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Overview That basic research is vital to the nation's future is now an axiom of national policy. In their statements and in their budget proposals, both the Administration and the Congress agree that progress in fundamental science and engineering is essential to the economy of a modern technological society. This position is taken by other industrialized nations and is reflected in their . . . . rising investments in researc. a. Granting this acceptance of the value of an aggressive national program in basic research, there are limits to the resources avail- able and hard choices to be made in budget priorities. As in other federal endeavors, those concerned with the levels of support for science and technology face difficult decisions: Of current and potential endeavors in science and engineer- ing, what criteria should be used in selecting projects to be funded? What determines appropriate funding levels? How can the needs for large facilities- whether refurbishing those that have become outdated or constructing new ones- long evident in many fields of science and engineering be satisfied

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THE O UTLOOK FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOG Y 1985 without sharp perturbations in the federal budget for research and development? Are mechanisms and support available to fuel shifting re- search patterns, such as the heightened interactions among dis- ciplines and between academic and industrial researchers? To state these questions is not to assert that they are readily answerable. Progress toward answering them must come by exposing the problems and the opportunities. The Outlook begins with brief glimpses of nine vibrant fields of science and technology. The status of each field was analyzed intensively in a series of research briefings prepared in 1984 by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy and was presented to the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agen- cies. In actuality, the menu of the particular fields chosen is not crucial; any other roster of significant topics would yield the . . same genera Rations: American science and technology continue to be amazingly fertile. Whatever the particular field, the outcome is the same: new, sometimes startling, discoveries and unexpected progress in dealing with wider problems emerge, from the understanding of cancer and atherosclerosis to creating a new generation of elec- tronic and optical devices. The same story applies to fields at the interface of science and technology computer architecture, ad- vanced composites, and engineering involving biotechnology; in these latter fields, the enormous interdependence of basic science and engineering knowledge is even more evident. Research advances depend increasingly on the combined efforts of many disciplines. Progress on oncogenes, for example, came not only from work on the cancer problem itself, but also from other fields: virology, molecular and cellular hiolo~v nh~rmncolo~v and biochemistry. Progress in basic science and technology is happening at an incredi- hly fast pace. Ten years ago, Part ~ of this Outlook could not have been written: oncogenes were speculations at best; atheroscler- osis remained a deeply puzzling affliction. The laser and in- tegrated circuit chips were recent arrivals, while such con- temporary techniques as molecular beam epitaxy and a host of D] ~ r w' 2

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O HER VIEW new spectroscopies such as femtosecond spectroscopy did not seem realizable. And, new technologies have arrived, from biotechnology to the imminent debut of computer architectures embodying the synchronous operation of several hundred pro- cessors. The gap between new knowledge and its application has narrowed. This report points out two examples of prompt application: the enormous industry upwelling from fundamental discoveries in gene manipulation and a totally new class of semiconductors arising from basic and quite recent advances in surface science. The linked themes then are that: science and technology are being deeply refreshed by a torrent of new discoveries; in many fields, these discoveries are coming at an ever faster pace, and they are being translated rapidly into wider use. In short, the American public is reaping the rewards for its continuing support of fundamental research. And it is reaping the rewards of having made the university the home of basic research, an achievement virtually unique among nations. in doing so, it has created a rich atmosphere of learning anddiscove- ry, ofteaching anal research, of unrelenting questioning as teach- ers and their students combine to attack the puzzles of nature. The issues cliscussed in this Outlook deal with the present and future health of the research system and its principal components the universities, industry, and government, and their relationships. These issues arise from several directions and include the following: The international competitive strength ofthe United States. That issue is a tangled one, although one certain thread is the standing of various fields of science and technology, especially those currently acknowledged as economically vital. This Outlook considers that issue, by examining the competitive status of several fields and suggesting some responses fitted to the U.S. system. Scientific and engineering personnel. The Outlook addresses several facets, among them counterincentives for promising stu- dents to enter research careers, illustrated by the difficulties faced by young investigators, and the role of foreign students in U. S. advanced education. 3

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THE O UTLOOK FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOG Y 1985 Facilities and instrumentation. The almost desperate need of research universities to rejuvenate existing technical facilities and to build new ones, as well as the paucity of state-of-the-art instrumentation in many academic laboratories, is recognized increasingly in the Congress and the Administration. This Outlook attempts to sort out the various needs. Recent episodes in which universities have obtained funding for facilities using the direct appropriation mode are also discussed. Open scientific and technological communication and national secu- rity. While the tensions inherent in this issue are now quite public, they continue to be unresolved. Considerable uncertainty bur- dens a number of research fields with military import, while restrictions, existing or prospective, on the flow oftechnical data have hindered or may hinder industrial progress, especially in the application of advanced technologies. Other matters also are treated in this report, from human biology to research on the uncertainties embedded in the nuclear winter concept. Whether new or continuing, these are some of the issues that come to the fore in considering systematically the status and outlook for American science and technology. This Outlook has two major parts. Part I is a precis of recent progress in certain fields of science and technology, taken from nine research briefings prepared in 1984 by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. * Part IT summarizes several national issues that can be inferred from the fields covered in these briefings and from other areas of science and technology. * The full text of the briefings summarized here has been published, as Research Briefings 1984 and is available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418. 4