Published online 9 June 2010 | Nature 465, 682-684 (2010) | doi:10.1038/465682a

News Feature

Science economics: What science is really worth

Spending on science is one of the best ways to generate jobs and economic growth, say research advocates. But as Colin Macilwain reports, the evidence behind such claims is patchy.

President Barack Obama says it. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), says it. University and research leaders elsewhere are saying it, too. The number one current rationale for extra research investment is that it will generate badly needed economic growth.

"Science is more essential for our prosperity, our health, our environment and our quality of life than it has ever been before," said Obama, addressing the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC last year. Getting down to the details, Collins has recently cited a report by Families USA, a Washington DC-based health-advocacy group, which found that every US$1 spent by the NIH typically generates $2.21 in additional economic output within 12 months.

"Biomedical research has generally been looked at for its health benefits, but the case for it generating economic growth is pretty compelling," says Collins. In Britain, senior scientists have called on the government to support science as a means of helping the economy out of recession. Heeding such arguments, governments in Germany, Sweden, Canada and Australia, as well as the United States, have increased research spending as part of stimulus packages designed to aid their struggling economies.

Beneath the rhetoric, however, there is considerable unease that the economic benefits of science spending are being oversold. The Families USA study used a model developed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the US Department of Commerce to deduce the likely benefits of NIH spending in each state. Collins says he has been advised that the approach is "standard and considered reliable". But some economists question the basic assumption behind such models — that a certain amount of research input will generate corresponding economic outputs — or that those outputs can be quantified.

Costs or benefits

The problem, economists say, is that the numbers attached to widely quoted economic benefits of research have been extrapolated from a small number of studies, many of which were undertaken with the explicit aim of building support for research investment, rather than being objective assessments. The economics of health research, on which much analysis of costs and benefits has been focused, "has had very little money invested in it", says Martin Buxton, director of the Health Economics Research Group at Brunel University, UK. "And too much of what has been done, has been done as a process of advocacy."

“Too much of what has been done, has been done as a process of advocacy.”


Research leaders acknowledge that they need better tools. Collins says that the NIH held a workshop with economists in May to see whether it should invest some of its funds into economic outcomes. "We're very interested in tightening up the evidence base," he says.

Some of that evidence is already being collected. Under the programme STAR METRICS (Science and Technology in America's Reinvestment — Measuring the Effects of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science), implemented after the US stimulus package was introduced, the Obama administration is seeking to trace the effect of federal research grants and contracts on outcomes such as employment, publications and economic activity (see Nature 464, 488–489; 2010). The programme's supporters say it will provide justification for the stimulus money — exactly what research agencies need as they come under pressure to show what recent investments have produced.

Economic arguments have always been used to make the case for science spending, particularly when times are tough. In the United States, these were strengthened by the publication of Rising Above the Gathering Storm, an influential 2006 report from the US National Academies, which called for the sharp expansion of publicly funded research and development to stave off competition from China and elsewhere. The 600-page report, written by a panel chaired by Norman Augustine, former chairman of Lockheed Martin, was put together by a large panel of senior scientists in a matter of weeks, to meet a tight congressional deadline.

In a section titled "Why are science and technology critical to America's prosperity in the 21st century?" the report reviews the literature that estimates return on investment (ROI) from research (see Table 2). This is illustrated by various graphs, including one showing steep declines in US death rates from heart disease between 1950 and 2000, inferring that this drop can be partly attributed to biomedical research.

Innovation drive

Gathering Storm recommended that federal investment in basic research should increase by 10% every year for seven years, and led Congress to consider spending increases of that order, mainly in the physical sciences and engineering. When the newly elected President Obama was hurriedly preparing a February 2009 bill aimed at stimulating economic growth, parts of these increases were thrown in, together with extra spending for the NIH. In the end, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included a further $21 billion of research spending, all justified by its supporters on the grounds that it would yield speedy economic returns.

Yet Stephen Merrill, executive director of the Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy at the National Academies but who was not involved in the report, concedes that Gathering Storm doesn't, in itself, make a detailed case for the economic benefits of investing in research. For that, one has to look further back in the literature.

Economists have agreed for decades that a large component of modern economic growth has to be driven by 'innovation' — that is, the arrival of new ideas and technologies. "We have very good evidence that 50–70% of productivity growth arises from innovation," says Iain Gillespie, head of the Science and Technology Policy Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Greater difficulty arises in determining what drives the innovation, though. Is it basic research, often publicly funded, as the science advocates contend? Or are other factors, such as the demands of consumers who buy, say, mobile phones or computer games, also involved? And even if scientific research does drive innovation, will more investment in science necessarily speed up the process? Unfortunately, economists concede, no one really knows.

In one of the bedrock papers in this field, Edwin Mansfield, the late University of Pennsylvania economist, estimated that academic research delivered an annual rate of return of 28% (E. Mansfield Research Policy 20, 1–12; 1991). The figure has been widely quoted ever since. But Mansfield reached this estimate by interviewing chief executives, asking them what proportion of their companies' innovation was derived from university research and, in effect, demanding that they come up with a number. "He was asking an impossible question," says Ben Martin, a former director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, UK. "Methodologically, this was a dubious thing to do."

NIH director Francis Collin is exploring new ways to document the effect of research investment.NIH director Francis Collin is exploring new ways to document the effect of research investment.A. HARRER/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY

Whatever method economists have used since, measuring the ROI from research has proved tough, and has produced a wide range of values (see Table 2). Some look at the 'micro' level, asking things such as: what contribution did a dozen neuroscience grants received by the University of Cambridge in 1972 eventually make to drug development? Such efforts are complicated, however, by the difficulties of attributing credit for any given drug to the numerous research teams involved over time. Policy-makers are more interested in the 'macro' question, measuring the effect of combined research activities on a country's economic growth. According to Merrill, repeated efforts to pin down firm numbers here have also failed. "It is fair to say that this is an analytical dead end," he told attendees at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in February.

Exceptional returns?

Martin says that for much of the literature, "there is some PR, rather than rigorous research involved". This influence derives in part from the activities of US medical research lobbyists. An example is the 2000 report Exceptional Returns: The Economic Value of America's Investment in Medical Research by Funding First, an initiative of the Mary Woodard Lasker Charitable Trust that advocated biomedical research spending. Pointing to work by various economists, the document estimated that the steep decline in cardiovascular deaths in the United States between 1970 and 1990 has an economic value of $1.5 trillion annually, and deduced that one-third of this — $500 billion a year — could be attributed to medical research that led to new procedures and drugs, a finding that was echoed in the Gathering Storm report. A plethora of studies in the United States and Australia followed through with similar claims.

Funding First has been disbanded, but Robert Topel, who studies labour economics at the University of Chicago and whose work was cited in the report, distances himself from some of its claims. "Probably only a little of the fall in the cardiovascular death rate has to do with surgery and beta-blockers," he says. "It is very hard to take changes in public health and attribute their cause." Topel also questions the report's implication that publicly funded biomedical research will create thousands of jobs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Topel says that Mark Hatfield, the former Republican senator for Oregon who wrote the report's introduction, was constantly fishing for job numbers. "We kept telling Hatfield that jobs are a cost, not a benefit."

“It is very hard to take changes in public health and attribute their cause.”


The price of research

A key problem, says Topel, has been economists' inability to measure the costs of research as well as the benefits. These costs include the added expense of caring for elderly patients kept alive by new treatments, the costs of talented people doing research instead of something economically productive (such as running a technology company or an ice-cream van), and the cost of wayward outcomes, such as nuclear clean-up — a long-term 'outcome' of the research and development of nuclear energy and weaponry. Research agencies have no interest in assessing the costs of research fairly, says Barry Bozeman, a science-policy specialist at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. "Honest clients are in short supply" for research in this field, he says. "Most of them think they already have the answers, and want someone to find the numbers to prove them right."

The flaws in the 'exceptional returns' literature were thrown into sharp relief in a November 2008 study called Medical Research: What's it Worth? by the London-based Wellcome Trust and the UK Medical Research Council. In it, some UK health economists attempted to make rigorous estimates of the economic benefits of publicly and charitably funded medical research in Britain.

They estimated that every pound invested in cardiovascular disease and mental-health research brought about, through improved health, economic returns of 9% and 7%, respectively. Work in both fields generated an extra return of 30% through 'spillover' effects from research to the broader economy, such as training and industrial activity. But the report said that these findings were "at best tentative", and spelled out a long list of knowledge gaps.

Little is known about how long the economic benefits of research take to accrue; nor the extent to which the benefits of research done in one country or region are specific to that area, which is a central question for policy-makers. "Three-quarters of the benefits are in spillover, and that's where the evidence is weakest," says Jonathan Grant, president of RAND Europe in Cambridge, UK, and one of the study's main authors. Grant also questions the way that data on ROI gathered in one sector, such as agricultural research, have sometimes been applied to others. "Most of the empirical evidence in this area is (a) historical, (b) American and (c) from agriculture. How transferable is that? It's a big question in my mind," he says.

Efforts to strengthen the evidence are increasing. An $8-million-a-year grants programme at the National Science Foundation (NSF), for example, is supporting investigations by science-policy specialists and economists into various aspects of research economics, including several approaches to measuring the impact of Obama's stimulus package. The programme grew out of an initiative to build "a scientifically rigorous, quantitative basis" for research policy, launched in 2005 by John Marburger, then science adviser to President George W. Bush. As Marburger explains, "We need disinterested people — as opposed to the current situation, where everyone involved has an interest in the outcome."

Julia Lane, head of the NSF project, is also directing the related STAR METRICS programme. The first aim of the programme is to build a 'clean' database of all federally funded researchers in the United States — current records are confused, with conflicting information on names and affiliations — and estimate the number of people that they keep in employment. Later on, the plan is to track patents, citations and other metrics of the research's impact. Lane, like Marburger, suggests that researchers' use of the Internet to communicate and publish will enable STAR METRICS to track the creation and transfer of knowledge properly for the first time. "In the past, we haven't had the data infrastructure to do a full analysis," she says.

Tobin Smith, vice-president for policy at the Association of American Universities in Washington DC, is confident that the first STAR METRICS results in summer 2011 will help to show doubters that the stimulus-bill money has been wisely spent. "It will certainly help me," he says, "by telling our campuses how many people they are keeping in work — something universities have never been able to do." Like Smith, most research leaders and advocates seem assured that new data will reveal the healthy return on investment they have been touting all along.

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Not that this guarantees that the economic growth argument will continue to persuade. There are signs that a backlash against further research spending is already emerging. In May, the US House of Representatives decisively rejected a bill that would have authorized increased research funding for physical sciences agencies, and in Britain, research spending cuts by the newly elected government are widely anticipated. The pressure is building to show what earlier investments have produced.

As one former congressional staffer, who didn't want to be named, puts it: "If it turns out that all the stimulus has done is hire a load of foreign postdocs, there's going to be trouble." 

See Editorial, page 665.

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  • #11134

    What I find disturbing about this headline and the article that follows it is the suggestion that science should have to justify itself in economic terms. Perhaps politicians find it expedient to do so, but the idea that knowledge is only worthwhile if it makes a profit is one that I believe is dehumanising. Scientific knowledge – even more that Art – is the greatest of all human achievements.
    The question “what science is really worth” implies a broader range of values than merely economic ones, even in the context of the introductory phrase “Science economics”; that is, the headline does not read “What science is really worth in economic terms” – which would be a more honest title. The implication is to question whether “we” are getting value for money out of “our investment” in science.
    This is looking at the matter the wrong way round, quite as wrong and reprehensible – though in a different field – as it would be to evaluate one’s relationship with a family member on monetary grounds.
    This article would be more appropriate in a financial or economic magazine. Knowledge needs justification no more than love does.

  • #11145

    Suppose that basic science do not have economic returns. Is the author suggesting that capitalism is not a good environment for basic research and that communism is a better system to support basic science?

  • #11165

    The article raises pertinent issues and makes evident some methodological weaknesses in most schemes to evaluate the impact of research. There is an over-emphasis, as usual on the contributions of economists, and we need innovative methods of research impact assessment. Many, everywhere in the world, do not seem to realise that we are currently at the crossroads of humanity's destiny, and this is not a joke. We only have to ponder on the factors responsible for the financial and economic downturn the world is going through. This is not a phenomenon unique to business people. Doesn't a business-like approach exist in research and academia. Just a quick flimsy thought: why would an internationally circulated physics populariser publicise a book which talks about a murder story in a multiverse milieu? Do we realise the enormous problems which current phenomena like the financial downturn, climate change, challenge of energy resources, quality control in international business, money hoarding, drugs, diseases and environmental problems. Our inability to have a sustained space travel programme for the last 6 decades, our inability to solve the BP oil spill and so on and so forth show that we have to now ask the question of what kind of life quality and life environment will we have,say, in the next 5 to 6 decades, that will make future generations happy. Your article talking about research and technology refers, as I have seen already a thousand times, to mobiles and computer games. What we should aim at, also indicated by the article, I believe is as follows: better health, quality control on what we buy from the shelf, renewable energy at affordable prices worldwide, good conventional and high tech agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture everywhere in the world, and sound environmental policies and practices. These are where we should concentrate most of our research efforts. All,if not nearly all the science and technologies exist, but we have to improve on them for wide practical applications.

  • #11166

    The only thing which differentiates humans from other
    organisms and machines and due to which humans are a
    superior race is “CURIOUSITY” aka Science. This title: 'What Science is really worth' is really awry..

  • #11179

    The only thing which differentiates humans from other
    organisms and machines and due to which humans are a
    superior race is CURIOSITY aka Science. This title: 'What Science is really worth' is really awry..

  • #11230

    As much as we might wish otherwise, publicly-funded science must be justified to the taxpayers who fund it. If our work represents an investment to them, the purse strings will loosen significantly more than if they think the reason for funding us is to keep a bunch of unemployed scientists from roaming the streets causing mischief.

  • #11284

    Of course science is good, important, worthy of time and attention and money. I don't think that any of these are the question or the point; in an ideal world, both science and art — of which the same things can be said — would receive support. In the real situation of highly limited resources, the question is instead whether it makes sense to fund scientific research instead of other competing projects. To this question it is salient, I think, that funding for scientific research may come from non-government sources. These sources are more likely to fund research with demonstrable economic returns, leaving a smaller — still important — percentage for public funding. Crucially relevant to this whole debate and ignored by this article is the vast expense of scientific research. Can and should we not face funding questions with attempts to improve efficiency and reduce costs? I don't mean cutting lab positions; I mean using reusable glassware instead of expensive prepackaged sterile plastic, being cognizent of the real needs of an experiment, meeting rather than grossly exceeding those needs in terms of equipment. There is always room for improvement in ingenuity and efficiency and, no matter what the pressures driving it, is often the source of new ideas.

  • #21246

    This is really a debate not about intrinsic value but subjective value or relative value. Different societies place different values on what science has to offer human-kind.
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  • #21973

    not only the science create a lot of important jobs but everything that comes as a new rproduct or technology helps the hole worldmadeira plástica

  • #22716

    Very interesting material. It took me some time to read this. romanse

  • #24348

    I don't think that any of these are the question or the point; in an ideal world, both science and art — of which the same things can be said — would receive support.woodfield university In the real situation of highly limited resources, the question is instead whether it makes sense to fund scientific research instead of other competing projects.

  • #24607

    Obama, as the ideological marrow of the Democrat is as well, is still infatuated with all things Soviet.

    Yeah, the Soviet's deployment of the Sputnik satellite awakened America into the the space age...to end up beating the yogurt out of the Soviets, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on moon soil.

    But, so did Paul Revere awaken sleeping colonials on the approaching monarchical troops.

    Hence, any normal American would invoke a "Paul Revere moment", but Obama and the rest of the Democrat hierarchs --out of their sheer puppy love for socialism, and even communism-- and one and two other morons --out of their crass stupidity-- will invoke a "Sputinik moment". body pillow

  • #24608

    I'm a teacher, I got to go to a conference last year where science teachers shared their ideas and what we were doing in our classes. They had a woman scientist talk to us about the success she'd been having with some new medical research into wound healing, I can't remember the details something to do with protein structure but in short the basic message was she'd as an undergraduate discovered this technique which would save thousands, she'd then patented it, started a company is now a millionaire employing about 20 staff and only now about 8 years latter publishing the details due to ensuring they could get a patent. I suppose good on her but it makes me sick to the stomach that due to governments unwillingness to support science properly this treatment is waiting for almost a decade so there can be a financial windfall for a few meanwhile thousands die from something that can now be treated. I take my hat off to the guy who discovered the cure for polio and GAVE it to the world. insurance rates for cars

  • #24657

    I think there is a lot of waist in taxpayer dollars in this country right now and we are becoming a little like Europe unfortunately but science has to continue and it needs be justified to the taxpayers who fund it.

    Many have been waiting in line for the<a href="http://lotteryresultscheckerx.com"<font color="black">lottery results checker</font></a>(I believe that's what it's called)to see if they have been approved/accepted for a grant of some kind or funding that doesn't have such stringent guide lines.
    Either way funding has to be justified because of the waste. Just my 2 cents

  • #24736

    It's an epidemic. Everyday you wake up and read about someone else who's had a "Sputnik moment." Thomas Friedman may have been the first (September 2009); an incubatory year later and the number of its victims mounts. In December of 2010 alone, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Senator John Kerry, former Assistant Secretary of Education Chester Finn, and the president himself all experienced a "Sputnik moment."

    Fear is the one common trigger of the recent Sputnik moment outbreak. Fear of being bettered educationally, economically, technologically — the range of fears is varied, but the source of these fears is not. It's always traceable to China.

    See post, The 'Sputnik Moment' Epidemic: Is China Our New Russia? at ChinaMusings.com. <a href="http://www.insurancenetworking.org/low-cost-car-insurance">low cost car insurance</a>

  • #24737

    Now this is admission to two close guarded secrets; admiration of Communism and Collectivism and deficit as high as 'Sputnik" orbit!

    USA will "fly", may be longer then 21 days, crushing down by gravity of useless paper or depart from Earth like StarTrek next generation - "Pigs in Space": watch Muppet Show for details. Fuzzy Bear would say heya, heya heya!

    There is also too much VOODU in this SOTU prayer. Amen! This speech is what Jorgenson of New England Wire and Cable said in “Other People’s Money”. I opt to support “Larry the Liquidator” – Garfield, to shut down very inefficient part in economy – Government. I want to make money and this, makes me morally superior to fulfill my dream of Happiness; not by Government, with Government but by individual like me that is the part indispensable in creation of wealth. All I can say to “Big brother” is: Get a hell out of the way.

    There are pillars of economic wisdom, established by Ludwig von Mises of Austria, no, no not by Arnold the Barbarian, but by pure reason and historical analysis.

    First – Freedom and unalienable rights (Constitution is not fetish, it is for Government only “born” from will of people therefore having not “rights” or superiority because it is a servant, not a slave, to people period.

    Second – sound money, medium of exchange that Governments can not forge – GOLD,

    Third – judicial system based on principles of Constitution, not by political appointments,

    Forth – army to defend all what I said above,

    With that, private enterprise will prosper and all will be better off. Do not make this Earth like prison and say how wonderful it is. We are bound to it by gravity but freedom has no binderies.

    In 1961 it was still possible to say by Democratic President elect JFK:

    “ Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty”.

    “Quo Vadis” Obama?
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  • #24866

    Economics has been subject to criticism that it relies on unrealistic, unverifiable, or highly simplified assumptions, in some cases because these assumptions simplify the proofs of desired conclusions. Examples of such assumptions include perfect information, profit maximization and rational choices.The field of information economics includes both mathematical-economical research and also behavioral economics, akin to studies in behavioral psychology.

    Nevertheless, prominent mainstream economists such as Keynes and Joskow have observed that much of economics is conceptual rather than quantitative, and difficult to model and formalize quantitatively. In a discussion on oligopoly research, Paul Joskow pointed out in 1975 that in practice, serious students of actual economies tended to use "informal models" based upon qualitative factors specific to particular industries. Joskow had a strong feeling that the important work in oligopoly was done through informal observations while formal models were "trotted out ex post". He argued that formal models were largely not important in the empirical work, either, and that the fundamental factor behind the theory of the firm, behavior, was neglected.

    Despite these concerns, mainstream graduate programs have become increasingly technical and mathematical. Roy

  • #24941

    Barack Obama warned of the threat to US economic power and global influence from China's rise as he appealed for Republicans to abandon demands for huge budget cuts and back the biggest government investment programme since the 1960s space race.

    In the annual state of the union address, the US president appealed for the Republicans to co-operate to "win the future" and said the present generation faces its "Sputnik moment", requiring government investment in research, infrastructure and education.

    He said that would be paid for, in part, by eliminating subsidies to hugely profitable oil companies.

    "Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon," he told congress. "The science wasn't there yet. Nasa didn't even exist.

    "But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets – we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

    This is our generation's Sputnik moment. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country or somewhere else. Mark

  • #25288

    Fear is the one common trigger of the recent Sputnik moment outbreak. Fear of being bettered educationally, economically, technologically — the range of fears is varied, but the source of these fears is not. It's always traceable to China.
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  • #25803

    Hmm, let's face it, if there's no economic there will be no science – the science, no matter what kind of science we're talking about, they all need resources to grow. But science isn't an accurate thing, they can't expect to get ROI 100%. The 28% are more than enough!

    I work with <h1.gt;<a href="http://www.photoslicious.com">wedding photographers</a></h1.gt; and all of them are result from the science in our daily life. If someone hasn't invited the cameras there would be a single <strong><a href="http://www.photoslicious.com">wedding photographer</a></strong> right now! So respect to the science but dont expect to much from it.

  • #25804

    *My previous comments contain some wrong symbols so I'll rewrite it*

    Hmm, let's face it, if there's no economic there will be no science – the science, no matter what kind of science we're talking about, they all need resources to grow. But science isn't an accurate thing, they can't expect to get ROI 100%. The 28% are more than enough!

    I work with "wedding photographers":http://www.photoslicious.com and all of them are result from the science in our daily life. If someone hasn't invited the cameras there wouldn't be a single "wedding photographers":http://www.photoslicious.com right now! So respect to the science but dont expect to much from it.

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  • #25806

    Hmm, let's face it, if there's no economic there will be no science the science, no matter what kind of science we're talking about, they all need resources to grow. But science isn't an accurate thing, they can't expect to get ROI 100%. The 28% are more than enough!

    I work with wedding photographers and all of them are result from the science in our daily life. If someone hasn't invited the cameras there wouldn't be a single wedding photographers right now! So respect to the science but dont expect to much from it.

  • #25992

    Weird,

    In one science class the "economy of growth" is blessed, yet in another science class the deadly consequences of growth are considered.

    Can we conclude, then, that there is good growth and bad growth?

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  • #26115

    There can't be a negative aspect of science if human beings know how to use it. Some harness its power for the benefits of mankind while others for the destruction while following their own lusts.

    The biochemical weapons have been brought to existence for the benefits only of some tyranical countries and not for mankind. If we have use the same amount of money spent in creating those deadly weapons but for the benefits of human beings, i am sure nowadays that everyday would just plus 1 science.

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  • #26129

    The innovation creates value for human activities, including the growth of economy. However, it is not denied that the growth is always achieved in the expense of nature. One needs to balance both of them in order to ensure the sustainability. Just like the <a href="http://bestcreditcardforcollegestudent.com/">Credit Card for College Students</a>, if one does not utilize it properly, it will bring harm to the card holder.

  • #26331

    We only have to ponder on the factors responsible for the financial and economic downturn the world is going through. Amanda

  • #26486

    Science and economics is now playing a big role in every countries main source of income generation..Science can create lots of jobs and opportunities not just for technical people but for any one who understands. student loan consolidation reviews

  • #26520

    Economic bubble bursts and bang and bust of asset values are a part of the economic ups and downs,and our stock markets represent it on a faster time capsule snap shot.Of course psychology is involved since decision taking is a cognitive process,and while we think we are being rational in making a conscious decision,studies in science reveal that a lot of meta-reason ,emotion and passion go into rational[so-called]conscious decision making.There is mounting evidence for influence of unconscious processes which almost predetermine conscious cognition,to such an extent that one is almost predetermined .Hence the ups and downs of the human mind,the frailties and follies of the unconscious,are also reflected in economics.Hence the bubble and its bursts.

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  • #26730

    Interesting read. There is no monetary value of what science is really worth.

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  • #27030

    Everyday you wake up and read about someone else who's had a "Sputnik moment." Thomas Friedman may have been the first (September 2009); an incubatory year later and the number of its victims mounts. In December of 2010 alone, Secretary of Energy.j41 shoes

  • #27046

    Efforts to strengthen the evidence are increasing. An $8-million-a-year grants programme at the National Science Foundation (NSF), for example, is supporting investigations by science-policy specialists and economists into various aspects of research economics, including several approaches to measuring the impact of Obama's stimulus package. The programme grew out of an initiative to build "a scientifically rigorous, quantitative basis" for research policy, launched in 2005 by John Marburger, then science adviser to President George W. Bush.

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    We only have to ponder on the factors responsible for the financial and economic downturn the world is going through.

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  • #27170

    I can see why there is an unease whether spending more on science can benefits the economy or not. Spending on science doesn't directly impact the economy. We will need a successful science breakthrough for it to give impact on economy.
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  • #27408

    What will happen to all our scientific effort the way the country is heading now? I'm very concerned about all the spending... and I hope somebody agree with me.

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  • #27851

    Not that this guarantees that the argument of economic growth will remain unconvinced. There are indications that a reaction against additional research spending is already emerging. In May the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a bill King Size Bed Dimensions that would have allowed the major funding agencies for research to increase the physical sciences, and in Britain, reductions in research spending by the newly elected government, are widely expected. The pressure is mounting to show what previous investments have occurred.a

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    Science really plays such an important role in all aspects of life (moreover, in financial growth). And it should be more than obvious (although it is not) that science could show us the path out of the current economic crisis in a new world of real linear development. But I'm afraid that there this is not only a matter of science and economics, but mainly a matter of politics.
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  • #35280

    Science really plays such an important role in all aspects of life (moreover, in financial growth). And it should be more than obvious (although it is not) that science could show us the path out of the current economic crisis in a new world of real linear development. But I'm afraid that there this is not only a matter of science and economics, but mainly a matter of politics.
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  • #35282

    Science really plays such an important role in all aspects of life (moreover, in financial growth). And it should be more than obvious (although it is not) that science could show us the path out of the current economic crisis in a new world of real linear development. But I'm afraid that there this is not only a matter of science and economics, but mainly a matter of politics.
    Cea Mat of Kids Flip Flops

  • #35952

    Are you kidding? Science is worth EVERYTHING! Second to Jesus of course. :)
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  • #35953

    I mean, its really nice isn't it?
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  • #36465

    As much as we might wish otherwise, publicly-funded science must be justified to the taxpayers who fund it. If our work represents an investment to them, the purse strings will loosen significantly more than if they think the reason for funding us is to keep a bunch of unemployed scientists from roaming the streets causing mischief.
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  • #36948

    Really interesting. I think that this should not be tested for a year but maybe for 10 years.
    The time that passes from research to product to jobs may take even 20 years like in bingo sites

  • #37313

    "Why are science and technology critical to America's prosperity in the 21st century?" is explained indeed good in every way and the table 2 demonstrates very good. and nice photo by the way
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  • #40121

    This quote is really perfect considering everything that has developed over the last few years! "If it turns out that all the stimulus has done is hire a load of foreign postdocs, there's going to be trouble."

    I mean they are even using this for a body pillow

  • #41061

    As much as we might wish otherwise, publicly-funded science must be justified to the taxpayers who fund it. If our work represents an investment to them, the purse strings will loosen significantly more than if they think the reason for funding us is to keep a bunch of unemployed scientists from roaming the streets causing mischief.
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  • #42968

    As always a top notch article by Colin, and I have to say, the NIH info is very scary indeed when you read them. Not sure why they want to have different values for different states. Is not as if they are looking for a <a href="http://www.bingofind.com">bingo bonus</a> or anyhing like that.

  • #44727

    Science is more essential for our prosperity, our health,our environment and our quality of life than it has ever been before. i am really inspire from this sentence and totally agree with it
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