Congress should reallocate NSF monies to areas with stronger national economic impacts.
It’s time to clearly recognize that certain research programs the National Science Foundation supports are much more important to our country’s economic well-being and competitiveness than others, and explicitly take this into account when making budgetary allocation decisions. Therefore, Congress should direct, and the Administration should implement, a reallocation of NSF resources toward the kinds of science that has direct economic and industrial benefits for the United States. In particular, this means increasing NSF budgets for four key Directorates: 1) Math and physical sciences; 2) Engineering; 3) Computer and information sciences and engineering (CISE); and 4) Biological sciences, while permitting research budgets for the geosciences and social sciences to shrink. This is not a call to shrink basic science funding (indeed it should be increased), but it is a call to explicitly reorient it in such a way that best promotes U.S. national innovation-based economic competitiveness and the jobs and economic growth that stem from this.