The United States in a Changing World: "As
the 21st century begins, the United States occupies a position of
strength in the support and conduct of research and development (R&D).
U.S. R&D expenditures equal the combined total expenditures of
Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy. U.S.
scientists and engineers produce nearly one-third of the articles
published in the world's most influential technical journals.... The
Federal government has fostered a broad base of research activity,
especially in academia, where Federal funds represent about 60 percent
of total R&D spending.... Although overall inflation-adjusted
Federal R&D funding declined by about 9 percent during the 1990s,
it increased by 42 percent for academic R&D - a rise driven largely
by increases in the life sciences... During the same period, however,
funding for the physical sciences and engineering slowed, a development
which has sparked critical commentary by many in the scientific and
science policy communities."
U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education: "Long-standing
concerns about the overall quality of the system, and of mathematics
and science education in particular, have prompted various reform
efforts.... In international comparisons, these reforms have yet to
fully demonstrate their intended results.... U.S. students in the
early grades tend to do well in cross-national comparisons of mathematics
and science achievement. However, toward the end of high school, U.S.
students tend to fall below international averages and to rank substantially
below students in a number of other countries."
U.S. Higher Education: "In the 1990s,
about 35 percent of the bachelor's degrees, 30 percent of the master's
degrees, and more than 60 percent of the doctorates were awarded in
S&E fields.... The number of doctorates awarded in S&E rose
rapidly after the mid-1980s, but little growth was seen in the number
of doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens.... Virtually all growth of
doctorates earned by U.S. citizens reflected degrees earned by white
women and minority students of both sexes."
Status of U.S. Workforce: "In the late
1990s, the active U.S. S&E workforce numbered about 11 million
out of a civilian labor force of about 140 million.... Industry, the
largest job source for scientists and engineers, employs 75 percent
of those with S&E bachelor's degrees, more than 60 percent of
master's degree holders, but less than one-third of those with doctorates.
Overall, the academic sector has been the second largest employer
of scientists and engineers but the largest employer of S&E doctorate-holders."
Foreign-born Scientists and Engineers in the U.S. Workforce:
"The percentage of foreign-born individuals among U.S. scientists
and engineers is growing at all degree levels, in all sectors, and
in most fields. By the end of the decade, one in four S&E doctorate-holders
had been born abroad." A separate section of the overview notes,
"If other countries and regions build up their indigenous S&T
capabilities, they may diminish the relative attractiveness of the
United States as a destination country.... The large unknown factor
is the action of multinational firms.... Many of these firms maintain
R&D, technical, and design centers worldwide, drawing on local
strengths but also allowing highly trained personnel to rotate to
other parts of the world. These activities mean that technological
know-how is being transferred around the globe and will become part
of other nations' economic development strategies."
Indicators of U.S. Competitiveness: "Many
decades of support for basic research have provided the basis for
past and current innovations that generate economic benefits.... By
the end of the century, the United States remained the leading producer
of high-technology products, providing more than one-third of the
world's output.... U.S.-based pharmaceuticals, computer, and communications
equipment industries gained in world market share over the decade;
only the aerospace industry lost market share."
U.S. Industrial R&D: Manufacturing and Service
Sectors: "Since the early 1980s, R&D spending in
the United States has consistently accounted for 2.3-2.8 percent of
the gross domestic product (GDP). In the latter half of the 1990s,
R&D growth has been particularly strong, rising faster than total
economic output and reaching a 2.7 percent share of GDP; pushed upward
primarily by a rise in industry-funded R&D.... After adjusting
for inflation, Federal R&D funding has actually declined since
the second half of the 1980s and was essentially flat during the past
Expanding R&D Activities Around the World:
"[B]road international expansion is reflected in a gradual decline
of the U.S. share of total R&D performed by member countries of
the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)....
Nevertheless, at 44 percent of the estimated $518 billion 1998 OECD
total, the United States remains by far the largest single performer
of R&D." The overview later adds, "The expansion of
R&D efforts in many countries is taking place against the backdrop
of growing international collaboration in the conduct of R&D....
A rising share of the world's scientific and technical publications
have coauthors who are located in different countries."
National and International Research Alliances:
"Key economic sectors have learned to exploit R&D advances
rapidly, which has shortened product cycle times and increased market
risk. The underlying research is increasingly multidisciplinary....
Firms and research performers have responded to these developments
by outsourcing R&D and by forming collaborations and alliances
to share R&D costs, spread market risk, and obtain access to needed
information and know-how. Alliances, cross-licensing of intellectual
property, mergers and acquisitions, and other tools have transformed
industrial R&D and innovation."