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Suggested Citation:"Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences. 2003. Envisioning a 21st Century Science and Engineering Workforce for the United States: Tasks for University, Industry, and Government. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10647.
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CONCLUSION

For the United States to remain competitive in a vibrant global innovative and research environment, it must have access to the best minds. Congress and the public need to understand that the nation’s pre-eminence rests on its technological strength which in turn depends entirely on its ability to attract, educate, recruit, and retain the best S&E workers. Assuring that the nation has the number and quality of scientists and engineers is a national imperative upon which the nation’s security and prosperity rests entirely.

In many nations, the central government takes an active part in developing the science and engineering workforce. In the past, the United States has done the same—to secure victory over the Axis powers of World War II, to assure dominance in the arms race of the Cold War, and after Sputnik to win the space race. However, for the last 25 years, the U.S. federal government has left S&E workforce issues entirely to the marketplace.

The time has come again for action. Because building a science and engineering workforce has a long lead time, it requires immediate attention and swift, coordinated action by government, university, and industry.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed within this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academies.

Suggested Citation:"Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences. 2003. Envisioning a 21st Century Science and Engineering Workforce for the United States: Tasks for University, Industry, and Government. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10647.
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Page 18
Envisioning a 21st Century Science and Engineering Workforce for the United States: Tasks for University, Industry, and Government Get This Book
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At the request of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, presents in this brief paper her views of the challenges of the 21st century for the science and engineering workforce. Dr. Jackson identifies factors that she believes are contributing to a declining science and engineering workforce, describes the risks and consequences of this decline, and proposes specific, short-term tasks for universities, industry, and the federal government to strengthen and revitalize the workforce.

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