PARITY: Science / information -- Albert Henderson Stephen Clark 10 Sep 2002 12:48 UTC

-------- Original Message --------
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 18:13:27 -0400
From: Albert Henderson <>
Subject: PARITY: Science / information

The President's Council of Advisors recognizes the need
for parity in funding when it comes to physical science

Why haven't the council members recognized the need for
research libraries to keep up with the constant redoubling
of publications generated by increases in academic R&D?

The primary reason, in my opinion, is that the physicists'
associations are organized to inform the policy makers.
Librarians are not. Why not?

Albert Henderson

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AIP listserver,

9/7/2002  3:59 AM


The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy
Number 101: September 6, 2002

Presidential Panel Recommends Increased Physical Sciences

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
(PCAST) has prepared a draft letter to President Bush urging
significant increases in federal research funding for physical
sciences and some fields of engineering. The letter follows
the release of a PCAST report recommending "the R&D budget be
adjusted upward for the physical sciences and engineering,
bringing them collectively to parity with the life sciences
over the next 5 budget cycles."

PCAST has 23 members from industry, educational institutions,
and research organizations.  At its first meeting in early
March, G. Wayne Clough, President of the Georgia Institute of
Technology, was appointed the chair of a subcommittee on
federal R&D that oversaw the development of recommendations

PCAST first contracted with RAND Corporation and AAAS to
produce a study reviewing R&D spending over the last twenty-
five years.  This study was the basis for a 14-page draft
report by PCAST member Erich Bloch entitled "Assessing the
U.S. R&D Investment"
Bloch's report highlighted shifting allocations in R&D
spending, including changes  in funding from the federal
government to the private sector that could reduce support for
basic and applied research.  This report gave considerable
attention to the declining share of funding for physical
sciences and other sciences in the federal R&D portfolio as
compared to the life sciences.  This affects the number of
graduate and Ph.D. students, facilities, and  interdependent

The Bloch report recommends that the R&D budget for physical
sciences and engineering reach a parity with the life sciences
in the next five years.  The report explains "the focus must
be to achieve a rebalance by increasing these disciplines and
not by decreasing the life sciences."

Other recommendations pertain to workforce issues, fragmented
R&D structures in the  executive and legislative branches,
suggestions on how the executive branch can determine the
optimum distribution of R&D, and international competition and

Last week, PCAST members participated in a one-hour conference
call open to the (listening only) public.  The members
reviewed an August 28 draft of a 3 1/2 page letter to President
Bush regarding the FY 2004 budget.  The letter made six key
observations: "federal R&D funding as compared to GDP
continues to decline," "private sector R&D investments do not
sufficiently replace shrinking federal support," "inadequate
federal funding for physical sciences and engineering hurts
all scientific disciplines," "declining federal support for
science and engineering students jeopardizes economic growth,"
"complex management structure prevents a focused R&D vision,"
and "international competition is stronger than ever."

The draft letter made three recommendations.  Regarding
funding, it stated: "Testimony from public and private sector
representatives indicated that 'of greatest concern to the
scientific community is the balance between the physical and
life sciences.'  Moreover, U.S. industry representatives
expressly stated that 'physical sciences need sustained
increases immediately'" to sustain economic competitiveness.
"Consequently," this draft letter said, "we suggest that FY
2004 presents the appropriate opportunity to double federal
research investments in physical sciences, and 4 major
engineering fields (i.e., electrical, mechanical, chemical,
and metallurgy & materials) from the FY 2002 levels."  The
other recommendations concerned the establishment of a major
fellowship program and a review of federal R&D spending.  The
full text of the letter can be read at

The budget recommendation was the major topic of the one-hour
PCAST conference call.  The call offered an unusual behind-
the-scenes perspective on how such recommendations are
fashioned (the Federal Register notice states that a
transcript of the call will be posted on the PCAST web site at  OSTP Director John
Marburger, a PCAST chair, stated that they wanted to send the
letter to President Bush to affect the FY 2004 budget.  In his
remarks, the other PCAST chair, E. Floyd Kvamme, told his
colleagues that the "most common comment that we heard day in
and day out" during eight hours of hearings was the need to
increase funding for the physical sciences.

There was considerable discussion about the time frame for
increasing this funding, with a recommendation that it be
extended to FY 2006.  Marburger cautioned that doubling is "a
politically charged word."  There was discussion about framing
the rationale for an increase, with Marburger saying that it
has always been difficult to make an argument for a specific
amount.  Yet, he said, "I think it would be a problem if we
did not have a basis for it," quickly adding, "we would like
to see as much of an increase as possible."  Marburger later
advised that the President would "bristle" at "arbitrary
formulas" for increasing funding.

The final letter will be covered in FYI when it becomes

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
The American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095