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Congress Launches National Research Program
August 26, 2008

Congress has authorized a major new research center, the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, that will bring the same focused, sustained research funding to technology and learning that the federal government has funded for years in technology for health care at the National Institutes of Health and technology for energy at the Department of Energy.

This new National Center will do research that is essential for the United States in this digital age. The creativity that developed extraordinary new information technologies has not focused on finding ways to make learning more compelling, more personal, and more productive in our nation’s schools. People assumed that the explosion of innovation in information tools in business and service industries would automatically move into classrooms.

The National Center is unique not only in its mission but in the way it will be managed. This will not be another government bureaucracy but a not-for-profit organization with an independent Board that will include educators, scientists, people from business, and professionals familiar with managing research that has transformed the way businesses use information technology.

Initial funding will come from the Department of Education but the National Center will be able to take funds from other agencies including the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security that have an enormous interest in education and training. It will also be able to receive funds from companies and other private donors interested in supporting research that can benefit the nation as a whole. It will be a unique public private partnership. The goal is to keep the National Center’s staff small so that the bulk of the funds will go to researchers nationwide capable of focusing the best of emerging technologies on what surely is one of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

To learn more about the National Center, please visit online.

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