AsianScientist (Jan. 17, 2012) – The United States remains the global leader in supporting science and technology (S&T), but only by a slim margin that could soon be overtaken by rapidly increasing Asian investments in knowledge-intensive economies.
So suggest trends released in a new report by the National Science Board (NSB), the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation (NSF), on the overall status of the science, engineering and technology workforce, education efforts and economic activity in the United States and abroad.
“This information clearly shows we must re-examine long-held assumptions about the global dominance of the American science and technology enterprise,” said NSF Director Subra Suresh of the findings in the Science and Engineering Indicators 2012 released today.
According to the new Indicators 2012, the largest global S&T gains occurred in the so-called “Asia-10” – China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand – as those countries integrate S&T into economic growth.
Between 1999 and 2009, for example, the U.S. share of global R&D dropped from 38 to 31 percent, whereas Asia’s share grew from 24 to 35 percent during the same time.
In China alone, R&D growth increased a stunning 28 percent in a single year (2008-2009), propelling it past Japan and into second place behind the United States.
“Over the last decade, the world has changed dramatically,” said José-Marie Griffiths, chair of the NSB committee that oversees production of the report.
“It’s now a world with very different actors who have made advancement in science and technology a top priority. And many of the troubling trends we’re seeing are now very well established.”
In June 2011, citing a growing challenge from job-hungry students in India and China, U.S. President Barack Obama urged more Americans to study science, maths, and engineering to keep the “jobs of tomorrow” in America.
“Today only 14 percent of all undergraduate students enroll in what we call the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and math, so these are the jobs of the future. These are the jobs that China and India are cranking out,” he said.
“Those students are hungry because they understand if they get those skills they can find a good job, they can create companies, they can create businesses, create wealth. And we’re falling behind in the very fields we know are going to be our future,” Obama added.
NSF has launched a number of new initiatives designed to foster international collaborations, such as the Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) which has collaborators based in India, Brazil, France, Germany, Israel, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
Source: National Science Foundation.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.