IMPORTANT UPDATE: Yesterday afternoon, the Department of Energy
released a statement on the FY 2007 budget request. Next Monday, President
Bush will ask Congress for a 14.1% or $505 million increase over current
year funding for the Office of Science and its programs. The statement
explained: "This budget put's DOE's Office of Science on the path
to doubling its budget by 2016."
There has been considerable activity at the White House since the State
of the Union Address regarding President Bush's American Competitiveness
Initiative. In advance of next Monday's budget presentations, four cabinet
secretaries and OSTP Director John Marburger participated in a briefing
on February 1. The following are selections from the White House transcript
of this briefing that are of particular interest to the physics community,
including projections of new researchers that could be hired under this
initiative, physical sciences funding, foreign workers, the future scientific
workforce, earmarking, and foreign competition.
COMMERCE SECRETARY CARLOS GUTIERREZ ON NIST SCIENTISTS:
"The first thing the President called for was increasing our research
and development. And as it refers to what we have in the Commerce Department,
which is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, we'll be
adding 600 new scientists. And I should tell you that in the National
Institute of Standards and Technology, we have had three Nobel prize
winners. So this is truly a gem within the federal government."
SECRETARY GUTIERREZ ON FOREIGN WORKERS: (In response to a
"On the high-skilled immigration, the President has mentioned
that we bring the best and the brightest to our country, we give them
the best education that money can buy, and then we send them home so
they can compete with another company. And what we're saying now is
once they get the degree and once they get the best education in the
world, let's find a way of keeping them here."
ENERGY SECRETARY SAMUEL BODMAN ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES FUNDING:
"Our people who deal in this area - and they are the professional
scientists and administrators of scientists - truly believe that this
is a historic opportunity for them and for our department. It is, in
effect, a renaissance for United States science and global competitiveness.
Our department's . . . Office of Science is the major supporter of research
and development in the physical sciences - mathematics, physics and
chemistry - in the federal government; in fact, in the country. And
we have had a growth under the President's leadership in overall research,
but a large part of that has been in the life sciences. And if you look
at the physical sciences and support for research in the physical sciences,
it has been much closer to flat that increasing."
SECRETARY BODMAN ON IMPACT OF INITIATIVE ON DOE SC RESEARCHERS:
"So I'm particularly pleased to take note that the competitiveness
initiative that the President announced last night will allow us to
support about 2,600 more researchers in fiscal year 07 than it
will in 06. So it will translate itself into a material change
in our ability to provide resources for supporting the scientific endeavor
of our country."
Secretary Bodman later said these DOE researchers will be laboratory
employees and university students and faculty.
SECRETARY BODMAN ON EARMARKING:
"I might mention here that we are very mindful of the question
of congressionally mandated projects and support. Our department is
challenged by that. And I would hope that our Congress would take to
heart the President's request that we focus on those areas that we believe,
after a lot of thought and a lot of attention, really will lead us in
this direction, and that we not be hampered by individual projects and
programs that have become all too great a part of our budgets."
SECRETARY BODMAN ON PREVIOUS S&T REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS:(In
response to a question)
"So what has been presented to you and has been presented to the
country last night by the President is an initiative that seeks to pick
the best from a number of alternatives. There are some things that,
frankly, we would like to do - looking at it from a parochial standpoint
- but tradeoffs have to be made. These have been very tough times, as
you know, from a budgetary standpoint. And I can just tell you that
speaking for the Energy Department, but I also know for the National
Science Foundation, and I think I can speak for Secretary Gutierrez
on this, that we're thrilled with this emphasis on the physical sciences
and on research in the physical sciences. And then we will work on this
over time and see what additional components might be brought and made
OSTP DIRECTOR JOHN MARBURGER ON SCIENTIFIC WORKFORCE:
"I want to emphasize that this vision that the President portrayed
last night in his speech integrates to an unusual, and I think, unprecedented
extent the concept of an adequately prepared workforce with the role
of leadership in science and technology that we have to have to maintain
the vitality of our economy.
"The vitality of our economy in the 21st century really demands
that we manage as a federal government the investment in workforce and
an adequately prepared workforce, and the tools that that workforce
needs to maintain American preeminence in science and technology.
"And we are preeminent. This year the President will request a
record $137 billion for the R&D budget, which is substantially greater
than any other nation. With 5 percent of the world's population, the
U.S. employs about a third of all the scientists and engineers in the
world. With 5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. funds in public
and private sector together, about a third of all the research and development
that is performed in the world. So we're ahead, but we know that we
have to work to keep up, and to keep up our leadership."
DIRECTOR MARBURGER ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND OTHER FUNDING:
"So the President made a strong commitment last night to double
within 10 years the budgets of the agencies that have the greatest impact
on physical science, which is the infrastructure for all the sciences.
The cost of this program over 10 years is $50 billion for the R&D
part, but that's augmented by another program to make it possible for
more companies to participate in the R&D tax credit. The President
has called for years to make this tax credit permanent, and we hope
that Congress will see fit to recognize the value of doing that and
also improving it so that it's more accessible to more countries.
"The major cost of this program for the first year will be in
the cost of the tax credits, $4.6 billion. The cost of the doubling
of the physical science research agencies, priority agencies is $910
million in the first year, and extending out over 10 years, that amounts
to $50 billion over 10 years - a major investment in the research infrastructure
of our nation."
DIRECTOR MARBURGER ON PRIORITY AGENCIES:
"I do want to say a word about these priority agencies. You've
already heard about the Department of Energy and the NIST research program.
The National Science Foundation is a major player in this program, the
American Competitiveness Initiative. The National Science Foundation
is the lead agency for two of the major physical science research programs
in the nation, the National Nanotechnology Initiative, and the Networking
and Information Technology R&D Initiative, both of which are interagency
programs that are vital to the economic competitiveness of the future."
In response to a question, Marburger added:
"I do want to emphasize this is a prioritization exercise. This
initiative takes the recommendations and actual consensus on the actual
need to support physical science in these times as a foundation for
future economic competitiveness, identifies these three agencies and
makes a commitment to increase their budgets. It does not make that
commitment for all of science. Some areas of science are quite healthy.
Some areas of science are in special situations - National Institutes
of Health has received healthy increases and funding is maintained at
a very healthy level in that area. NASA and other big science agencies
have their own programs, and you'll hear more about those next week."
DIRECTOR MARBURGER ON EARMARKING:
"And I do want to support the call for the responsible management
not only of these new funds, but of all funds that are identified for
research and development for science and for those areas where we really
know to make our investments in the wisest possible way. We understand
the process of identifying priority programs - peer review, merit-based
reviews and assessments of proposals that come in from investigators
across the nation with responsible panels and well-planned programs.
That's the way to do it. The United States excels in the productivity
of its research because it has excellent mechanisms for identifying
the priority areas.
"When Congress designates programs, sometimes those programs fit
within those parameters, and sometimes they don't. The only way that
we can assure the best possible application of these funds is by sticking
to the peer review process and making sure that congressionally designated
programs satisfy the requirements that we have for best practices. So
the President made a strong call last night for Congress to avoid earmarking
this program, and I think it's essential that we support him on this."
DIRECTOR MARBURGER ON FOREIGN COMPETITION:
"We're not responding to a threat; we're maintaining a leadership
role. I believe the strength of this nation is such that all other countries
are trying do it the way we do it, and the only way that we can maintain
our leadership role is to do it better. So these initiatives that the
President outlined last night are initiatives to strengthen the foundations
that we understand, that are in place, and that can be more productive
with additional resources.
"Getting them to work together, making a long-term commitment
that's based on a vision for a productive and leading role for the United
States among these world economies is what it's going to take -- to
galvanize the American people to pay attention to these things, study
math, get parents to understand the importance of taking action at home
to make these things work is what it's going to take.
"So this isn't a specific response to a specific threat. We think
that it's important for the people of China and India to have improved
standards of living. We want them to be able to make products for their
own society to consume, and we want to be part of that market, too.
So this is not about going up against China and India. This is about
leading the world with models and productivity that keep our society