Menu

Trump Releases Science Spending Priorities for FY2019

In a memo to federal agencies, the administration highlights defense and security, leaves off Earth and climate science, and limits the scope of basic research.

Aug 18, 2017
Aggie Mika

FLICKR, GAGE SKIDMOREThe Trump administration’s first official memo on science and technology spending, released yesterday (August 17), prioritizes national security and defense, economic prosperity, energy dominance, and public health. The document specifically calls out basic research as “critical,” but states that projects of “greater uncertainty” should give way to those that can be more readily developed into products and services.

According to a Science news report, the administration’s priorities are markedly different from those previously issued by the Obama administration and make no mention of “climate research, Earth observations, and advanced manufacturing.”

As far as basic science pursuits are concerned, the memo states that they “may not provide the economic incentive needed to attract private sector investment. Therefore, agencies should give priority to funding basic and early-stage applied research that, supplemented by private sector financing of later-stage R&D, can result in the development of transformative commercial products and services.”

With deadlines coming up next month for FY2019 budget requests, the annual memo, a collaboration between the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget, is meant to guide agencies on how to allocate funds, reports Science. Its release was not deterred by the notable absence of a presidential science advisor.

In a statement emailed to The Scientist, Michael Kratsios, acting OSTP head and deputy assistant to the President, says the memo does not depart from prior administrations’ approaches to basic science funding in seeking to “eliminate overlapping programs within Federal R&D, and eliminate overlap where it makes more sense for private investment to move forward.”

“Our guidance asks agencies to always be mindful of where the money is coming from - the American taxpayer,” he writes. “Recognizing the value of basic research, which may or may not be commercially realized, [it] calls for proposed research programs to have the potential to contribute to the public good.”

The overall gist of the memo is keeping with Trump’s view of “defense first, security second, with the economy, energy, and health after that,” which was apparent in the administration’s FY2018 budget, Kei Koizumi, formerly with OSTP under the Obama administration, tells Science.

On the other hand, AAAS federal research spending expert Matthew Hourihan tells Science that the priorities highlighted in the current memo overlap with those the administration sought to cut. “Beyond the obvious differences with Obama’s approach, this guidance also doesn’t have a lot of similarities with President Trump’s own 2018 budget request,” Hourihan says.

“America” precedes each of the memo’s listed priorities, notes the news report, “in keeping with the administration’s approach to branding issues.”

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
High-throughput spheroid microplate benefits cancer research, drug screening