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News from the National Academies
Date: July 14, 1999
Contacts: Barbara J. Rice, Deputy Director
Jennifer Cavendish, Media Relations Assistant
(202) 334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

[ EMBARGOED: NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE 10:30 A.M. EDT WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 ]

Publication Announcement

More Partnerships with Industry and
Government Can Sustain U.S. Economic Growth

The nation's ability to convert science and technology into new products, jobs, and profits is fueled by a strong research and development base and an economic climate that favors the growth of companies. Yet serious deficiencies in pre-college education -- and wavering support for basic research -- may erode this ability and the prospects of better lives for U.S. citizens. A new report from a National Research Council committee identifies goals and actions to guide the science and engineering community and government policy-makers in meeting the nation's future economic needs:

Achieve a level of productivity growth that will allow a rising standard of living and noninflationary economic expansion. Since 1996, productivity growth has averaged about 2 percent per year. The nation should strive to maintain this level of growth over the next decade, the report says. Federal investment in science and technology is still a vital ingredient for growth, and the committee endorses bipartisan efforts to boost research funding. It also recommends using tax credits and other incentives to increase industry's support of research conducted at universities from 7 percent to 20 percent over the next 10 years. In addition, federal, state, and local governments should set up matching grant programs to promote more research partnerships with industry and universities.

Increase the number of people prepared for scientific and engineering careers, focusing on underrepresented groups. Today more than half of U.S. engineering doctorates are awarded to foreign students. Increasing the number of U.S. students in science and engineering will require significant improvements in science education at the pre-college level as well as greater efforts to attract minorities and women to the engineering work force. Scientists and engineers should continue to work with states and communities to set K-12 education standards, promote best practices for teaching and learning, and increase science and technology literacy. Information technologies can play an important role in promoting lifelong learning. The committee also said that companies and people who have benefited from the high-technology boom should invest their time and money into programs to improve teaching in urban and rural schools

Improve the domestic and international market environment for U.S. innovation so the nation can prosper in a global economy. National standards to limit frivolous lawsuits in product liability and securities fraud should be adopted. Policy-makers should continue to focus on trade, antitrust, and intellectual property policies that can open global markets for U.S. products and services.

The Carnegie Corp. of New York funded the report. It conveys the findings of the second forum in a series supported jointly by the Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Research Council and the Carnegie Corp. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, nonprofit institution that provides independent advice on science and technology issues under a congressional charter. A committee roster follows.

Read the full text of Harnessing Science and Technology for America's Economic Future: National and Regional Prioritiesfor free on the Web, as well as more than 1,800 other publications from the National Academies. Printed copies are available for purchase from the National Academy Press Web site or at the mailing address in the letterhead; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain a pre-publication copy from the Office of News and Public Information at the letterhead address (contacts listed above).


NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Policy Division
Office of Special Projects
Committee on Harnessing Science and Technology for America's Economic Future

William J. Spencer1 (co-chair)
Chairman
SEMATECH
Austin, Texas

Dick Thornburgh (co-chair)
Counsel
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP
Washington, D.C.

Dennis W. Archer
Mayor
City of Detroit
Detroit

Richard C. Atkinson2
President
University of California System
Oakland

Dorothy Baunach
Deputy Director
Cleveland Tomorrow
Cleveland

Charles M. Geschke1
President
Adobe Systems
San Jose, Calif.

Mary L. Good1
Managing Member
Venture Capital Investors LLC
Little Rock, Ark.

Phillip A. Griffiths2
Director
Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, N.J.

Harold Shapiro3
President
Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

John F. Shoch
General Partner
Asset Management Associates
Palo Alto, Calif.

H. Guyford Stever1,2
President Emeritus
Carnegie Mellon University
Gaithersburg, Md.

RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF

Deborah Stine
Director, Office of Special Projects

Thomas Arrison
Study Director


1 Member, National Academy of Engineering
2 Member, National Academy of Sciences
3 Member, Institute of Medicine