Science & Engineering Indicators - 1993

Overview. Science and Technology: Changes and Challenges

The U.S. science and technology (S&T) enterprise is key to our future. It is vital to our Nation's economic growth and productivity and makes invaluable contributions to our personal health and well-being. Against the backdrop of new political realities--the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and the resultant and concomitant changes in defense requirements--national investment in research and development (R&D) and education and training is particularly significant.

Further, the increased globalization of national economies underscores the need to analyze and understand current trends in both cooperation and competition in science and technology. Many nations have increased their scientific and technological capabilities, resulting in growing economic competition from abroad in technological products and services. Growing S&T investments in newly industrialized economies and the development of new regional blocks such as Europe, North America, and the Pacific Rim call for increased attention by policymakers to enhanced opportunities for--and challenges to--scientific and economic interaction.

This report describes U.S. science, engineering, and technology trends in a global context, and provides insights on how investments and priorities are changing over time. S&T human resources, in all their diversity, are essential to our economy and national security. Therefore, information on the science and engineering (S&E) pipeline--precollege education, higher education, and the S&E workforce--is presented. In a democracy such as our own, public attitudes and public understanding are of major importance and have an impact on decisions in both the private and public sectors. Therefore, the report presents information on science and technology in a societal context.

This overview section highlights some of the cross-cutting themes and findings detailed in the remainder of this report.