Second Place America? Increasing Challenges to U.S. Scientific Leadership

7 January 2020 Heather Dailey Author avatar
Task Force on American Innovation REPORT COMMITTEE Tobin Smith, Co-Chair Association of American Universities Brian Mosley, Co-Chair Computing Research Association Kimberlee Eberle-Sudré Association of American Universities Matt Hourihan American Association for the Advancement of Science David Parkes American Association for the Advancement of Science Sarah Rovito Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Amy Scott Association of American Universities Samiksha Shetty Association of American Universities Katie Steen Association of American Universities May 2019 Reference: The United States has a rich history of global leadership in science and technology.  Much of this success is due to the unique partnership between the federal government, universities, and private industry. However, America’s competitive edge is now at stake, as China and other countries are rapidly increasing investments in research and workforce development in order to assume positions of global leadership. Maintaining America’s global leadership status is critical to national security as well as to future economic growth and prosperity.  But there is an indication of a lack of federal commitment to scientific research programs at agencies, such as the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST). This lack of commitment could lead to decreased economic competitiveness as well as negative impacts on our domestic workforce and industries. In order to sustain global leadership, the U.S. needs to capitalize on its tremendous assets and make technological pre-eminence a national priority. This can be achieved through the development and execution of a competitive strategy that includes increased funding for scientific research and human capital development, targeting investments in new programs to grow, attract, and retain domestic and international STEM talent.

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