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The High Return on Investment for Publicly Funded Research

The Center for American Progress has issued a report, “The High Return on Investment for Publicly Funded Research.” The repot highlights a number of breakthrough innovations that were generated from the federal investment in research. The report concludes, “While we have seen huge and tangible results from our research investments in the past, we are not making the level of investments we need to cultivate innovation in the 21st century.

Our national investments in research and development as a percentage of discretionary public spending have fallen from a 17 percent high at the height of the space race in 1962 to about 9 percent today, reflecting a shift in priorities of our government. The biggest decline has taken place in civilian research and development, which has dropped significantly as a proportion of both GDP and federal spending…To ensure that the United States remains a leader in the 21st-century innovation economy, we need to double down on our investments in technology, the enabler of long-term efficiency gains and economic growth, and also change the way we think about the converging fields of science, technology, and business.”

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