For the second time in three years, the Presidential Young investigator Awards program has been scaled back. Because of NSF’s tight budget only 148 scientists of the planned 200 were selected. In 1986 only half of the scheduled 200 were funded. The five-year-old federal effort is designed to keep new Ph.D.s from leaving academia for industry by providing them with up to $37,500 annually, for five years, as well as an annual $25,000 Stipend. The catch is that these are matching funds, and the scientists must first snare money from industrial or foundation sponsors. Engineers and other applied scientists have had a good track record. But others—for example, mathematicians—have found it hard to convince industry to chip in.

The Reagan administration is no longer receiving annual briefings from the National Research Council on hot research topics. Begun in 1983 at the behest of presidential science adviser George Keyworth, panels of...

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