathematics education. It includes $110 million for cybersecurity research in particular.
“Basic research has been America’s great strength, creating whole new industries and jobs. Especially as the private sector has reduced the amounts it dedicates to this type of research, it is critical that the Federal Government dedicates funds to it," the budget reads.
John Holdren , Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said while R&D is not a large percentage of the whole national budget, it is “enormous in terms of its potential positive influence on the future of our country.” Such investments can have significant payoffs down the road, he said.
“We think, and the president thinks, that it's absolutely key to the country's future to continue to make these investments in research and development in STEM education in order to have the sort of future that I think all Americans want and expect,” Holdren said at a briefing on Monday.
Josh Smith contributed contributed to this article.