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.
The National Science Board is a group of 25 Presidential appointees that advises the President, Congress and the National Science Foundation on issues related to science, engineering and technology research, education and development. Members include prominent academics in science, engineering and technology.

Meanwhile, the report found, the developing world continues to close the gap on the United States on science, technology, engineering and math education. For example, despite having less than two thirds the population of the United States, Japan and South Korea combined saw the same number of university graduates in science and engineering in 2006 as did the United States.

In terms of business, U.S. companies continue to lead the way in high-technology manufacturing and services, providing about 30% of the global output in these fields in 2007. However, the data found a growing concentration of manufacturing in Asia, especially in computers. This is especially the case in China, which has seen its share of worldwide high-tech exports increase from 6% in 1995 to 20% in 2008.

John Holdren, director of the White House's office of science and technology policy, said that he would use the report's findings as a foundation for policy-making. Holdren's office develops science, technology and engineering policy and budget guidance for government research and development.

Already, the Obama administration has taken action in response to some of the data included in the report. For example, on the heels of findings that American 15-year-olds are losing ground in science and math education, the President recently announced a new campaign, Educate to Innovate, that will invest more than $250 million in public and private money to attract and retain good science, technology, engineering and math teachers.

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Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer