More than half of Americans say they would support a federal research program that pays professors and research assistants to teach students about a particular subject.
A new report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) found that more than two-thirds of Americans support the concept.
“The findings show the growing appetite for public-private partnerships to foster a more rigorous research agenda and expand the academy’s research offerings,” said David A. Gazzaniga, president and chief executive officer of the AAAS.
The report, “A New Wave of Public-Private Partnership,” is part of the association’s “Billion-Dollar Future” project.
It surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults in mid-July and is expected to be released in early 2019.
The researchers asked about a variety of topics related to education, health, technology and the environment.
The most popular answer was that the idea is important.
Seventy-eight percent of Americans said they think it is a good idea, according to the survey.
Among respondents who said they were likely to vote in the 2020 presidential election, 60 percent said they would approve a $1 billion program that would pay a group of public-policy professors to teach more students about their topic.
The survey also asked about research grants, and those who said that they were either very or somewhat likely to donate a certain amount to a research project were more likely to support the idea.
“If a researcher is able to earn a substantial salary for doing a great job, they may feel that it is worth it to give up some of their income for this project,” said Gazzeniga.
The public-interest groups backing the proposal also have an incentive to make it happen, as the federal government already funds about half of the total cost of research and is likely to keep funding the majority of the costs through 2027.
The proposal would likely be approved by Congress in 2020.