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Impact of Tax Reform? Experts Hedge Bets

Editor's note: The new tax reform package approved this fall by Congress will affect the scientific community along with the rest of the U.S. economy. THE SCIENTIST talked with representatives of that community about important provisions of the law that. will shape the future of scientific research and development in academia, throughout private industry and in the public sector. Their comments have been combined into a question-and-answer format. What will be the overall im-pact of tax reform o

Don Veraska

Editor's note: The new tax reform package approved this fall by Congress will affect the scientific community along with the rest of the U.S. economy. THE SCIENTIST talked with representatives of that community about important provisions of the law that. will shape the future of scientific research and development in academia, throughout private industry and in the public sector. Their comments have been combined into a question-and-answer format.

What will be the overall im-pact of tax reform on scientific R&D?

Most experts are hedging their bets. They believe corporate R&D expenditures will be driven far more by the future business cli-mate, competitive pressures on high-tech industries, and direct federal funding for R&D than by specific sections of the tax reform law. "It will take time to sort this out," noted Rolf Piekarz, section head of science and innovation policy for the National Science Foundation. "R&D may go up anyway, because...

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