The Perils of Complacency


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New Models for U.S. Science and Technology Policy

The American Academy’s 2014 report Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream was produced by an expert committee chaired by Norman R. Augustine (Lockheed Martin Corporation, retired) and Neal Lane (Rice University). The committee and the project staff, working with a large range of partner organizations, devoted countless hours over the ensuing years to ensuring that the report’s recommendations were discussed thoroughly with U.S. policy-makers and science and engineering leaders. While those efforts were productive, much remains to be done, and the world has changed markedly in ways that have profound implications for U.S. leadership in science, technology, and innovation.

The Academy is pleased to offer this five-year update to Restoring the Foundation that highlights significant developments, many of which were foreshadowed in the original report, and emphasizes actions that remain in urgent need of attention from U.S. policy leaders. I am grateful to the Restoring the Foundation committee, especially to Norm Augustine and Neal Lane, for their dedication to producing an informative and forceful document, as well as to the Academy staff members who worked on the report: John Randell, the John E. Bryson Director of Science, Engineering, and Technology Programs, and Amanda Vernon, Program Officer and Hellman Fellow in Science and Technology Policy.

This report has also benefited from substantial data collection and analysis by scholars from the Science and Technology Program at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, particularly Kirstin Matthews and Kenneth Evans. The American Academy and the Restoring the Foundation committee are grateful for the many hours that they devoted to compiling the data that underpin the arguments in the following pages. We offer our deep appreciation to the Kavli Foundation for helping to fund this report. Finally, we would like to thank Louise and John E. Bryson for their generous support of our Science, Engineering, and Technology programs; John also served on the Committee on New Models for U.S. Science & Technology Policy that gave rise to the Restoring the Foundation report.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which began to unfold as this report neared its publication, has only underscored our vital need for a robust and innovative American scientific enterprise. I join with all the contributors to this report in urging that those arguments be given full consideration by America’s leaders.

David W. Oxtoby
President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences