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How to Maintain America’s Edge: Increase Funding for Basic Science [via Foreign Affairs]

L. Rafael Reif, president of MIT, writes about the economic impact of basic research and the important role the government plays in funding it:

“Only about six percent of industry funding goes to basic research—to projects designed to expand humanity’s store of knowledge rather than pass tests of immediate usefulness. This is understandable. Basic research is curiosity-driven, and the short-term returns from it are often not obvious. Yet we cannot do without it, because it is from such fundamental explorations that the world gets the startling breakthroughs that create entirely new industries.”