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News Release 10-027

National Science Board Urges Action to Sustain U.S. Leadership in Science and Engineering Research

Board releases companion piece to Science and Engineering Indicators 2010 which outlines recommendations for growing world S&E capacity, and an interactive tool, enabling state data comparison

Cover design for the NSB's companion piece which is based on two images of turbulence.

The cover design for the NSB's companion piece is based on two images of turbulence.

February 19, 2010

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Board (NSB) released the policy-oriented companion piece to its biennial publication, Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI). SEI 2010 was delivered to the President and to Congress and disseminated broadly on Jan. 15.

Carrying out its congressional mandate to oversee the collection of a very broad set of quantitative information about the U.S. science, engineering and technology enterprise, the NSB publishes the data and trends every two years in the SEI. When the data reveal trends that raise important policy concerns the NSB believes should be brought to the attention of the President, Congress and the public, it develops and shares a "companion" policy statement to the SEI.

In its companion piece to SEI 2010, "Globalization of Science and Engineering Research," NSB Chairman Steven Beering writes, "While increased global science and engineering (S&E) research capacity holds great promise for the advancement of scientific knowledge and collaboration in S&E across international borders, the U.S. government must be attentive to developments in S&E capacity around the world and take proactive steps to maintain our nation's competitive strength."

To that end, the NSB recommends the following federal action:

  • NSF should assess its two merit review criteria for funding of S&E research to ensure that the criteria encourage the support of truly transformative research, and should modify the criteria and/or merit review process if necessary.
  • The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President, through the Science and Technology Council mechanism, should engage all federal agencies involved with S&E research to (a) develop means to assess or continue to assess the quality of their agency's supported research against international activities; and (b) identify and as appropriate make adjustments to ensure that their agency's research is world-leading.
  • OSTP should call for a President's Council on Innovation and Competitiveness as described in the America COMPETES Act, addressing issues such as (a) relationships between U.S. and foreign-supported research and development (R&D) to ensure continued vitality and growth of U.S. technical strength, (b) safeguarding national interest in intellectual property, (c) ensuring that the U.S. economy benefits from R&D supported abroad, and (d) assessing critical research areas for which the U.S. should be the global R&D leader.

In the presentation of "Globalization of Science and Engineering Research," Beering was joined by NSF Director Arden Bement, NSB SEI Committee Chairman Lou Lanzerotti and SEI Committee Member Jose-Marie Griffiths. The NSB's companion piece, as well as other SEI materials, including an interactive state data comparison tool, may be found at

Journalists may contact Lisa-Joy Zgorski to schedule interviews with presenters, Board members and other NSF officials.

The NSB is the 25-member policymaking body for the National Science Foundation and advisory body to the President and Congress on science and engineering issues. Drawn from universities and industry, and representing a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas, NSB members are selected for their eminence in research, education, or public policy, and records of distinguished service. The NSB has 24 members that serve six-year terms. The 25th member is the NSF Director, an ex officio member of the NSB. For more background on the NSB and its current composition, visit:


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, email:

Program Contacts
Jean Pomeroy, NSF, (703) 292-4519, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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