policies. Scientists and engineers1 are important to meeting the nation’s needs, as was emphasized in the landmark 2007 report from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future:

Since the Industrial Revolution, the growth of economies throughout the world has been driven largely by the pursuit of scientific understanding, the application of engineering solutions, and continual technological innovation. Today, much of everyday life in the United States and other industrialized nations, as evidenced in transportation, communication, agriculture, education, health, defense, and jobs, is the product of investments in research and in the education of scientists and engineers.2

The relationship between science and technology, on the one hand, and the ability of the nation to meet economic and social goals on the other hand, is now clear from the American experience and that of other high-achievement countries. This is reinforced not only by reports of the National Academies, but also through the valuable work of other organizations such as the Council on Competitiveness.3

For example, a central theme in all of these analyses is the key role of strengthening education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Upgrading the STEM skills of our young people at all levels (K-12, undergraduate, and graduate)


When this report refers to scientists and engineers or to the S&T community, the entire range of fields that bring evidence-based knowledge and decision making to public debate and decision making is included: from astronomy to zoology, from mathematics to medicine, from industry and to academia, and irrespective of the terminal degree obtained.


National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Engineering/Institute of Medicine. Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, 2007, p. 41.


See, for instance, the Council on Competiveness report in 2005: “Innovate America,” available at http://www.compete.org/publications/detail/202/innovate-america/.

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