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Benchmark report reveals threats to US science, tech leadership

May 16, 2019

While the U.S. continues to lead the world in science, technology and innovation, other nations are on track to catch and surpass the lead the country currently holds, according to a new report from the Task Force on American Innovation (TFIA). In Second Place America? Increasing Challenges to U.S. Scientific Leadership, TFIA, a non-partisan alliance of leading American companies and business associations, research university associations, and scientific societies, benchmarks the U.S. against other nations in R&D investment, knowledge production, education, workforce and high-tech sectors of the economy. The report holds that to maintain a global leadership status, which it calls critical to national security and future economic growth and prosperity, a renewed national commitment to invest in key federal science agencies such as NSF, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology is necessary.

The authors demonstrate that the U.S. share of global R&D is diminishing while other nations, and China in particular, surge ahead. The report lays out international R&D investment targets and strategies for several nations, noting efforts like Korea who plans to double its funding for basic science by 2022 and China’s research intensity target of 2.5 percent of GDP by 2020. The report also notes that China has overtaken the U.S. in total research publication output as of 2016 and is now the dominant research producer in key areas including engineering, physics, chemistry, geosciences, and mathematics. The U.S. trails both China and the European Union in the total number of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering awarded since 2000.

The TFIA calls for strong and sustained commitments to increasing federal investments in scientific research and human capital that drives the U.S. economy forward and fuels American innovation. The full report is available here

benchmarking report, science, technology, innovation