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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Research in Asia heats up

Jan 24, 2012

Source: NSF

It is a mantra that plays readily to US competitive fears: Asia, led by China, is on track to displace the United States as the world’s science and technology powerhouse. That message is loud and clear in the 2012 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators, a nearly 600-page snapshot of the state of global research that looks at education, academic infrastructure, the knowledge-based workforce and international markets. Yet some policy experts say that the trends reveal opportunities for partnerships that could benefit the United States.

“Our country needs to worry about science and innovation when so much is being done out of the country. Long-term, this might be harmful to our competitiveness,” says Ray Bowen, chairman of the US National Science Board, which produced the report and oversees one of the US government’s main research funding agencies, the National Science Foundation (NSF). The report, released on 17 January, finds that by 2009, the combined research and development (R&D) investment from a group of ten Asian economies including China and India, had caught up with that of the United States (see ‘Rising influence’). “One hopes that the new data will help to reinforce the message that the US government (as well as industry) needs to keep R&D investments at the top of its priorities, despite current fiscal constraints,” says Claude Canizares, vice-president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
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