Strong Government Labs And University Research Key To Economic Future In Southern Atlantic Region

September 08, 1997

New Report Forecasts Future of Region's R&D Enterprise

(Washington, DC) - The strength of the government laboratories and university research systems in four Southern Atlantic states - Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia - will help the region hold on to its federal R&D funding next year, but the long-term forecast is still unpredictable.

A new report released today by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) indicates that increases in R&D activities expected in 1998 may be short-lived due to the cuts being proposed in the year 2000 and beyond to balance the budget. The report, The Future of Science and Technology in the South Atlantic: Trends and Indicators, points out that the four states play a key role in the U.S. R&D enterprise, receiving $9.1 billion, or 13.1 percent of the total federal R&D funds in 1995 (the last year for which data is available). The report is being released at the annual meeting of the Southern Governors' Association in Hot Springs, Virginia.

"Federally-funded R&D is a keystone of the region's high-tech economy," said Al Teich, director of the AAAS Science and Policy Programs who will present the report at the meeting. "Thanks to the proposed increases next year in health and environmental research - two areas where the region excels - the short-term outlook is good. The long-term outlook, however, remains to be seen."

The report notes that the region's scientific and technological strength comes from the diversity of the R&D performed in each of the states. Defense dollars, in particular, have helped boost the region's economy. In 1995, Georgia received $3.9 billion, mostly for the development of the F-22 fighter plane. According to Teich, the state's share of federal R&D funding upon completion of the research component of the F-22 project is not known, leaving the region open for a drastic drop in federal R&D funding in 3-4 years.

Georgia is the nation's third largest recipient of federal R&D funds, receiving $4.4 billion in FY 1995. Virginia ranks fifth with $3.7 billion, followed by North Carolina at 21st ($851 million) and South Carolina at 37th (with $181 million).

The report is the seventh in a series of regional reports published by the AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Congress to inform scientific and engineering communities about local impacts of trends in federal spending. Reports have been published on Alaska, California, Georgia, the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and New England.

The Association is the world's largest federation of scientists with more than 143,000 members and nearly 300 affiliated scientific and engineering societies. It conducts a variety of programs in science education and career development, science policy, and international scientific cooperation. It publishes the weekly peer-reviewed journal Science and administers EurekAlert! [www.eurekalert.org], the online news service featuring discoveries in science, medicine, and technology.

##

Attached: Highlights of the report by state

EDITOR'S NOTE: Media interested in copies of the report must contact Dave Amber at 202-326-6434.

GeorgiaNorth Carolina South CarolinaVirginia##

American Association for the Advancement of Science

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