It''s not clear whether President Bush''s latest announcement of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) is just a pie-in-the-sky funding proposal from a lame duck president, or if it really has a chance of being funded. But if it does receive funding, the already top-tier government funding of the US will inch just a little higher in some areas, but grow significantly in others.
According to an article on the new funding proposal, fiscal year 2009 will see the National Science Foundation (NSF) receive $397 million for nanotechnology research, up from $389.9 proposed for the 2008 budget, a slight percentage increase of 1.8%.
But the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would get a 20% boost in its overall budget, with part of that increase going towards nanotechnology along with four new facilities for astronomy and physics research budgeted at $148 million.
Nanotechnology aside, the recently announced R&D funding of a record $147 billion, representing a 3% increase over 2008, has observers calling the budget proposal ''unreal'' and landing the R&D budget in the same fate of the last two year''trouble.
With the US facing the specter of a recession, the idea of investing in science for future economic growth is not the worst idea to come from inside the beltway.