President William J. Clinton
Dear Mr. President:
The members of PCAST believe, as you do, that investment in scienceand technology contributes to national goals such as global stability,a strong economy, a healthy environment, and a high quality of life forall Americans. We write to commend your efforts to date, and urgeyou to expand your support for a strong S&T portfolio in the FY 2001budget.
Your actions over the past seven years have helped to sustain America'sability to capitalize on creativity and innovation. For example,you funded increases in the federal research and development budget evenas you steadily brought the budget into balance and, ultimately, surplus. The R&D budget has grown as a percentage of discretionary spending,a clear indication that you consider investment in S&T a high priorityfor the nation. Your economic policies have encouraged substantialgrowth in private sector R&D investment, such that we are rapidly approachingthe goal you established in 1994: national R&D investment equivalentto 3 percent of GDP.
Your strong support for the 21st Century Research Fund led to an 8 percentincrease in these vital programs in the FY 2000 budget. We hope tosee similar progress in FY 2001, with considerable emphasis on strengthening fundamental science and engineering research. It is our hope thatthe FY 2001 budget will bring us closer to achieving the all-important balance among the scientific disciplines you spoke of in your December3, 1999, speech on the economy.
We have also worked closely with your National Science and TechnologyCouncil to develop R&D initiatives that will serve many national needs,including:
· A national strategy for energy R&D and for internationalcooperation on diffusion of advanced energy technologies worldwide.
Like fundamental research in science and engineering, these initiativesserve broad goals, such as economic prosperity, environmental quality,and international political stability. As integral parts of the 21stCentury Research Fund, they also serve your S&T investment goals, suchas stewardship of critical research fields, preparation of the next generationof scientists and engineers through university-based research, and promotionof international cooperation. Perhaps most importantly, substantialfunding of these initiatives would help restore balance in the nation'sresearch portfolio.
We recognize the constraints on resources available for the FY 2001budget. We applaud your efforts to restore the bipartisan supportfor investment in science and technology that helped overcome those constraintsin FY 2000. We are ready and eager to support your efforts to reaffirm the centrality and importance of S&T to our nation through strong and balanced investment in the 21st century.
President's Committee of Advisors
on Science and Technology
1600 PennsylvaniaAve, N.W
Washington, DC 20502
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