Clinton to Unveil Proposal for R&D Spending

U.S. President Bill Clinton today gave details of increases he supports in U.S. government spending on scientific research, including more than US$600 million for information technology research.

The president's proposed funding increase for IT research and development is part of a $2.8 billion increase in overall research and development spending Clinton will propose in his fiscal 2001 budget, according to a White House statement issued today.

A large portion of the proposed increase -- about $1 billion -- would go toward biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. But of the remaining $1.8 billion proposed increase, Clinton wants the U.S. to spent $605 million more on IT research than it is set to spend in the current fiscal year.

The additional money -- part of $2.2 billion Clinton will propose spending on IT research in fiscal 2001 -- would support research leading to advances in high-speed wireless networks to bring distance learning and telemedicine to isolated areas of the U.S. and in supercomputers that could improve weather forecasting and help develop new drugs.

The proposed increase also includes $497 million for an initiative dealing with nanotechnology that Clinton said could revolutionize the 21st century in the same way that the transistor and the Internet led to the Information Age.

Increased investments in nanotechnology could lead to breakthroughs such as molecular computers that store massive amounts of information in a device the size of a sugar cube, today's statement said.

Additional funds for the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) are also proposed. The president said the NSF should receive $675 million more in fiscal 2001 to boost university-based research and ensure balanced support for all science and engineering disciplines.

Clinton is due to officially make the announcements in a speech today at the California Institute of Technology. He is expected to say that the proposed additional investments will ensure that science and technology will continue to fuel U.S. economic growth, according to today's statement.

The White House can be found on the Web at http://www.whitehouse.gov/.

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