White House calls for unified R&D spending

Agencies should look at ways to combine their individual R&D efforts, including projects involving networking and computer science, according to a White House memorandum issued last week.

Signed by John Marburger, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Joshua Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, the memo outlines what the White House and OMB want to see in future R&D project proposals. They are looking for a mixture of high-level projects'investments in high-risk, high-payoff technologies that could improve 'future quality of life''along with projects that have more immediate benefits of sustaining 'specifically authorized agency missions.'

The memo also stresses the need for agencies to, wherever possible, coordinate R&D efforts, both to cut down on duplicative and low-payoff projects and get in step with the goals set by the interagency National Science and Technology Council. High-end computing and networking is one of the areas highlighted.

'Investments in high-end computing and cyber infrastructure R&D should be given higher relative priority due to their potential for broad impact,' the document states. It notes that agency projects should be consistent with the 2004 Federal Plan for High-End Computing, issued by the White House's High-End Computing Revitalization Task Force.

The memo also highlights nanotechnology, homeland security, the physical and biological sciences, and energy and environmental fields as areas ripe for multi-agency R&D efforts.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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