A new call to abolish the concept of “applied research” comes from a surprising source: the founding dean of Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Before engineers get up in arms, though, they should know he wants to eliminate “basic research” as well.
Researchers facing a severe shortage of government and foundation funding are increasingly using crowd-funding to get their projects off the ground. It works like this: An idea or research project is posted online, usually with a catchy video telling a story. People then donate money to fund the project. Each project has a deadline for fundraising. So if scientists don’t meet their goals, they don’t get any of the donated money.
The Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index scored each of the 50 states on a 0-100 scale across six equally weighted metrics: R&D intensity; productivity; high-tech density; concentration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) employment; science and engineering degree holders; and patent activity.
The Pentagon on Saturday said that Beijing had agreed to return an underwater drone seized by China in international waters, an indication that the two countries were moving to resolve an unusual incident that risked sharpening tensions in the run-up to the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
“This bill maximizes the nation’s investment in basic research, and helps boost U.S. competitiveness, creates jobs and spurs new business and industries,” said Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), who chairs the House science committee, in a statement issued shortly after the vote. “It improves accountability and transparency, reduces administrative burden on researchers, enhances agency oversight, which improves research coordination, and reforms federal science agency programs to increase the impact of taxpayer-funded research.”
China and other Asian nations have vaulted past the United States to the forefront of the global clean-energy technology market, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).
Federal departments and agencies, including the science agencies and programs, will now face uncertainty about the total funds they have to spend for the upcoming year. They will likely respond by spending conservatively in the first months of 2017 as a precaution. In addition, they will be barred from starting new programs or stopping old ones and from implementing funding increases submitted in the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request.
The U.S. remains a powerhouse of research and development. As the National Science Foundation reported in September, total national R&D funding from all sources reached nearly $500 billion in 2015, more than any nation has ever spent on it in one year. The share supplied by industry also reached a record-high 69%. This is excellent news.
Congress passed sweeping legislation Wednesday that boosts funding for medical research, eases the development and approval of experimental treatments and reforms federal policy on mental health care. The 94 to 5 Senate vote Wednesday followed a 392 to 26 House vote last week.
Congress has reached a truce -- and possibly a lasting settlement -- in the fiercely partisan 3-year war between Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the scientific community over how the National Science Foundation (NSF) should operate. The terms of the agreement, between House and Senate negotiators, may seem like minor changes. But the compromise, which the Senate could adopt as early as this week, resolves differences over how NSF should conduct peer review and manage research in ways that the agency thinks it can live with.