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?”
A few years back, scientists at the biotechnology company Amgen set out to replicate 53 landmark studies that argued for new approaches to treat cancers using both existing and new molecules. They were able to replicate the findings of the original research only 11 percent of the time. Science has a reproducibility problem. And the ramifications are widespread.
Engineering researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a process for 3D-printing stretchable, flexible, and sensitive electronic sensory devices that could give robots or prosthetic hands -- or even real skin -- the ability to mechanically sense their environment.
Last fall’s divisive presidential campaign was still underway when Jim Olds, who leads the biology directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Virginia, began worrying that the agency could soon be facing a serious budget crunch. It was already under a government-wide spending freeze, and Olds wanted to be prepared if things got worse. So he asked his staff to begin thinking about how to handle a 20% cut in the directorate’s $724 million budget.
The FY 2018 NSF budget request of $6.65 billion reflects NSF's commitment to establishing clear priorities in areas of national importance and identifying the most innovative and promising research ideas that will yield the highest return on investment for the nation. It supports fundamental research that will drive the U.S. economy, support our nation's security, and keep the U.S. a global leader in science, engineering and technology.
The meeting, which was also attended by Ivanka Trump and Reed Cordish, assistant to the president, examined the relationship between government, universities, philanthropy and industry that make American biomedical discovery “the envy of the world,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement.
Coupled with the lack of an updated defense research and development (R&D) strategy to help focus U.S. investments and rally the U.S. R&D community, inefficiencies in the U.S. defense technology pipeline (where decades can elapse before an innovation finds its way into the hands of the warfighter), are crippling the technology advantage of the U.S. military. The United States must act purposefully and with urgency to reclaim U.S. leadership in defense innovation and restore America’s technological advantage.
Our machine is the envy of the world. And yet, while other nations, such as China, are working furiously to develop their own Miracle Machines, we’ve been neglecting ours. Though historically a bipartisan priority, science and technology funding has steadily eroded over the past decade. One example among many: Adjusted for inflation, the budget for the National Institutes of Health, the federal medical research agency, has fallen since 2003 by nearly 25 percent .
Space is the subject of much wonder and fantasy, as well as research and debate. Currently, that debate tends to center around whether or not funding for space exploration and research should be cut in favor of other pressing needs, such as education and the environment, and it should not be.