SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY|
Shaping the Twenty-First Century
"We live in an age of possibility. A hundred years ago, we moved from farm to factory. Now we move to an age of technology, information, and global competition. These changes have opened vast new opportunities for our people, but they have also presented
them with stiff challenges."
--President Bill Clinton
The elements of rapid societal and institutional change are easily recognizable as we approach the twenty-first century. The end of the Cold War, the emergence of highly competitive economies in Eur
ope and Asia, and the pervasive consequences of the information revolution have stimulated a significant ongoing reexamination of our national priorities and of the scope and scale of government needed to address them.
Science and technology have clearly been among the principal determinants of change and agents of progress. Not surprisingly, therefore, participation in the front ranks of research and innovation h
as been and will continue to be essential for our national capacity to capture the gains of scientific and technological advances. In the United States, half of our economic productivity in the last half century is attributable to technological innovation
and the science that supported this innovation. The knowledge-based society of the next century only increases the centrality of research, innovation, and human capital as our principal strengths, placing important continuing responsibilities on the Admi
nistration and Congress:
- America's world-leading science and technology enterprise must be sustained and nurtured.
- We must strengthen our science, math, and engineering education and ensure their broad availability.
- The fiscal and regulatory environment for research must be sound and responsive to rapidly changing societal and business conditions.
- We must retain a long-term commitment to research, education, and innovation even in this period of budgetary constraint.
- The Federal government has an important role in each of these areas, but must be viewed only as one partner in the nation's effort.
These imperatives drive the Administration's strong commitment to an integrated investment agenda in scientific research, technological innovation, business environment, and education. Many elements
of that agenda represent continuing commitments that have long enjoyed bipartisan support. However, the investment portfolio must also evolve in response to the knowledge-based, information- and technology-driven, globally competitive borderless economy.
With knowledge as the key resource, there is a tremendous premium on human capital development and on new ways of doing business. With global linkages growing stronger, the rapid movement of people, goods, and information has permanently altered commerce
, national security, demographics, and health. With human activity noticeably affecting natural systems, for instance, by changing the concentration of atmospheric gases, and with global population growing substantially, we need to improve our understandi
ng of the environment's capability to absorb the impact of human activity. Further, the global nature of environmental impacts raises the need for transnational approaches. Not surprisingly, the science and technology investments driven by these challenge
s to established societal structures are in many ways those that still lack bipartisan consensus. Achieving that consensus is an important element of this Administration's plan to take us to the threshold of a new century and enable a bright future in the
This science and technology biennial report to the Congress summarizes the Administration's research portfolio, notes some of the advances and initiatives from the last four years, and identifies ma
ny key areas of opportunity that will help shape the twenty-first century.
Science is an endless frontier, a uniquely human activity without limits. Advancing that frontier and exploring the cosmos helps feed our sense of adventure and our passion for discovery. Research a
t the limits of human knowledge also is essential for training the scientists and engineers who are the source of future discoveries and innovation.
This need to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers through cutting-edge research requires a continuing focus for our basic research investment in our nation's colleges, universitie
s, and medical schools. Because of this educational role, our unparalleled system of research universities is the bedrock of the science and technology enterprise. National laboratories and research institutes play important complementary educational role
s by providing unique research capabilities for young scientists and engineers and extensive postdoctoral training opportunities. The Administration is unequivocally committed to maintaining leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge. The nat
ion's prior investment has yielded a scientific and engineering enterprise without peer, whether measured in terms of discoveries, citations, awards and prizes, advanced education, or contributions to technological innovation.
The Administration is unequivocally committed to maintaining leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge. The nation's prior investment has yielded a scientific and engineering enterpris
e without peer, whether measured in terms of discoveries, citations, awards and prizes, advanced education, or contributions to technological innovation. This scientific strength is a treasure that we must continue to build on. Thus, even as the Federal b
udget deficit is eliminated, the Administration has protected the level of investment in key Federal basic science programs, not only those in the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, but also those in numerous mission agencies, such as the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (see budget table).
This basic research portfolio enjoys a good deal of bipartisan support. However, investments in some areas pertinent to current policy debates have been questioned. An example is provided by several
aspects of environmental research, such as that elucidating the influence of human activity on global systems. We must establish an extensive scientific knowledge base as the foundation for future policies relating to natural resource management, climate
change, protection of endangered species, and other environmental issues. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress in support of the entire research portfolio. The quality of life of future generations of Americans depends on continu
ing leadership across the scientific frontiers.
EXAMPLES OF KEY AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
Cognition/Neurobiology, Space Science, Molecular Biology, Earth and Ecological Sciences, Structure of Matter, Materials, Major Scientific Facilities
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND A HEALTHY BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
Technological innovation has been America's competitive edge for improving health, prosperity, and quality of life and for providing national security. The Federal government has traditionally supported technology development in areas for which it is the
principal customer, such as national defense and space. Our civilian technology base has more complex roots - exploratory research supported by industry, basic and applied research in universities and national laboratories, and "spin-offs" from the techno
logical capability developed in pursuit of Federal mission goals.
Several factors have changed significantly over the past decade. Defense technologies depend increasingly on the commercial sector, both to make cutting-edge technologies available and to reduce the
cost of defense procurements. In the commercial sector, the information revolution and globalization have irreversibly affected the nature of industrial research and development. Dramatically shortened product cycles, competition for customers and from c
ompanies everywhere, and the pressure for product quality improvements have, among several factors, focused commercial research and development on shorter-term business goals and away from exploratory research.
The appropriate Federal response to these changes must recognize that it is crucial to maintain our position at the forefront of technological innovation.
Earthrise viewed from the Moon during the 1969 Apollo mission is representative of the American scientific and technological legac
y that we build upon today. Our stewardship of that unmatched enterprise, described in this biennial report to the Congress, leads us to continued exploration of new worlds, both in the heavens and in the rich environment for discovery here on earth. Fo
r example, the Administration's multi-agency Origins program seeks to understand the creation of the universe, stars, solar system, and life, and to determine if life existed or still exist
s beyond earth.
The Administration response is multi-pronged: sustaining our research leadership position; strengthening a business environment that supports private sector research and development; investing in te
chnological infrastructure; and advancing critical technologies, often in partnership with industry.
The Administration has advanced numerous initiatives to improve the business climate for technology development. Examples include telecommunications reform, open trade policies, intellectual propert
y rights protection, regulatory reform at the FDA, procurement reform at the DOD, support for the research and experimentation tax credit, and cost-shared, industry-led research and development partnerships. However, the overarching priority, as expressed
consistently by business, is deficit reduction. The annual deficit has been reduced from nearly $300 billion to almost $100 billion while preserving the research and education investments that underlie future technological innovation. The deficit reducti
on accomplishments play a significant role in sustaining today's healthy economy.
The Federal government has a longstanding responsibility to support the nation's essential infrastructure. A modern infrastructure is a critical element of economic competitiveness. The Administrati
on continues to invest significantly in the new kinds of infrastructure needed for the twenty-first century - upgrading the national information infrastructure, developing intelligent transportation systems, expanding the human genome database, and reinve
nting our air safety system. Indeed, the Global Positioning System, based on Federally supported research and development, is rapidly developing into a new essential infrastructu
re for a wide set of commercial, defense, and personal activities.
President Clinton peers into the plasma-source ion implantion (PSII) chamber in a facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. PSII technology, being developed in a national laboratory-university-industry partnership with General Motors and ten other companies, the University of Wisconsin, and Los
Alamos is used to harden material surfaces and extend the lifetimes of some products as much as a hundredfold. Cooperative research and development agreements serve commercial as well as military needs. An enormous number of industries can benefit from
such surface modifications - the annual U.S. domestic market for machine tools alone is $5 billion. The U.S. Navy also uses this facility to improve the wear and corrosion properties of a variety of defense systems.
Advancing the development of enabling technologies is increasingly significant as the time horizons of industrial research and development grow shorter. While a short-term research focus can sustain
a globally competitive position for some time, it does not provide the breakthrough technologies that generate new industries. One important Administration response is increased emphasis on government-industry partnership programs aimed at mid- to long-t
erm technology development in both the public and private interest. Industry takes the lead in identifying promising directions and, after independent merit review, government shares the risk. These partnership programs have experienced significant partis
an differences. The Administration will work actively to pursue partnership programs in a pragmatic bipartisan spirit. In particular, the programs are now approaching a level of experience that should permit definitive review and optimization of future in
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RESOURCES
The government's core responsibility in human capital development is to strengthen America's educational system, from grade school through graduate school. This entails having all of our children prepared to learn, having our education system meet interna
tional norms, and training professionals in fields critical to the national interest. Specifically, the centrality of science and technology to achieving our societal goals in the twenty-first century places new requirements on mathematics, science, and e
ngineering education and training, not only for researchers but for the workforce and for an educated citizenry.
The American higher education system is unparalleled in producing world-class scientists and engineers. The tight weave of research and education that exists in our research universities, fostered t
hrough bipartisan commitment, serves the nation exceptionally well. It is our stewardship responsibility to maintain strong, competitively awarded, frontier research programs at colleges and universities so as to provide a steady stream of creative scient
ists and engineers as well as new knowledge. They will do much to shape our society and advance our national interests in the twenty-first century. We will also work to renew the university-government partnership that has been one of our best investments
for promoting the public good.
The key educational issue for our long-term strength is the need to upgrade our entire system of K-12 education to meet the changing demands of the global marketplace. Science, math, and technology
education and training are increasingly important parts of a worker's survival kit. The commitment to content standards and performance standards embodied in the Goals 2000 legislation remain
s the key to both quality of education and equality of educational opportunity. In addition, the extensive introduction of information technology into the classroom will, over time, better match instructional technique with the twenty-first century work e
nvironment. The Administration wishes to be a partner with state and local governments, with business and academia, and through them with teachers, parents, and students, in assuring that quality improvements benefit all children across America.
Of course, these children must also be prepared to learn. We now know that their biological, cognitive, social, and emotional development, beginning at birth, is a major determinant of their ability
to learn and flourish. Sound research, such as the research on early childhood education that guided development of Head Start, will be needed to guide policies for child and a
dolescent development in this period of rapid societal change. Families and communities need strengthening; healthy behaviors must be encouraged; environmental hazards should be reduced; learning can be assisted through new technologies. Research related
to these challenges represents a critical investment in human capital.
EXAMPLES OF KEY AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
Mentoring in Science and Mathematics, Improved Pedagogy, Educational Technology, Expanded Access to Higher Education, Child Development, University-Government Partnership
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SERVING NATIONAL GOALS
Our nation's investment agenda in scientific research, technological innovation, and a healthy business environment, coupled with a strong commitment to education and human resources development, will promote the continuing beneficial application of scien
ce and technology towards our overarching national goals of economic growth and prosperity, personal health, national security and global stability, and environmental stewardship.
TECHNOLOGY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
Sustained prosperity for Americans requires a continuous stream of technological innovation. The Administration has acted in a variety of roles - funder, partner, facilitator - to stimulate new enabling technologies of importance both to Federal missions
and to economic growth. Specific priorities, many of them pursued through a variety of partnership programs, include: an 80-mile-per-gallon automobile; advanced construction and building technologies; a new wave of biotechnologies, with impact not only on
drug availability but also on agriculture and environmental remediation; advanced energy supply technologies, such as biomass and other renewable sources; energy conservation and resource efficiency technologies; and advanced manufacturing technologies.
In addition, a number of initiatives will revolutionize our information and transportation infrastructure: intelligent highways; air traffic technologies to increase safety and reduce environmental impacts; a new generation of supercomputers and of the In
ternet; and the widespread introduction of educational technology into the classroom.
EXAMPLES OF KEY AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
Next Generation Internet, Infrastructure Development, Biotechnology, Manufacturing, Construction, High Performance Computing and Communications
BETTER HEALTH THROUGH RESEARCH
Improving the health of Americans requires a broad spectrum of basic research in the biomedical, agricultural, and social and behavioral sciences and technology development, often drawing upon tools developed in the physical sciences.
The Federal health-related research portfolio, led by the National Institutes of Health, supports the unquestioned world-leading enterpris
e for understanding, preventing, and treating disease. New approaches to understanding disease processes at the molecular level are bearing fruit and promise further advances in areas such as AIDS and Alzheimer's disease. New preventive strategies against
diseases are being emphasized. Emerging infectious diseases highlight the need for more research on the human immune system and on the ever-growing number of pathogens that threaten human health. Research must also focus on the links between disease and
climate, ecological change, population growth, and human behavior. Vaccines developed using new recombinant DNA tools are lowering health care costs and protecting our children. Genetic understanding of diseases such as breast cancer, obesity, and many ot
hers has improved markedly in the last few years. The biology of normal brain development and of brain disorders has progressed significantly in this decade and will continue to be an area of emphasis.
Another important area of health-related research stems from the need to ensure an adequate, safe, and nutritious food supply. A new science-based approach to food safety, called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system, has been implemented to reduce pathogen contamination. Agricultural research will maintain and enhance the growth in food and fiber
productivity while reducing environmental impact. Integrated pest management research will reduce the use of synthetic pesticides by placing greater emphasis on natural controls, host resistance, and biological controls. Gene maps will be used to improve
plants, livestock, and other beneficial organisms. These research programs will safeguard human health while contributing to agricultural profitability and minimizing environmental damage. Basic research in agriculture is an important Federal investment.
EXAMPLES OF KEY AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
Genetic Medicine, Disease Prevention, Food Safety, Nutrition, Integrated Pest Management, Genetic Resources
NATIONAL SECURITY AND GLOBAL STABILITY
Science and technology have long been fundamental to the strength and security of our nation, both militarily and economically. The technological superiority in warfighting equipment on which the military depends is the product of a strategic commitment t
o science and technology, through research investments in defense laboratories, industry, and universities. Scientific advances and new technologies in areas such as simulation, communications, visualization, sensing, and miniaturization have not only exp
anded the capabilities of our military forces, but have changed the way in which wars are fought.
A strategic commitment to science and technology will be even more important with a reduced military establishment facing the new and varied security challenges of the post-Cold War era. Nuclear mat
erials must be managed securely from cradle to grave, both at home and in the states of the former Soviet Union. Our stockpile of nuclear weapons must be kept safe and reliable. This will be accomplished without explosive testing through a deeper understa
nding of the associated science, through a new science-based surveillance and diagnostic capability, and through a new generation of numerical simulations.
The Administration is also working to fight the growing scourge of terrorism. Significant advances are being made in developing counterterrorism technologies, such as sophisticated bomb-detection sy
We also recognize that our national security depends on global stability. No country is isolated from the consequences of newly emerging diseases, major demographic shifts, environmental degradation
, military conflicts, or other global dislocations. Thus, building global partnerships is an important part of our security strategy, and international cooperation in science and technology is, in turn, an important component of such partnerships.
EXAMPLES OF KEY AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
New Defense Technologies, Cradle-to-Grave Nuclear Materials Management, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Counterterrorism, Global Partnerships
FEDERAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENTS
(Budget authority, dollar amounts in millions)Source: OMB
Health and Human Services
National Aeronautics and Space Admininstration
National Science Foundation