Consideration of use

Figure A.19. Pasteur's Quadrant (schematic after Stokes 1997): Redirecting R&D investments with a new role for engineering.

The Federal Government provides funds for industry only under limited programs such as SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research), STTR (Small Technology Transfer), and ATP (Advanced Technology Program at National Institute of Standards and Technology), or for special purposes such as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Program Agency). If total funding is constant, supporting applied research often means that a large number of exploratory research projects cannot be funded.

- Since 1970, the proportion of life sciences in the U.S. federal research funding portfolio has increased by about 13%, while the engineering sciences have decreased by the same. Relative funding for physical and chemical sciences has decreased, too. This has changed not only the research outcomes, but also the education contents and the overall infrastructure. One way to address this imbalance is to prepare national programs in complementary areas.

- The measures need a collective discipline and flexibility in implementation. A bio-inspired funding approach within the major NNI research areas has been adopted. The funding agencies have issued solicitations for proposals addressing relatively broad R&D themes identified by panels of experts according to the agency missions. In their proposals, researchers respond to those solicitations with specific ideas in a manner suggesting a bottom-up assembly of projects for each theme.

- The coherence among various S&E areas should be evaluated periodically in order to create conditions for convergence and synergism. Figure A.20 suggests that the major trends identified in this paper will play an increased role, beginning with the synergism of nanoscience, modern biology, information technology, and neuro-cognitive sciences, integrated from the molecular level up, with the purpose of enhancing cognitive, human body, and social performance. This coherence will create an unprecedented transformational role for innovation. Organizations will augment creative, knowledge-based activities, with larger conceptual versus physical work components.

- Macroscale measures should address the increased role of the partnerships between the government-sponsored research providers and industry.

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