Moet de USA snijden in R&D?

Nieuws | de redactie
15 november 2010 | De wetenschapswereld voelt de druk in Amerika. Na de Congresverkiezing dreigen zware bezuinigingen om het tekort te reduceren. President Obama’s beleid ter bescherming en expansie van de kennisinvesteringen staat onder spanning. De Republikeinen willen de niet-militaire uitgaven nu al terugschroeven tot het niveau van 2008. Dat alleen zou al minus 12,3% zijn voor onderzoek.

De AAAS analyseert bijvoorbeeld: “President Barack Obama’sadministration has directed non-security agencies to downsizebudget proposals for fiscal year 2012 by 5% compared with estimateslisted in their 2011 proposals while also identifying ‘low-impactprograms.’ Those agencies can expect discretionary budget cuts ofbetween 5% and 10% from previous fiscal year 2012estimates.” Obama zei op 3 november tegen de pers nog wel: “Idon’t think we should be cutting back on research anddevelopment.” 

Maar de wetenschapskoepel noteert met zorg dat bijvoorbeeld “someagencies, such as those authorized in the America COMPETES Act,could still see increases for 2012, although any gains would bereduced by 5% from previous estimates. At the same time the 2010Republican Agenda, A Pledge to America, includes policy positionsthat could strongly affect R&D funding. The agenda includes agoal to cut discretionary nonmilitary spending to 2008levels.” The New York Times meldde bovendiendat, “under that plan research and development would fall12.3%, to $57.8 billion, from Mr. Obama’s request of $65.9 billionfor fiscal year 2011.”

If government spending is trimmed back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailoutlevels for 2011 federal R&D funding would drop by $8.1 billion,or 5.5%, compared with 2010 and by $8.5 billion (5.7%) comparedwith the president’s 2011 request, assuming 2008 R&D fundinglevels. “The hardest-hit agencies would be those that wereauthorized in America COMPETES Act and have seen strong increasessince the Act was passed in 2007,” aldus Patrick Clemins van deAAAS. “These agencies include the National Science Foundation(-11.1% in R&D from FY 2010), the Department of Energy’s Officeof Science (-14.8% in R&D from FY 2010), and the NationalInstitute of Standards and Technology (-14.1% in R&D from FY2010).”


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