NEVER has so much money been pumped into science so quickly and with so much hanging on a successful outcome. The full scope of President Barack Obama's agenda to revitalise the ailing US economy has now been revealed, and it is arguably the biggest bet on science and technology in history.
The Obama administration's latest attempt to tackle the problems facing the US is a record $3.6 trillion budget request for 2010. This has come hard on the heels of a $787 billion “stimulus package” designed to give the US economy a shot in the arm. Both are packed with funding for science and technology ventures, from healthcare research to an electricity supergrid. The stimulus alone hands out more than $20 billion for basic research and about $50 billion to support renewable power and energy efficiency (see charts)…
As I reported exclusively in the Los Angeles Times this morning, President Obama is set to instruct federal agencies to once again consult with endangered-species experts before moving ahead with construction projects, overruling a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration.