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American Academy of Arts and Sciences Releases New Report: Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream

Report Urges Sustained Federal Investments in Research and Offers Recommendations on Rejuvenating the American Dream

9/16/2014

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. | SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 – The American Academy of Arts & Sciences today released a new report offering recommendations for academia, government agencies, and the private sector to reset the course for the future of American leadership in science, engineering, and technology.

The report, Restoring the Foundation: the Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream, highlights troubling statistics and warns that America may soon lose its competitive edge in the global economy unless it changes course. Today, the United States ranks 10th place among OECD nations in overall R&D investment relative to economic growth, and China is projected to outspend the United States in R&D less than 10 years from now.

The report makes the case that scientific and technological advances – which are grounded in basic research – are fundamental to the prosperity, health, and security of the American people. Cochaired by American Academy Fellows Norman R. Augustine (Retired Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation) and Neal Lane (Malcolm Gillis University Professor, Rice University, and Senior Fellow in Science and Technology at Rice University’s Baker Institute), the report recommends actions to recapture American leadership in scientific and engineering research, including:
  • Securing America’s Leadership in Science and Engineering Research – Especially Basic Research – by Providing Sustainable Federal Funding and Setting Long-Term Investment Goals
    • Establish a sustainable real growth rate of at least 4% in the federal investment in basicresearch.
    • Adopt multiyear appropriations for agencies (or parts of agencies) that primarily support research and graduate STEM education.
  • Ensuring that the American People Receive the Maximum Benefit from Federal Investments in Research
    • Enhance the productivity of America’s researchers, particularly those based at universities, by adopting best practices, streamlining burdensome regulations and practices governing federally funded research, reducing researchers’ time spent writing and reviewing grant proposals, and fostering an appropriately sized and sustainable biomedical research workforce.
  • Regaining America’s Standing as an Innovation Leader by Establishing a More Robust National Government-University-Industry Research Partnership
    • Remove lingering barriers to university-industry research cooperation by helping universities reevaluate their technology transfer policies.
    • Urge corporate boards and chief executives to place a higher priority on funding research in universities and to work with university presidents and boards to develop new forms of partnership that can justify increased company investments in university research.
On September 16, 2014, Mr. Augustine and Dr. Lane will brief Congress on the Restoring the Foundation report at the Senate Visitors Center at 10:30 am. Dr. Lane testified this past July before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, led by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD). At the hearing, titled "The Federal Research Portfolio: Capitalizing on Investments in R&D,” Dr. Lane stressed the importance of federal investments in research, emphasizing that “new knowledge and technologies, which are the products of research, are the lifeblood of today’s accelerating high-tech, knowledge-based economy. If the U.S. is to remain a leader in this new economy, it will have to ensure that it has a … robust science and engineering research enterprise that matches the challenge.”

Mr. Augustine, a strong supporter and long-time champion of science and technology, has also heralded scientific research as an indispensable ingredient for the future of America and the American Dream. During his TedX talk at Utah State University last fall, he warned that “[the] American Dream can survive, but only if we have the willpower to make the changes I have described; to make America a place that continues to offer opportunity to all people.”

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Norman R. Augustine is the retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Chairman of the Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, which produced the landmark National Academies study Rising Above the Gathering Storm. He previously served as Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for sixteen years, and has been awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Neal Lane is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University, and a Senior Fellow for Science and Technology Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. He previously served in the Clinton administration as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from August 1998 to January 2001, and as Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and member (ex officio) of the National Science Board, from October 1993 to August 1998. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


About the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (www.amacad.org) is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on science and technology policy; global security and international affairs; institutions of democracy; the humanities and culture; and education. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its elected membership, consisting of over 5000 leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.

 

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