March 21, 2012


The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has joined with nine other scientific organizations to organize and sponsor a briefing for congressional policymakers on the economic returns associated with Federal government funding for scientific research.

The briefing, "Research That Pays Off: The Economic Benefits of Federally Funded R&D" was held on Friday, 16 March 2012.

A video of the briefing is available online at


In a 1988 national address, President Reagan asked Congress to increase spending on research, calling it "an indispensable investment in America's future." President Obama has said science is "essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, and our environment." But the federal share of research spending is now half of what it was in the 1950s. With China's investment in state-funded R&D on track to eclipse that of the U.S. in coming decades, our global status as number one in science is at risk. What consequences will this have for our long-term economic productivity and the future of American industry? In this briefing, an engaging panel will discuss the critical contributions that federal R&D have made to American industry in recent decades, how federally-funded R&D could continue to return dividends, and what effect this investment could have on long term economic prosperity. It turns out that many of the great economic engines of recent times had their start as federally funded initiatives.



  • Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Correspondent, The Economist


  • Dr. Fred Block, Research Professor of Sociology, University of California at Davis
  • Dr. Katie Hunt, R&D Director, Innovation Sourcing & Sustainable Technologies, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Simon Tripp, Senior Director, Technology Partnership Practice, Battelle Memorial Institute

Sponsoring organizations:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • American Statistical Association (ASA)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
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