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NSF Director: Research Funding Key To US Economic Success

The director of the National Science Foundation says the U.S. needs to maintain its edge in basic research in order to stay competitive in the global economy.



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NSF director Subra Suresh
Dr Subra Suresh


Dr Subra Suresh gave the keynote address for Tuesday’s session of Transatlantic Science Week at Rice University’s Baker Institute.  Suresh discussed the NSF’s role in providing support for basic research in science and engineering. He says he hopes Congress will keep the value of that research in mind as it prepares to wield the budget knife.

“NSF receives about $7 billion a year. If you were to ask me what is the return to the U.S. Treasury in economic benefit to the U.S. economy out of NSF-funded research, while nobody knows the precise numbers, you would that say it’s many, many times the $7 billion.”

As examples, Suresh says NSF funded research contributed to the creation of Google, Symantec, and Qualcomm.

The NSF stands to lose nearly $600 million in funding under sequestration — across-the-board budget cuts that go into effect January 1.  The majority of those cuts would come from the agency’s research budget.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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