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Vannevar Bush, Science The Endless Frontier (A Report to the President) (July 1945) (full-text).
This Report recommended that the federal government accept new responsibilities for promoting the flow of new scientific knowledge and the development of scientific talent in youth. These responsibilities are the proper concern of the government, for they vitally affect health, jobs, and national security. It is in keeping also with basic United States policy that the government should foster the opening of new frontiers and this is the modern way to do it. For many years the government has wisely supported research in the agricultural colleges and the benefits have been great. The time has come when such support should be extended to other fields.
The effective discharge of these new responsibilities will require the full attention of some over-all agency devoted to that purpose. There is not now in the permanent governmental structure receiving its funds from Congress an agency adapted to supplementing the support of basic research in the colleges, universities, and research institutes, both in medicine and the natural sciences, adapted to supporting research on new weapons for both Services, or adapted to administering a program of science scholarships and fellowships.
The report recommended that a new agency for these purposes be established. Such an agency should be composed of persons of broad interest and experience, having an understanding of the peculiarities of scientific research and scientific education. It should have stability of funds so that long-range programs may be undertaken. It should recognize that freedom of inquiry must be preserved and should leave internal control of policy, personnel, and the method and scope of research to the institutions in which it is carried on. It should be fully responsible to the President and through him to the Congress for its program.