Feeds

Obama pledges 3% of GDP for science

Research boost for nation's health

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

President Barack Obama has set the goal of devoting more than 3 per cent of the US gross domestic product (GDP) to science research and development.

That amount would be the largest-ever US investment in science research and innovation, Obama said during a speech on Monday to the US National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC.

"We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race," Obama said in his speech.

"A half century ago, this nation made a commitment to lead the world in scientific and technological innovation," he said. But the federal science spending which helped fuel the country's prosperity and success has since declined from the "high water mark," of the early US space program, Obama told the agency.

According to the latest figures, 3 per cent of the US GDP would be about $415.2bn. The US currently spends about 2.6 per cent of GDP on research.

"There are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities. I fundamentally disagree," he told the agency. "Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been before."

Obama plans to double the budgets of key science agencies including the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. The US government is also launching the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) to carry out "high risk, high reward" research on clean energy, an issue Obama named as "this generation's great project."

Obama said through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - and with the support of congress - that his administration is already providing the largest single boost to investment in basic research in American history. He told the agency that thoroughly funding science is important in the current recession and for the future.

"Just think what this will allow us to accomplish," Obama said. "Solar cells as cheap as paint, green buildings that produce all the energy they consume, learning software as effective as a personal tutor, prosthetics so advanced that you could play the piano again, an expansion of the frontiers of human knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. We can do this."

Obama said the private sector generally under-invests in basic science research because the pay-off is often long-term and sometimes never. That's why it's important for the public sector to make the financial commitment, he argued.

"Because while the risks may be large, so are the rewards for our economy and our society," Obama said.

The President said the recent outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and the United States illustrates the importance of scientific research. Yesterday, the US government declared a public health emergency because of the flu, and many boffins are brewing up fears of a global pandemic.

Obama called the outbreak a "cause for concern," rather than a "cause for alarm," stressing that there hasn't been a new site of infection found in the past 24 hours.

"The Department of Health and Human Services has declared a Public Health Emergency as a precautionary tool to ensure that we have the resources we need at our disposal to respond quickly and effectively," Obama said.

A transcript of the speech is available here. An audio and video recording of the meeting is available at the National Academies website. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.