NATIONAL SUMMIT ON COMPETITIVENESS: Senior level leaders from high technology corporations, government, academia, and associations gathered in Washington in early December. Drawing upon previous reports, summit participants issued a concise set of recommendations on the revitalization of fundamental research, expansion of the innovation pool in the United States, and measures to ensure American leadership in the development and deployment of advanced technologies.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL REPORT ON SCIENCE IN SPACE EXPLORATION: A new report reaffirmed the value of decadal survey efforts, recommended a similar priority-setting process for crosscutting S&T to enable human exploration, and encouraged a focus on exploration targets with the greatest potential to advance understanding.
NASA ADMINISTRATOR ON U.S. LEADERSHIP IN SPACE EXPLORATION: Speaking at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Administrator Michael Griffin acknowledged that funding constraints will require the agency to consider carefully future space science missions. Griffin stressed the importance of decadal surveys and interactions with the science community in setting priorities.
FY 2006 DEFENSE SPENDING BILL APPROVED: One of the last appropriations bills to be completed was that funding the Department of Defense. Total funding for DOD's three science and technology programs increases 2.6%. Basic Research funding (6.1) declines 1.5%.
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD: The National Science Board held the first of three meetings to discuss whether it should establish a commission to make recommendations on improving U.S. science, technology, engineering, and math education. Opinions ranged widely, with some calling a commission appropriate and others finding it of little value. The Board will hold similar meetings in 2006 in Colorado and California.
FEDERAL JUDGE REJECTS TEACHING OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN: In a closely-watched court case, a federal judge rejected decisively the attempt of a local Pennsylvania school board to promote Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution to high school biology students.