Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nancy Pelosi on increasing science funding

Over at the next hurrah there's a discussion of a speech by house minority leader Nancy Pelosi about increasing the United States' commitment to (read:funding for) research. Quite a lot has been made of the U.S. gradually losing its edge especially in engineering. I have to say that I don't see such a sea change in competitiveness with respect to Europe, but in Asia it might be a different thing entirely. Regardless, I think increased money for science, if spent wisely (Gates foundation!) could really help the U.S. Good politics, and good policy, indeed.

A second point, not addressed in Pelosi's speech, is that changes in immigration policy in the wake of the September 11th attacks have the potential to hurt U.S. hi tech very badly. I don't have a constructive suggestion, but a large fraction of postdocs in the United States are foreign born, and losing them will cost.

Please see The Next Hurrah for a great comment thread- look for "emptywheel" on immigration, and multiple "emptypockets" comments on the glut of biology Ph.D.s. and on policy.

UPDATE: Pelosi's speech appears to have been a grab-bag of hi-tech initiatives. I feel less sure about this.

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