China's military has set up a new department modelled on the Pentagon's hi-tech research agency to develop state-of-the-art weapons such as stealth aircraft and electromagnetic cannons. The Scientific Research Steering Committee was set up early this year, according to a documentary aired on state broadcaster CCTV that revealed the new department for the first time.
Experts at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) discussed how scientists from coast to coast are preparing to deploy an array of technologies and methodologies to gain unprecedented views of the sun.
Imagine replacing a damaged eye with a window directly into the brain -- one that communicates with the visual part of the cerebral cortex by reading from a million individual neurons and simultaneously stimulating 1,000 of them with single-cell accuracy, allowing someone to see again.
In FY 2015, federal agencies obligated $30.5 billion to 1,016 academic institutions for science and engineering (S&E) activities. This represents a 2% decrease in current dollars from the $31.1 billion obligated to 1,003 academic institutions in FY 2014.
New launch vehicles promise cheaper access to space, either to Earth orbit and beyond or for suborbital missions. The cubesat revolution has made it cheaper than ever to build small but sophisticated spacecraft. That combination suggests that it’s feasible for scientists to develop missions without the need to go through government agencies for funding.
Reducing or eliminating the R&D tax credit to “pay for” a lower corporate rate would be a serious mistake. To boost productivity and competitiveness, Congress should lower the corporate rate while expanding the research credit’s Alternative Simplified Credit from 14 to 20 percent.
The SBIR program has been a legislated requirement of the Department of Defense, an agency responsible for roughly 40 percent of all federal extramural R&D spending, for more than three decades. One might expect that over that amount of time, the Department of Defense would have developed a system to become compliant with SBIR’s fundamental provision that a minimum threshold of innovation research spending be directed toward small businesses.
Last year American taxpayers spent more than $42 billion for scientific research and education at universities and nonprofits across the country. Most of this investment contributed to American innovation, economic competitiveness and national security. Taxpayers would be surprised to learn that approximately one-quarter of that funding -- more than $10 billion -- pays not for the cost of research but to cover universities’ and nonprofits’ overhead.
The U.S. Air Force’s new civilian head wants the service to retake its claim as the military’s innovation pioneer. To do that, it will have to renew investments in basic and applied research that in the past have enabled massive gains in stealth, computing technologies and composite materials, she said Tuesday.
It was an intriguing idea, Kalil thought: Could the U.S. government get better research results if it offered prizes? Could it become a “third leg of the stool”–in addition to contracts and grants – for the federal government to support innovation? “It occurred to me that the government has trillions of dollars contingent on failure,” Kalil recalled in an interview. “Why don’t we make payments that are contingent on success?”