Scientists Pleased to See Recognition of R&D's Role in Protecting Public Safety/Supporting Economic Growth, says American Geophysical UnionWASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Christine McEntee. "President Obama's budget proposal clearly acknowledges the contribution investments in scientific research and development (R&D) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education can make to job creation, economic growth, national security, and public safety. "Every day, millions of Americans, including businesses in a wide array of industries, rely on federally-supported R&D efforts—ranging from advanced tornado warnings that protect families and communities across the country to the countless jobs and revenue created by new companies that are cultivated from federal grants. And history has shown that much of the economic growth we enjoyed post-World War II was the result of strong support for and investments in science and technology. Despite our reliance on these programs, federal R&D funding is at its lowest level in more than a decade. "Finding ways to reduce our national debt while simultaneously supporting avenues for economic growth is challenging. However, as we saw with sequestration, indiscriminately cutting support for programs that help to save lives and support global competitiveness is short-sighted. Not only are sequester cuts resulting in furloughs and unemployment for thousands of researchers, and significant business losses for suppliers and contractors, they are slowing scientific advancement and reducing access to critical data and information. "While program consolidation efforts will have to be carefully managed to avoid creating gaps in research coverage and STEM education opportunities, the President's budget proposal is a good first step in repairing the damage done to scientific R&D by years of under-funding and sequestration cuts, and in building a more sustainable economic foundation for all Americans."