and has also failed to match the competition. While the European Union goal of boosting its government research investments by 2010 may not be met, Asian nations are dramatically increasing their government research investments: both China and South Korea, for example, are boosting government research by 10 percent or more annually.96

Other participants in the regional meetings expressed concern about the shifting balance between fundamental and applied or strategic research, with a growing focus on the latter. In addition, several commentators called for an increased emphasis on the role of social science to inform assessments of the precise nature of “threats” and how to address them.

Fundamental (Long-Term) Versus Applied (Short-Term) Research

In recent years several agencies, including DOD and DHS, NASA and NIH have focused resources on short-term, applied research to address immediate needs or current perceived threats. According to AAAS, the federal investment in basic research fell 0.5 percent to $26.7 billion in 2006.

Many flagship federal science agencies have had disappointing budgets in 2006: the NIH budget fell for the first time in 36 years; NSF won a small increase, but has less in real terms for its research portfolio than in any of the last three years; the DOE Office of Science budget declined, and despite big increases in development funding, DOD’s basic research funding declined.

At the September 2006 regional meeting, Stanford President John L. Hennessy noted that “After the events of September 11, 2001, the federal government did increase its [research] support by 31 percent in 2004 but I worry that much of those research dollars are focused on short-term research not likely to ensure our continued leadership.”97 He went on to express his concern about the expectation that short-term research goals can be deployed to academic researchers:

96

Ibid.

97

John L. Hennessy. Remarks made at the Committee on a New Government-University Partnership for Science and Security Western Regional Meeting at Stanford University. September 27. Available at www7.nationalacademies.org/stl/202006.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2007; see also written submission to the committee.



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