During the 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama challenged the nation to recommit to a spirit of innovation. “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” said the President. In order to accomplish this, the President noted that the nation must invest the resources needed to improve science education and drive scientific research.

“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” said President Obama. “Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”

Immediately following the speech, AIBS issued a statement applauding the President for restating his commitment to science.

The President also focused on reforming America’s education system, including setting several ambitious goals for the next decade. In addition to replacing the No Child Left Behind Act, the education reform championed by President George W. Bush, President Obama wants to train 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math over the next ten years. He also reiterated his goal to restore America’s position as the nation with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

Lastly, the President pledged to freeze non-security discretionary spending, which accounts for about 12 percent of the total federal budget, for the next five years. Mr. Obama has already frozen the salaries of government employees for the next two years. The move comes after weeks of rhetoric by Congressional Republicans to make deeper cuts. “[L]et’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.”

AIBS Public Policy Director, Dr. Robert Gropp, applauded the President’s remarks on science. “We were heartened to hear that President Obama plans to submit to Congress in the coming weeks a budget that would continue to make investments in scientific research. I look forward to seeing the details.”

“Science can not move forward and respond to our grand challenges in an environment of uncertainty. The nation must make sustained and predictable investments in research and development,” said Richard O’Grady, AIBS Executive Director.

 


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