Thursday, October 13, 2005

Scientific Establishment to the US: Shape Up!

In today's NYTimes:

A panel of experts convened by the National Academies, the nation's leading science advisory group, called yesterday for an urgent and wide-ranging effort to strengthen scientific competitiveness.

The 20-member panel, reporting at the request of a bipartisan group in Congress, said that without such an effort the United States "could soon loose its privileged position." It cited many examples of emerging scientific and industrial power abroad and listed 20 steps the United States should take to maintain its global lead.

"Decisive action is needed now," the report warned, adding that the nation's old advantages "are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength."

As I've said before - in the realm of science education, the US has to shape up!

We need more and BETTER science and math teachers in the high schools if we want to increase science literacy. But that's not all, the US has to support basic research (something that's been going downhill recently).

Some recommendations (as stated in the NYTimes article):

¶An Advanced Research Projects Agency modeled after the military's should be established in the Energy Department to sponsor novel research to meet the nation's long-term energy challenges.

¶The nation's most outstanding early-career researchers should annually receive 200 new research grants - worth $500,000 each, and payable over five years.

¶International students in the United States who receive doctorates in science, technology, engineering or math should get automatic one-year visa extensions that allow them to seek employment here. If these students get job offers and pass a security screening test, they should automatically get work permits and expedited residence status. If they cannot get a job, their visas should expire.

¶The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, scheduled to expire in December, should be made permanent and expanded. It goes to companies that increase their spending on research and development above a certain level.

To encourage private investment in innovation, the panel said, the credit should increase from 20 percent to 40 percent of qualifying investments.

Follow this link to read the original press release from the National Academies.