At the Scientific American Observations blog, Christine Gorman asks whether scientific research should be funded by the public, through private institutes, or a mix of both. "Given science's role in fueling the economy, I think it makes sense to explore the funding issue more deeply," Gorman says. She notes that although the federal budget for the 2013 fiscal year is supposed to start in October, it hasn't yet been finalized, and that the US National Institutes of Health budget for 2013 is expected to be a little less than $31 billion.
In the comments section, some readers respond that the US government should be the last entity funding scientific research, particularly since there is very little money allocated to research in the overall budget. Reader sjn notes that one successful example of science funding is Germany. "There are research institutes scattered across Germany that get approximately half of their funding from the national government," sjn says. "The other half comes from corporate funding. Their mandate is to move advanced technology from the research universities into commercial production."