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Posted by: Michael Mandel on June 22
Faith comes in many different forms. In its purest form, it embraces belief without the need or even the desire for immediate proof.
Faith is usually thought of as a religious notion. But scientific research and exploration of the frontiers of technology demand faith as well. The seemingly endless hunt through scientific blind alleys and technological projects that don’t work can be terribly discouraging, unless you have faith that somewhere out there is a pot of gold.
Researchers usually have that faith. Unfortunately, in today’s market-driven world, the funders of research have to have faith as well, and that seems to be eroding.
According to the Computing Research Policy Blog, the Senate wants to give the National Science Foundation only the tiniest of budget increases:
Details are scant at the moment -- we'll know more when the committee report accompanying the Senate bill is released later today or tomorrow -- but from the committee's press release it appears NSF would receive $5.5 billion for FY 2006, an increase of just $58.1 million over the FY 2005 estimated level, but $113 million less than the House approved last week. Given that some portion of the $58 million will have to be used by NSF to cover their new obligation to reimburse the U.S. Coast Guard for icebreaking efforts in support of the Foundation's polar programs, it's not clear that the agency's research programs will benefit much, if at all, from the subcommittee's increase
Assuming that inflation runs at 2.5% over the next year, the NSF would need $140 million just to keep up with price increases.
Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.