– Research in the social sciences and humanities has allowed us to better understand other cultures we may be allied or in conflict with so we can adapt strategies to improve diplomatic and military outcomes. Research in the cognitive sciences and on computerized language techniques has improved intelligence analysis and improved threat detection.

•  Civic life:

  – Research in engineering and the information sciences has led to the development of computing technologies that permit the analysis of large and complex bodies of data and elegant communication of findings from such analyses.

  – The behavioral and social sciences have provided tools—social surveys, censuses, and administrative record systems and the methods for analyzing them—that inform governments, businesses, and the general public about the state of our nation and about political, social, and economic processes.

As the National Governors Association notes, “colleges and universities play a critical role in state economies through the production of workers in critical occupations, the conduct of research, and the dissemination and commercialization of new knowledge.”2 These institutions have a global impact as well as their research which translates into new knowledge and innovative technologies plays a strong role in addressing global grand challenges that affect all of humankind (see Box 2-1). University basic research and education are investments for the long term that ensure we will have new ideas not just for today but also for driving change that will improve the lives of our children and grandchildren.


Our assets strongly position the United States to accomplish its goals and lead the world in the 21st century. These assets include the following:

•  A large country geographically, with substantial natural resources and a large, barrier-free internal market.

•  A political culture characterized by freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

•  An economic culture that rewards entrepreneurship, openness to change, and a willingness to take and reward risk.


2 National Governors Association, Higher Education’s Contribution to Economic Growth Strategies. Available at: http://www.nga.org/cms/home/nga-center-for-best-practices/center-issues/page-ehsw-issues/col2-content/main-content-list/higher-educations-contribution-t.html (accessed September 16, 2011).

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