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R&D Magazine Releases Basic Research White Paper

June 13, 1997

R&D Magazine has released the results of a survey in which more than 80 percent of respondents think America will lose its competitive edge in industry within 25 years unless basic-research funding is increased. The survey consisted of a combination of research questionnaires and individual interviews with 4,000 researchers representing industry, academia, and government.

The survey findings are part of R&D Magazine's Basic Research White Paper. Overall, the report found that the research process, although not in immediate peril, has lost its long-term planning agenda in the face of global competition. If action is not taken to support a basic-research infrastructure to act as a foundation for the future, American innovation will suffer.

The major conclusions of the study are: Industrial research will not increase except in very large corporations; basic research is on a shortened time horizon; grant applications consume an increasing amount of researchers' work time; and, academic research may not be a viable replacement for industrial basic research because of equipment and personnel limitations.

An eight-point Action Plan recommends the following solutions: Support basic research within the research continuum; nurture resource of high-quality researchers; pursue a consistent federal research policy; explain research to the public, especially to children; maintain some industrial basic research in-house; encourage programs between basic and applied research; compare appropriate federal research figures; and, analyze research incentives and stay competitive globally.

The report will be forwarded to the President, members of Congress, the governors of all 50 states, executives of American's largest research corporations, and officials of U.S. and international science and technology agencies.

A complete copy of the Basic Research White Paper can be found on the Web at http:// www. rdmag.com.