Alternative Models for the Federal Funding of Science


Science and technology are vital components of American economic prosperity in the future. Yet, the United States’ preeminence in science, engineering and technology is being challenged as never before in the new global economy. As a result, investment in science and technology is critical to American competitiveness.

The American Academy assembled a committee to study how well existing mechanisms of federal funding of research are positioned to meet current and future needs. The committee analyzed data provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Science at the Department of Energy; heard testimony from early-career scientists; and spoke with leaders of both nonprofit and federal research funding agencies. The committee identified and examined two issues critical to protecting the future of America’s science, engineering and technology enterprise: 1) support for early-career scientists; and 2) encouragement of high-risk, high-reward research that is potentially transformative research.

Nobel laureate and Howard Hughes Medical Institute President Thomas R. Cech chaired this study, which brought together leading experts from science, industry, and the public policy sector. The committee’s final report, titled ARISE: Advancing Research In Science and Engineering, was released June 3, 2008, and disseminated to policymakers on Capitol Hill, as well as leaders of federal funding agencies, universities, private research institutes, and foundations.

In addition to Cech, the committee included : David Baltimore (California Institute of Technology), Steven Chu (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), France Córdova (Purdue University), Thomas Everhart (California Institute of Technology), Richard Freeman (Harvard University), Susan Graham (University of California at Berkeley), David Goldston (Former Staff Director of House Science Committee), Robert Horvitz (MIT), Linda Katehi (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), Peter Kim (Merck), Neal Lane (Rice University), C. Dan Mote Jr. (University of Maryland), Daphne Preuss (University of Chicago), David Sabatini (New York University), Randy Schekman (University of California at Berkeley), Richard Scheller (Genentech), Albert Teich (American Association for the Advancement of Science), Mark Wrighton (Washington University), Keith Yamamoto (University of California at San Francisco), and Huda Zoghbi (Baylor College of Medicine).

Funding for this project was provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Merck Company Foundation, and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.



Project Chair