|Volume 3: No. 09|
Clinton's 36-page "Technology for America's Economic Growth, A New Direction to Build Economic Strength," released 2/22, is available free from OSTP. It promises increased, stable federal participation in private-sector research, basic science, and long-term/high-ticket civilian technology. Gore will head OSTP and will use FCCSET to coordinate federal R&D programs. DARPA will become ARPA again, and will nurture manufacturing and dual-use technologies. Non-defense R&D will rise from 41% to 50% by 1998, reaching $36.6B. University research will be sustained, congressional earmarking discouraged. National labs will be supported, but must budget 10%-20% for industry R&D partnerships and make physics tools available to industry. Space exploration will continue, in cooperation with other governments -- including research toward human support in space. And then there's information infrastructure, energy, education, job training, automotive technology, etc. [Richard M. Jones, FYI #23, 2/25. Maria Zemankova, dbworld.] (Ginzu economics: "But wait, there's more ..." Better feel for your wallets.)
Clinton's plan also calls for university overhead to be capped at 23%, 3% less than the Bush cap of two years ago. Overhead had risen from 30% in 1972 to 46% by 1990. [Robert L. Park, WHAT'S NEW, 2/26.]
Columnist Michael Schrage recommends cutting national-lab budgets by 50% over five years. A 12/92 GAO report found little success in tech transfer, including Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). Schrage recommends budget cuts to stimulate industry grant-seeking by the Cold War labs. [SJM, 2/22.]
Schrage also questions Clinton's $1B more for NIST in the next four years. The Commerce Dept. has little experience with high-tech entrepreneurialism, whereas DARPA has done very well in software, silicon, new materials, telecommunications, and lasers. [SJM, 3/1.] My own feeling is that Commerce start supporting innovative business, and past failures are no excuse for future failures -- especially with DARPA's model to emulate. High-tech commerce is what's needed, so Commerce should be given funding and clear goals. DARPA/ARPA should support C3I, military, and government needs -- rather than each branch for itself -- but should exploit the market drive behind dual-use solutions.
Clinton proposes to cut Small Business Administration (SBA) subsidies by one third over five years. Newsweek would cut the entire $400M program, said to provide random or politically directed support to just one small business in 200 -- mainly restaurants and car dealerships. [Sharon Begley, 3/1, p. 35.] However, Clinton and the Federal Reserve are working to reduce bank paperwork and free up small-business loans based on character as much as collateral. [NYT. SJM, 2/24.]
Senate bill S.4, a high-priority Democrat-backed compendium of the Gore Bill and several others, suggests the following '93, '94, and '95 funds for communications and information infrastructure: NSF -- $30M, $60M, $90M; NLM -- $20M, $40M, $60M; NASA -- $10M, $20M, $30M. [Larry Hunter ([email protected]), 2/25.] Large by research standards, not so large by AT&T or IBM standards.
Republicans are somewhat hostile to Clinton's "emergency" 11% ($207M) research supplement for NSF this year. $112M would go to HPCC and strategic research initiatives and $85M to individual grants, including an extra $47.7M for CISE and $35.8M for Engineering. Another $4.7M for research facilities and instrumentation and $4.7M for salaries, computers, and operating expenses were particularly questioned. One concern is that any turnaround in the economy will be credited to this Democratic plan instead of to Republican-spurred growth. [Rick Weingarten ([email protected]), 2/24. Tim Finin and Dan Corkill.]
$19M of the HPCC money would address health care, education, manufacturing, and access to library information. Democrats want the money by April; Republicans are questioning use of a disaster- relief mechanism for adding $1.6B to agency budgets. NSF's share would generate only 2.4K out of 500K new jobs. [Richard M. Jones, FYI #25, 2/26. Maria Zemankova ([email protected]), dbworld.] (If NSF gets the money, there will be little time to spend it. Have your proposals ready.)