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“Are large nondefense R&D projects being funded at the expense of other science and technology programs?” This question is examined by a Congressional Budget Office report, “ Large Nondefense R&D Projects in the Budget: 1980–1996,” which was issued in July. Congress is wrestling with this question as it determines how to fund such “megaprojects” as NASA's Space Station and Earth Observing System, and the Department of Energy's Superconducting Super Collider, while providing enough support for other research.

The study avoids making policy recommendations on the best balance between large and small science, but states bluntly that “if cost overruns or budget constraints require choosing between large and small projects, it would be against the national interest to support large projects at the expense of small ones for nonscientific and nontechnical reasons.”