Via the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) TechNews:
Behind Bush's New Stress on Science, Lobbying by Republican Executives
New York Times (02/02/06) P. C4; Markoff, John; Leary, Warren E.
President Bush's call for doubling the federal funding of basic scientific research comes as a response to several meetings that White House officials held with technology executives and educators. Bush's plan to request $910 million in the first year, and $50 billion over 10 years was welcome news for computer scientists who have long warned against the destructive impact of eroding federal funding. Bush identified nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources as long-term initiatives that the administration would now support, in a departure from its traditional focus on short-term research. Under Bush's plan, spending would likely increase by 7 percent annually, roughly doubling over 10 years. While the details remain vague, ACM President David Patterson is excited: "This is really a huge deal and I'm very encouraged," though he noted with concern that many legislators attending the State of the Union address were not moved to applause by Bush's announcement. "It just shows the challenge we have." In two high-profile discussions where the administration was urged to heed the warning of the National Academy of Sciences that science and technology education are eroding rapidly, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett met with Vice President Dick Cheney, and Charles Vest, the former president of MIT, met with OMB director Joshua Bolten. The executives and educators who had attended those meetings were still unsure if the administration would act on their recommendations, so Bush's announcement came as a welcome surprise. "We haven't seen this interest in basic research from this president before," said the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Albert Teich. The growing problem of funding for research and education has also attracted Congressional interest, as two bipartisan bills addressing the matter have recently been introduced.
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