U.S. leadership over Science and Technology contested

Submitted by Caroline Guillet on 24 May 2019

The Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI), is a coalition of leading companies, university associations, and professional societies that support sustained and strong federal investment in scientific research. They aspire to maintain the US leading status regarding knowledge production and innovation, and often release statements and reports on this topic.

On 7th May, TFAI issued In Second Place America? Increasing Challenges to U.S. Scientific Leadership as reported by STTI, in which it benchmarked the U.S. and other nations regarding crucial sectors of economy such as R&D investment, knowledge production, education, workforce and high-tech. The report demonstrates efforts carried out by several other countries to increase funds allocated to their R&D and research policies. China is particularly surging ahead:

  • The country has surpassed the U.S. in total research publication output as of 2016 and is now the dominant research producer in key areas (engineering, physics, chemistry, geosciences, and mathematics)
  • China targets an increase in its research intensity up to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2020

In the path of China, South Korea plans to double its funding for basic science by 2022, while the European Union remains leader in the total number of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering awarded since 2000.

If the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology, the TFIA’s report holds that investments in scientific research and human capital are necessary to drive the U.S. economy forward and to fuel American innovation.

Assessing this leading status, essential for the country’s security and future economic growth and prosperity, authors urge federal government to reflect upon a renewed national commitment to invest in key actors of innovation and research. TFIA targets notably NSF, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, NASA or the National Institute of Standards and Technology as key federal science agencies that could bring the U.S. back to a clear-cut leading position.

The full report is available here


Third Country
United States of America
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