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100+ Groups Support Unified Statement on Research

October 31, 1997

A coalition of science, engineering, and mathematics organizations endorsed a statement calling for a doubling of research funding over the next ten years. In total, 106 organizations offered their support of a "Unified Statement on Research" at a Capitol Hill Press Conference on October 22.

The announcement is in response to a downward trend in federal science and engineering research investments. According to congressional reports, 5.7 percent of the federal budget in 1965 was spent on non-defense research and development. By 1997 that figure has dropped to 1.9 percent.

Dr. Winfred M. Phillips, President- nominee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), stated "Investment in research provides the building blocks for our nation's competitive abilities. Federal support also provides the lifeblood for cutting-edge engineering research at colleges and universities, and is essential for educating the nation's future generations of engineers and scientists." Dr. Phillips was joined at the press conference by Dr. D. Allan Bromley, President of the American Physical Society, and Dr. Ronald Breslow, Immediate Past President of the American Chemical Society.

In conjunction with the release of the statement, Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) announced the introduction of the National Research Investment Act of 1998. The bill would be the legislative vehicle to accomplish the goals put forth in the Unified Statement, including advancing engineering, mathematics, and scientific research and education.

The Congressional Research Service estimates that passage of the National Research Investment Act would raise the amount of non-defense investment in research and development from $34 billion currently to $68 billion in fiscal year 2008.

The full text of the "Unified Statement on Research," and a complete list of the endorsing organizations is available at the ASME web site: www.asme.org/work/frames/frame_gric.htm, or by contacting SSTI at 614/421-SSTI (7784).