05.2 Physical Science Research Funding

Federal investments by agencies such as DOE, NSF, NASA, DOD and NIST are indispensable to the vitality of our nation’s research programs in physics and the physical sciences. The investments are essential for maintaining economic growth and generating jobs; ensuring national, homeland and energy security; educating and training the workforce of the future; and contributing to disciplines such as biomedicine and engineering.

The American Physical Society urges increased federal support of the physical sciences. Recent policy reports identify this as a critical need.

The American Physical Society calls specific attention to the following statements embodied in these reports.

“Federal support of science and engineering research in universities and national laboratories has been key to America’s prosperity for more than half a century. A robust educational system to support and train the best U.S. scientists and engineers and to attract outstanding students from other nations is essential for producing a world-class workforce and enabling the R&D enterprise it underpins. But in recent years federal investments in the physical sciences, math and engineering have not kept pace with the demands of a knowledge economy, declining sharply as a percentage of the gross domestic product. This has placed future innovation and our economic competitiveness at risk.”

The Knowledge Economy: Is the United States Losing Its Competitive Edge?
(The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation, February 2005)

“Increase significantly the research budgets of agencies that support basic research in the physical sciences and engineering, and complete the commitment to double the NSF budget. These increases should strive to ensure that the federal commitment of research to all federal agencies totals one percent of U.S. GDP.”

Innovate America (The Council on Competitiveness, December 2004)

“…[T]he U.S. government has seriously under-funded basic scientific research in recent years… [T]he inadequacies of our systems of research and education pose a greater threat to U.S. national security over the next quarter century than any potential conventional war that we might imagine. American national leadership must understand these deficiencies as threats to national security. If we do not invest heavily and wisely in rebuilding these two core strengths, America will be incapable of maintaining its global position long into the 21st century.”

Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change
(Phase III Report of the Commission on National Security/21st Century, January 2001)

Revision approved by Council on November 12, 2020 
Adopted by the Council on April 15, 2005
Category: National Policy

APS Statements

APS Statements are public policy statements that undergo a meticulous process of draft and review, including receiving comments from APS members, before being voted on by APS Council at one of its semiannual meetings.