Obama Pledges To Make Scientific Research a Priority, Calls for Increased Spending
President Obama on Monday said the U.S. should spend more than 3% of the national gross domestic product, or an increase of about $50 billion, on scientific research and development, USA Today reports. In a speech at the National Academy of Sciences' annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Obama said, "Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been before."
According to the National Science Foundation, the U.S. spends about 2.6% of GDP on research and development, mostly for defense programs (Vergano, USA Today, 4/28). Obama did not specify a timeline for meeting the 3% target (Adamy, Wall Street Journal, 4/28). However, he said, "We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science." According to CQ Today, Obama suggested that science can play a role in nearly all aspects of policy, including health care (Wolfe, CQ Today, 4/27).
He added that the country's "capacity to deal with a public health challenge [such as swine flu] rests heavily on the work of our scientific and medical community" (Condon, CongressDaily, 4/27).