In this opinion piece in The Hill, Rush Holt, CEO of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Maria T. Zuber, chair of the National Science Board discuss the importance of fundamental research:
“So who pays for the bulk of the long-term, high-risk scientific research that fuels our economy? Not industry. Private companies primarily focus on revenue-generating products, and the number investing in corporate laboratories that include basic research scientists has dwindled.
Federal agencies, with bipartisan support, are the primary investor of cutting-edge basic research that fuels industry’s ability to harness that knowledge into innovative products and business. But federal budgets, in real terms, have shrunk. Excellent research proposals, given the highest rankings by peer-reviewed scientists, go unfunded.”