U.S. to devote 3 percent of GDP to R&D: Obama

11:21, October 08, 2009      

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U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday in the White House that the country will devote 3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to research and development to encourage the "next generation of discoveries."

"We need to ensure that we are encouraging the next generation of discoveries and the next generation of discoverers ... That's why my administration has set this goal, by investing in education, funding basic and applied research, and spurring private innovation," said the president while addressing a national award ceremony of the 2008 Medals of Science and Technology, the country's highest honor for scientific and technological research.

"We will devote 3 percent of our gross domestic product to research and development, that's more than at any point in recent history," he noted, adding that investing in science and technology is more essential to the nation's health and prosperity than ever before.

The National Medal of Science, created in 1959, recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation has its roots in a 1980 statute. It recognizes individuals or companies for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of technology for the improvement of the economic, environmental, or social well-being of the United States. They are the highest honors bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists, engineers, and inventors.

Among this year's award recipients are Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and the IBM Corp.

With the United States facing economic and security challenges, Obama said while naming those recipients in September that "These scientists, engineers and inventors are national icons, embodying the very best of American ingenuity and inspiring a new generation of thinkers and innovators. Their extraordinary achievements strengthen our nation every day -- not just intellectually and technologically but also economically, by helping create new industries and opportunities that others before them could never have imagined."

Some scientists say government funding is of great value for basic scientific research, much of which may not lead to useful products for decades. Among this year's nine winners of Nobel Prize in Medicine, Physics and Chemistry, eight hold U.S. citizenship and many were funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Source: Xinhua
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