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ground for K–12 teachers; and provide the resources and staff for summer programs that introduce students to science and mathematics.

  • Inquiry-based learning: Summer internships and research opportunities provide especially valuable laboratory experience for both middle-school and high-school students.


Recommendation B: Sustain and strengthen the nation’s traditional commitment to long-term basic research that has the potential to be transformational to maintain the flow of new ideas that fuel the economy, provide security, and enhance the quality of life.

Implementation Actions

Action B-1: Increase the federal investment in long-term basic research by 10% each year over the next 7 years through reallocation of existing funds5 or, if necessary, through the investment of new funds. Special attention should go to the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, and information sciences and to Department of Defense (DOD) basic-research funding. This special attention does not mean that there should be a disinvestment in such important fields as the life sciences or the social sciences. A balanced research portfolio in all fields of science and engineering research is critical to US prosperity. Increasingly, the most significant new scientific and engineering advances are formed to cut across several disciplines. This investment should be evaluated regularly to realign the research portfolio to satisfy emerging needs and promises—unsuccessful projects and venues of research should be replaced with research projects and venues that have greater potential.

Action B-2: Provide new research grants of $500,000 each annually, payable over 5 years, to 200 of the nation’s most outstanding early-career researchers. The grants would be made through existing federal research agencies—the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), DOD, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—to underwrite new research opportunities at universities and government laboratories.

Action B-3: Institute a National Coordination Office for Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities to manage a fund of $500 million in incremental funds per year over the next 5 years—through reallocation of existing funds or, if necessary, through the investment of new funds—to ensure that universities and government laboratories create and maintain


The funds may come from anywhere in government, not just other research funds.

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