and toilet seat calculators

President’s Advisory Group Finds Most Federal IT Funds Being Misused
Washington Post (12/16/10) Cecilia Kang

U.S. federal agencies are using only about 4 percent to 11 percent of the funds they receive for research and development (R&D) of information technology (IT) on advancing network communications within the agencies, according to a new report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Instead, agencies have used the money for infrastructure, other research projects, and other technology.

The IT R&D funds are often used to advance research in the agency’s field. An agency involved with biomedical research, for instance, might use the money for large databases of protein sequences.

“They involve using today’s information technology to advance the forefront of other fields, not driving the forefront of networking and information technology,” says Ed Lazowska, a co-chair of the working group that developed the group’s report. More than 12 agencies receive about $4 billion each year for IT R&D.

The report says the government needs to account for such spending to keep the U.S. from falling behind other countries in IT research investment.

Science gets a leg up [finally] from Congress

February 12, 2009

Congress Finalizes Massive Boost in Science Funding

Late last night Congress released the first high-level details on the final agreement for the American Recovery and Reinvestment package. (For background, this legislation is essentially a massive funding plan intended to help jump start the American economy during the current fiscal year (FY 2009).) The final legislation reportedly contains a massive boost for several key scientific agencies, including NSF +$3 billion (remember that NSF’s total funding for FY09 is around $6 billion and change), NIST +$580 million and Department of Energy Office of Science +$1.6 billion. This is huge and welcome news to the scientific community that has been making the case that research funding for physical sciences has been flat for a number of years undercutting the innovation ecosystem.

Below is a summary of the science funding:

“Transform our Economy with Science and Technology:  To secure America’s role as a world leader in a competitive global economy, we are renewing America’s investments in basic research and development, in training students for an innovation economy, and in deploying new technologies into the marketplace.  This will help businesses in every community succeed in a global economy.

Investing in Scientific Research (More than $15 Billion)

* Provides $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, for basic research in fundamental science and engineering – which spurs discovery and innovation.
* Provides $1.6 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds research in such areas as climate science, biofuels, high-energy physics, nuclear physics and fusion energy sciences – areas crucial to our energy future.
* Provides $400 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to support high-risk, high-payoff research into energy sources and energy efficiency in collaboration with industry.
* Provides $580 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, including the Technology Innovation Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* Provides $8.5 billion for NIH, including expanding good jobs in biomedical research to study diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and heart disease.
* Provides $1 billion for NASA, including $400 million to put more scientists to work doing climate change research.
* Provides $1.5 billion for NIH to renovate university research facilities and help them compete for biomedical research grants.