Around this time every year, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) typically issue a joint guidance memo to Federal agencies describing the Administration’s R&D priorities for the next budget cycle.
This year’s memo — specifying priorities for the FY 2014 budget – was released last week. It encourages agencies to focus on ambitious ”grand challenges,” and directs agencies to prioritize research investments over development activities.
Because of the crucial government role in supporting research, in general agencies should give priority to funding for research above funding for development activities. Within research portfolios, agencies are encouraged to identify and pursue “Grand Challenges” — ambitious goals that require advances in science, technology and innovation to achieve.
Of particular note, the memo specifically calls out information technology R&D as a multi-agency priority (following the link):
…In the 2014 Budget, agencies should balance priorities to ensure resources are adequately allocated for agency-specific, mission-driven research while focusing resources, where appropriate, on addressing the following multi-agency research activities that cannot be addressed effectively by a single agency…
Information Technology Research and Development
Within the interagency Networking and Information Technology Research and Development initiative, agencies should give priority to investments that address the challenges of, and tap the opportunities afforded by, the Big Data revolution — the fast-growing volume of large and complex collections of digital data — to advance agency missions and further scientific discovery and innovation. Within the initiative, agencies should give priority to investment in data analytics and management and to fundamental research in computer science and engineering above funding for the development and procurement of large-scale high performance computing systems. Agencies should also give priority to research guided by the Trustworthy Cyberspace: Strategic Plan for Cybersecurity R&D Programs [report] to develop technologies that can protect our systems against current and future cyber-attacks.
Besides IT R&D as its own cross-cutting theme, a number of the other priority areas — advanced manufacturing, clean energy, the biological sciences, to name a few — will facilitate fundamental advances in computing through interdisciplinary research activities.
The full memo is available here.
(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)