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­.s. Is Faulted For Risking Edge in R&d

By The Wall Street Journal

April 29, 2015

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A new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is faulting the U.S. government for failing to maintain and grow its investments in basic scientific research, even as European and Asian nations are dramatically increasing their research and development (R&D) spending.

Andrew Lo, a finance professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and one of the report's authors, says the cutbacks in basic research could have a high cost in both national prestige and long-term economic opportunity.

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the U.S. spent 9.1 percent of the federal budget on R&D in 1968. However, that percentage has fallen to just 3.6 percent of the federal budget today.

The report, "The Future Postponed," warns reduced R&D spending is coming at the same time U.S. companies have largely stopped doing basic research of the type that at one point yielded innovations such as lasers and the personal computer.

Meanwhile, Europe and Asia are increasing their basic R&D spending. In 2013, the Battelle Memorial Institute and R&D Magazine predicted that by the early 2020s China would be spending more than $600 billion on basic research. The U.S., by comparison, allocated $134.2 billion to R&D in the 2015 budget.

From The Wall Street Journal
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