U.S. 2006 R&D budget favors defense, space

Published 3 January 2006

In the face of rising costs and stiffer competition from other countries, the administration cuts federal funds for R&D except for national defense and space exploration

The most accurate answer we could give to the question of whether you should be happy with the 2006 federal budget for R&D is: It depends. If you are in defense, homeland security, and space research you should be happy. If you are not, there is little to cheer as defense and space projects account for most increases in the $135 billion federal 2006 R&D budget. Scientists fear that the United States, after years of growth, is beginning to be too stingy on technology which drives marketplace innovation. The emphasis on national defense and space exploration means that many universities, institutions, and scientists will have to find other sources of funding or abandon current or planned projects. One example: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s premier biomedical research agency, will have its budget drop by a slight 0.1 percent, the institute’s first budget cutback since 1970.

Federal 2006 research and development spending will rise $2.2 billion, or 1.7 percent, over 2005, to about $135 billion. Of that increase, 97 percent will go to weapons development and space exploration programs.

-read more in this AP report