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Reagan elected President NSB Chair Branscomb - NSF Director Slaughter
The National Science Board - A History in Highlights, 1950-2000
Table of Contents | Preface | Acknowledgements | Former Members | Exec Secretaries/Officers | Timeline

THE 1980'S


Image of a buckeye ball - a form of carbon. When Ronald W. Reagan was elected President in November 1980, Iranians held American hostages, oil-exporting Nations were raising prices, Japan seemed on track to become the world's economic powerhouse, and recession and high unemployment all rocked American confidence. Though hard to detect at the time, the stage was being set for a renewal of U.S. research. Companies began more university-based research partnerships, with biotechnology an early result. States invested more in local universities and colleges to attract high-tech industry and skilled workers. Whereas researchers on the East and West coasts had traditionally received most basic research funds, now researchers in many parts of the country competed for-and won-prestigious awards.

Though the Foundation reeled from budget cuts in the early Reagan years, the Administration's idea of rethinking government took hold. The Foundation evolved as a result of an innovative Director and strong Board leaders. By FY1990, when its budget had risen from $1 billion to $2 billion, NSF was a remodeled institution whose budget better served its core mission.

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