Clinton Administration Issues Technology Report

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Publication date: 
25 February 1993
Number: 
23

On February 22, the Clinton Administration released a report,
"Technology for America's Economic Growth, A New Direction to Build
Economic Strength."  Among the highlights of this 36-page report
summarizing the administration's approach to science and technology
are:

GOVERNMENT'S ROLE IN TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT:  "American technology
must move in a new direction to build economic strength and spur
economic growth.  The traditional federal role in technology
development has been limited to support of basic science and
mission-oriented research in DOD, NASA, and other agencies.  This
strategy was appropriate for a previous generation but not for
today's profound challenges.  We cannot rely on the serendipitous
application of defense technology to the private sector.  We must
aim directly at these new challenges and focus our efforts on the
new opportunities before us, recognizing that government can play
a key role in helping private firms develop and profit from
innovations."

BASIC SCIENCE: "[We are] reaffirming our commitment to basic
science, the foundation on which all technical progress is
ultimately built."  Later in the document: "This administration
will both ensure that support for basic science remains strong, and
that stable funding is provided for projects that require
continuity.  We will not allow short-term fluctuations in funding
levels to destroy critical research teams that have taken years to
assemble.  But stable funding requires setting clear priorities.
In recent years, rather than canceling less important projects when
research budgets have been tight, Federal agencies have tended to
spread the pain, resulting in disruptive cuts and associated
schedule delays in hundreds of programs.  We will improve
management of basic science to ensure that high-priority programs
receive sustained support."

NEW CRITERIA: "We are moving to accelerate the development of
civilian technology with new criteria [such as] Accelerating the
development of technologies critical for long-term economic growth
but not receiving adequate support from private firms, either
because the returns are too distant or because the level of funding
required is too great for individual firms to bear."

PHYSICS FACILITIES: "We must also turn to...national users
facilities that make sophisticated research tools, such as
synchrotron radiation and neutron beam tools, available to variety
of research organizations."

VICE PRESIDENT GORE, OSTP, AND FCCSET: "Working with Vice President
Gore, a reinvigorated Office of Science and Technology Policy will
lead in the development of science and technology policy and will
use the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering and
Technology, along with other means, to coordinate the R&D programs
of the federal agencies."

EARMARKING, MERIT REVIEW: "We also will work closely with Congress
to prevent `earmarking' of funds for science and technology.  Peer
review and merit-based competition are critical to the success of
any [S&T] policy."

PROJECTED NON-DEFENSE SHARE OF R&D: "The ratio of civilian and
dual-use R&D to purely military R&D is significantly higher in
President Clinton's economic plan.  This is a first step toward
balancing funding levels for these two categories.  In 1993, the
civilian share of the total federal R&D budget was approximately
41%.  Under President Clinton's plan, the civilian share will be
more than 50% by 1998.  Total spending for civilian R&D will rise
from $27.9 billion to $36.6 billion during this period."

DARPA: "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will
be renamed the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) -- as the
agency was known before 1972.  The ARPA program in dual use will be
expanded in ways that increase the likelihood that defense research
can lead to civilian product opportunities...Manufacturing R&D will
receive particular attention from ATP [Advanced Technology
Program], ARPA, and other federal agencies."

LABORATORIES/CIVILIAN PARTNERSHIPS: "All laboratories managed by
DOE, NASA, and the DOD that can make a productive contribution to
the civilian economy will be reviewed with the aim of devoting at
least 10-20% of their budgets to R&D partnerships with industry."

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH: "NSF and HIH provide the vast majority of
Federal funding for university research.  Since universities play
dual roles of research and teaching, the long-term scientific and
technological vitality of the U.S. depends upon adequate and
sustained funding for university research grant programs at NSF,
NIH, and other research agencies."

NATIONAL LABORATORIES: "In fields like high-energy physics,
biomedical science, nuclear physics, materials sciences, and
aeronautics, the national laboratories provide key facilities used
by researchers in academia, Federal labs, and industry....We will
ensure that Federal laboratories continue their key role in basic
research and will encourage more cooperative research between the
laboratories and industry and universities.  And we will develop
new missions for our federal labs to make full use of the talented
and experienced men and women working there in today's post-cold
war era."

SPACE SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION: "The resources needed for space
exploration and research make government funding essential.  We
will continue to work with foreign partners to design missions
needed to explore our solar system and the universe beyond.
Research on micro-gravity and life-sciences as applied to the human
in space program will also be supported."

Other topics in this report include GOVERNMENT/INDUSTRY
COOPERATION, EDUCATION AND TRAINING, AN INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE,
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, AUTOMOBILE TECHNOLOGY, R&D TAX
CREDIT, AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY.