US technology lead dwindles

US technology lead dwindles

US technology lead dwindles

The US remains global leader in supporting science and technology (S&T) research and development, but could soon be overtaken by rapidly rising Asian countries like India and China, a latest report by an American body said.

"This information clearly shows we must re-examine long-held assumptions about the global dominance of the American science and technology enterprise," said National Science Foundation (NSF) Director, Subra Suresh, after release of Science and Engineering Indicators 2012.

"And we must take seriously new strategies for education, workforce development and innovation in order for the United States to retain its international leadership position," said Suresh, one of the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama Administration.
Suresh oversees NSF's USD 7 billion dollar budget, which is awarded to the federal agency by Congress and funds basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering, including some 15 per cent of federally supported basic research conducted at America's colleges and universities.

According to the new Indicators 2012, the largest global S&T gains occurred in the so-called "Asia-10"--China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand--as those countries integrate S&T into economic growth.

Between 1999 and 2009, for example, the US share of global research and development (R&D) dropped from 38 per cent to 31 per cent, whereas it grew from 24 per cent to 35 per cent in the Asia region during the same time, the report said.

In China alone, R&D growth increased a stunning 28 per cent in a single year (2008-2009), propelling it past Japan and into second place behind the United States, it said.

"Over the last decade, the world has changed dramatically," said José-Marie Griffiths, chair of the National Science Board committee that oversees production of the report.
"It's now a world with very different actors who have made advancement in science and technology a top priority. And many of the troubling trends we're seeing are now very well established," Griffiths said.