President Requests Significant Increase in FY 2001 Research Budget The following are selections from President Clinton's remarks today at the California Institute of Technology. In this speech, the President announces a $2.8 billion requested increase in the 21st Century Research Fund for FY 2001, which totaled $39.9 billion this year. An accompanying White House release notes that this will increase "support in all scientific and engineering disciplines." Under this request, the FY 2001 National Science Foundation budget would increase by 17%, or $675 million. This announcement is significant for its requested increase, for the attention which the President gave to strong federal support for R&D, and for his description of the importance of research to society.
"Three weeks ago, TIME Magazine crowned as the 'Person of the Century' Albert Einstein - who, of course, spent a great deal of time here at Caltech in the early 1930s. The fact that he won this honor - rising above such enormously influential figures as Franklin Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi - is a powerful testament to the quantum leaps in knowledge Einstein achieved for all humanity. It is also a clear recognition that the 20th century will be most remembered, in the words of TIME's managing editor, 'for its earthshaking advances in science and technology.'"
"Today, I want to thank you for all that you are doing to advance the march of human knowledge. I have also come here to announce all the ways we intend to accelerate that march - by greatly increasing our national funding for science and technology.
"The budget I will submit to Congress next month will include a $2.8 billion increase in our 21st Century Research Fund. This will support a $1 billion increase in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health - double the largest dollar increase for the National Science Foundation in its 50 year history - and will provide major funding increases in areas such as information technology, space exploration, and the development of cleaner sources of energy.
"This budget makes research at our nation's universities a top priority - with an increase in funding of more than $1 billion. University-based research provides the kind of fundamental insights that are the most important building blocks of any new technology or treatment. It also helps produce the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. We're going to give university-based research a major lift.
"My budget supports increases not only in biomedical research, but also in all scientific and engineering disciplines. As you know, advances in one field are often dependent on breakthroughs in other disciplines. For example, advances in computer science are helping us to develop drugs more rapidly, and to move from sequencing the human genome to better understanding the function of individual genes.
"My budget supports a major new National Nanotechnology Initiative, worth $500 million. Caltech is no stranger to the idea of nanotechnology - the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level. Over 40 years ago, Caltech's own Richard Feynman asked, 'What would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them?'
"Imagine the possibilities: materials with ten times the strength of steel and only a small fraction of the weight - shrinking all the information housed at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube - detecting cancerous tumors when they are only a few cells in size. Some of our research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government.
"As I announced yesterday, my budget also includes an historic initiative to make higher education more affordable...."
"In addition to announcing these new ways we are going to catalyze discovery and make college more affordable, I have one other major mission here today. I want to take a step back, to acknowledge that we have not done a good enough job of helping all Americans understand why the enormous investments we are making in science and technology are so important. For far too many of our citizens, science is something done by men and women in white lab coats, behind closed doors - something that leads, somehow, to things like Dolly the sheep and satellite TV. It is our responsibility to help open the world of science to our citizens - to help them understand the great questions that science is seeking to answer, to help them see how those answers will directly affect their lives.
"So the first thing I want to underscore, in the clearest possible way, is that science and technology have become the engine of our economic growth. Consider the impact of information technology. Because of our early investments in developing the Internet, America now leads the world in information technology - an industry that accounts for one third of our economic growth and that generates jobs that pay almost 80 percent more than the private sector average wage. In the words of Alan Greenspan, 'It is information technology that defines this special period. . . .Information innovation lies at the root of productivity and economic growth.'
"To ensure that America continues to lead in the Information Age, my budget proposes a 36% increase in information technology research...."
"Second, I want all Americans to see that investments in science and technology are allowing us to lead longer, healthier lives. In the last century alone, the life expectancy for the average American has increased from 47 to 77 - thanks to discoveries such as penicillin and the development of vaccines for many childhood diseases."
"Research at the intersection between biomedical research and engineering will also lead to amazing technologies...."
"Third, advances in science and technology are helping us to preserve our environment in ways that produce more widespread, more stable, more sustainable economic growth...."
"But for all of the extraordinary promise of science and technology, we must never forget the weighty responsibilities that promise imposes on us. The same genetic revolution that can offer new hope for millions of Americans could also be used to deny people health insurance or clone a human being. Information technology, which helps educate our children and provide telemedicine for rural communities, can also be used to create disturbingly detailed profiles of every move our citizens make online.
"The federal government has a large role to play in meeting these challenges...."
"But frankly, it's up to all of us to make sure that we use the new powers that science and technology gives us in a responsible way. Just because we can do something doesn't mean that we should do it. It is incumbent upon us, both scientists and public servants, to ensure that science always serves humanity, never the other way around. For as Albert Einstein said on this very campus nearly 70 years ago: 'Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. . . . Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors.'
"Today, as the first light falls on the new millennium, we see illuminated before us an era of unparalleled promise - fueled by curiosity, powered by technology, driven by science. Our restless quest to understand the unknown, a quest that has defined us as Americans since the first explorers set foot on this continent, will quicken. More than any other time in human history, the 21st century will be the century of discovery and science. Thank you for all that you have done to bring us to this moment. Thank you for helping to guide and propel us all into the future."
Richard M. Jones