U.S. Dominance in Science at Risk, Report Says

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Every two years, the National Science Board analyzes the health of the United States science and technology enterprise. In addition to measuring a variety of economic indicators, the board examines the effectiveness of science and math education at all levels, from K-12 to adults. This report is an important tool for policymakers and the public alike because of state-based, national, and international scope. 

The news for 2008 is mixed. While the US still maintains a strong economic advantage versus other countries, this lead is weakening. In 2002 the US trade balance in advanced technology products shifted from surplus to deficit. Our economy is increasingly becoming reliant on foreign workers, particularly those from southeast Asia, where economic growth is robust. 

Federal investment in academic research is expected to decline for the third year in a row, the first time this has happened since 1982. 

On the education front, the US continues to lag behind other countries in science and math education. Education is obviously an important element of a country's ability to sustain a robust science and technology enterprise. 

On the good side, a 2006 study revealed that nearly 90% of Americans support government funding for research. In fact 41% of those polled feel the government does not spend enough on basic research. 

A very user-friendly version of the report can be found here: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/digest08/nsb0802.pdf

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