U.S. dominance in science and engineering at risk

We’ve been hammering away on this topic for a few years now.  The United States, through a combination of bad policy and a lack of strategic planning, is losing its enormous advantage in the key driver for technological innovation: Graduate Students in Engineering and Sciences.

A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research warned that changes in the global science and engineering job market may require a long period of adjustment for U.S. workers:

"The United States has had a substantial lead in science and technology since World War Two. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, it employs almost a third of science and engineering researchers, accounts for 40 percent of research and development spending and publishes 35 percent of science and engineering research papers.

Many of the world’s top high-tech firms are American, and government spending on defense-related technology ensures the U.S. military’s technological dominance on battlefields. But the roots of this lead may be eroding, Freeman said.

Numbers of science and engineering graduates from European and Asian universities are soaring while new degrees in the United States have stagnated — cutting its overall share.

In 2000, the paper said, 17 percent of university bachelor degrees in the U.S. were in science and engineering compared with a world average of 27 percent and 52 percent in China.

The picture among doctorates — key to advanced scientific research — was more striking. In 2001, universities in the European Union granted 40 percent more science and engineering doctorates than the United States, with that figure expected to reach nearly 100 percent by about 2010, the study showed."

Not a good thing . . .

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Source:
Does Globalization of the Scientific/Engineering Workforce Threaten U.S. Economic Leadership?
Richard B. Freeman
NBER Working Paper No. 11457, July 2005
http://www.nber.org/papers/w11457

U.S. losing lead in science and engineering-study
Reuters/MSNBC.com
Updated: 3:50 p.m. ET July 8, 2005
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8513553/

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