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1/19/2010
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Government Finds U.S. Slipping In Tech Dominance

The U.S. lead in science, engineering, and technology is slipping as Asia's capabilities rise, report says.

American dominance in science and engineering continues to decline, a prestigious government advisory board said in a biennial report card on U.S. science, engineering, and technology released at a White House event on Friday.

The National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators report found that the decline of American dominance comes largely at the hands of rapidly developing science and technology capabilities in Asia, especially driven by the rise of China as a world power.

"Science and technology are no longer the province of developed nations," the report says. "They have, in a sense, become 'democratized.' Governments of many countries have firmly built S&T aspects into their development policies as they vie to make their economies more knowledge- and technology-intensive and ensure their competitiveness in a globalizing world."

The report notes that while research and development spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product has remained relatively steady in the United States in recent years, Asian spending has seen a significant uptick during the last decade in terms of both percentage of GDP and real spending.

For example, while annual absolute spending growth in the United States over the last decade has averaged about 5 to 6%, growth in Asia in general has been more like 9 to 10%, reaching 20% in China. These increases come both from increased government attention to science and technology in Asia as well as increased overseas research and development spending by multinational corporations, according to the report.

American dominance in research output also continues to slip. The combined share of published articles in scholarly journals by Americans and Europeans declined from 69% in 1995 to 59% in 2008, and citations to U.S. articles dropped by 9% between 1992 and 2007.

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