How long can U.S. science lobbyists keep repeating the same message—that boosting federal funding for basic research and removing barriers to innovation is a proven way to ensure economic prosperity—without tuning out their intended audience? And is there any reason to think that those who have resisted their pleas in the past will warm to their arguments this time around?
Neal Lane and Norm Augustine are about to find out. Today the two eminent science policy veterans came to Washington, D.C., to unveil a report from a panel of academic and industry leaders assembled by the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The 152-page report takes its place alongside a half-dozen other tomes in the last decade intended to first warn U.S. policymakers of an impending disaster and then describe how to avert it.
The twin message is captured in the report’s title, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. China and other nations are a growing threat to U.S. preeminence in science and innovation, the report notes, and the best response is spending more on basic research and reforming the current U.S. system of innovation.