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NSF Congressional Highlight

NSF Economist Speaks on Science & Technology Globalization Trends at Senate S&T Caucus Briefing

June 24, 2004

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National Science Foundation (NSF) Resource Analyst, Dr. Alan Rapoport, presented a series of significant science and technology (S&T) indicators at a Senate Science and Technology Caucus and American Chemical Society (ACS) briefing today. Entitled, "Science and Technology Globalization: Its Impact in the United States," the briefing explored US S&T competitiveness, research and development (R&D) investments, and workforce trends. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), representing the bi-partisan caucus, opened the briefing. Both emphasized the importance of the U.S. S&T enterprise to our nation's 21st century economy as well as the significance of monitoring important trends and policies ensuring global dominance in this area.

Rapoport kicked off the guest expert panel presenting significant data trends pulled from the National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Indicators 2004, a biennial report transmitted to the President and Congress. He highlighted data centering global R&D indicators including global investment patterns, scientific patent and publication output, graduate rates of scientists and engineers, and other factors related to the competitive position of U.S. S&T.

"U.S. growth in gross domestic R&D expenditures is stronger than that of many major industrialized nations," said Rapoport. He noted growing competition from China in this area, however. Rapoport also highlighted the increased propensity of U.S. companies to participate in technology outsourcing and global alliances. He also pointed to the numbers of U.S. patents filed, U.S.-authored scientific articles, U.S. undergraduate students completing science degrees, and visas issued to foreign students and exchange visitors as important benchmarks to monitor U.S. competitiveness against several other countries.

Rapoport was joined by Thomas Howell, partner at Dewey Ballantine LLP; Stephen Merrill, executive director of the National Academies' Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy; and Deborah Wince-Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness. The expert panel collectively reviewed recent trends significant to our nation's scientific status and their potential implications.

The event, sponsored by the American Chemical Society, was part of its "Science & the Congress Project," aimed to increase the level of awareness and knowledge in Congress about S&T and related policy issues. This joint effort of the Senate S&T Caucus and the ACS provided a platform for stakeholders to share interests and philosophies regarding U.S. S&T trends and investments.

Dr. Rapoport's presentation was entitled, "Indicators of Globalization: Funding, Outputs, and People." The data from his presentation is available on-line via Science and Engineering Indicators 2004.

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