The White House has published a memo telling federal agencies how they should focus their scientific efforts. Here's a rundown of his five priorities and the kinds of associated research that agencies should be funding, in the same order as they're listed in the note:
- American Military Superiority, particularly "missile defense capabilities, a modern strategic deterrent, hypersonic weapons and defenses, autonomous and space-based systems, trusted microelectronics."
- American Security, with emphasis on protecting "the Nation’s critical infrastructure from both physical threats and cyber-attacks" and "surveillance and law enforcement capabilities that can detect and interdict illegal activity."
- American Prosperity, which will be driven by "autonomous systems, biometrics, energy storage, gene editing, machine learning, and quantum computing."
- American Energy Dominance, through "development of domestic energy sources ... for a clean energy portfolio composed of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy."
- American Health, with prioritization of "solutions for an aging population, as well as on combating drug addiction and other public health crises."
Yes, the "American" prefixes are all from the original. It's worth noting that climate science and advanced manufacturing, both priorities for the Obama administration, are conspicuously absent. The memo also urges a focus on basic science, to allow industry to pursue promising new technologies.
Commentators tell Science that the suggestions are at odds with Trump’s own proposed budget cuts. That's perhaps most evident in the case of energy, where agencies are told to "invest in early-stage, innovative technologies that show promise in harnessing American energy resources safely and efficiently." That, however, is exactly the kind of research that's funded by ARPA-E—the very agency that Trump planned to axe in his budget.
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024
Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.
Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.
Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.
AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.
What’s next for AI in 2024
Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.