Details of Budget’s R&D Funding Emphasizes Emerging Tech

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Agency officials involved in developing emerging technologies described how funding AI, quantum information systems and biotechnologies are all priority items within the 2024 Budget.

Improving the nation’s public health and infrastructure through technological innovation, as well as setting standards for emerging technologies, are among the chief goals for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy following the release of the Biden 2024 Budget last week.

Speaking during a press conference on Monday, federal leadership itemized agency research priorities pursuant to budget funding. The range of technologies slated to receive a solid influx in funding runs the gamut from green tech to quantum information systems. 

As reported last week, several agencies are slated to receive funding specifically meant to spearhead technological advancement within the U.S. Along with the Departments of Energy and Commerce, the National Science Foundation is tasked with helming emerging technologies research. 

With the planned $192 million in yearly funding, NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan commented that his agency plans to focus on innovation in fields like artificial intelligence, quantum biotechnology, bio manufacturing and advanced wireless connectivity. 

Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology is also at the forefront of emerging tech development, with an emphasis on developing standards to support and govern within new technologies that are anticipated to play a major role in the future economy.

“By investing in critical and emerging technology areas like AI, quantum biotechnology and advanced communication…we will provide the research, the measurement and the data to drive great technological advances across the country and ensure a strong foundation for future standards development that will position our country's success in the global marketplace,” NIST Director Laurie Locascio said. 

She added that NIST will be launching new partnerships specifically in the AI realm to develop sophisticated test beds and framework approaches integral to making trustworthy AI systems. 

New areas in quantum-enabled engineering will also be pursued along with the advanced funding, specifically in sensor technology that are domestically manufactured. 

In addition to the more typical types of emerging technologies, Locascio said that NIST will also be focused on researching biotechnologies. Coinciding with the OSTP’s larger agenda to leverage new technology into preventative health care and advanced treatments, NIST will be deploying new biological measurement platforms for fields like synthetic biology and cell based therapies.

This will help ensure reliability in metrics when testing new products in this field.

OSTP Director Arati Prabhakar outlined some of the planned research and development efforts, particularly in preventative health technologies and affiliated projects like Cancer Moonshot initiative, as well as bolstering the shift to a clean energy economy. 

“We need to create a future with robust health and plentiful opportunity for every person in America,” Prabhakar said. “We need to step up to meet the climate crisis. We need a competitive economy that creates jobs that support families, and we need to maintain global security and stability. These are monumentally difficult tasks that we're seeing ahead of us. And that is the purpose of American R&D. It's to make these aspirations possible.”