NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Federal Billions For Information Technology Research?

February 24, 1999

At a time when the computer and telecommunications industries are thriving, a Presidential advisory committee is scheduled to recommend today that funds for advanced research in these fields be doubled over the next five years. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 26-member commission is composed of university researchers and executives of technology companies.

  • The President's Information Technology Advisory Committee wants to see funds for research in this field increase by $1.3 billion during the next five years.
  • Following on the heals of the release of the panel's interim report last August, the Clinton administration in January proposed an increase of $336 million -- or 28 percent -- in federally-financed research for information technology in fiscal year 2000, which begins October 1, 1999.
  • The committee wants the funds directed toward research at universities, rather than going to the private sector.
  • Part of the money would go for social sciences research into such issues as increased participation in the computer sciences by women and minorities.

In an era which has seen the lightning-speed growth of Silicon Valley and in which product generations often last only a year or less until they are made obsolete by new developments, the commission credited the creation of everything from the microchip to the Internet to government-funded research in past years.

Source: Steve Lohr, "Panel to Urge Big U.S. Effort in Technology," New York Times, February 24, 1999.


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