The support of science: The President's Page


  • Helmut E. Landsberg


Recently much has been said and written about the problem of financing science in the United States. Over the past quarter century this financing has become a major domain of the federal government. Since the end of World War II not only mission-oriented research but also basic research has been supported. Almost every government agency has taken part in this development, but in recent years the National Science Foundation has been the principal sponsor of the more fundamental aspects of science. One important segment of this support has been graduate education, to maintain and increase the flow of new scientific talent into our society. The growth rate of financial support has been fairly large, and the question has been raised of whether this increase has not been out of proportion to the general growth of the country in terms of economy and population. Many of us have become accustomed to fairly substantial and occasionally lavish support of research activities. The recent deceleration in the flow of federal funds has been alarming. Instead of increments there have been decreases, and not even the inflationary trend has been covered.