Northern Illinois University today joined scores of other organizations including leaders of American industry, higher education, science and engineering in an urgent call to action for stronger federal policies and investment to drive domestic research and development. Ten CEOs and 252 organizations signed “Innovation: An American Imperative,” a document aimed at federal decision makers and legislators. It underscores the findings—and warnings—contained in The American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream.
According to Restoring the Foundation, “There is a deficit between what America is investing and what it should be investing to remain competitive, not only in research but in innovation and job creation.” The United States is failing to keep pace with competitor nations with regard to investments in basic research and development. America’s ascendency in the 20th century was due in large part—if not primarily—to its investments in science and engineering research. Basic research is behind every new product brought to market, every new medical device or drug, every new defense and space technology and many innovative business practices.
Over the last two decades, a steady decline in investment in research & development (R&D) in the United States has allowed our nation to fall to 10th place in R&D investment among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) nations as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).
At this pace, China will surpass the United States in R&D intensity in about eight years.
These developments led a diverse coalition of those concerned with the future of research in America to join together in presenting the Innovation Imperative to federal policy makers and urging them to take action to:
- End sequestration’s deep cuts to federal investments in R&D
- Make permanent a strengthened federal R&D tax credit
- Improve student achievement in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM)
- Reform U.S. visa policy
- Streamline or eliminate costly and inefficient regulations
- Reaffirm merit-based peer review
- Stimulate further improvements in advanced manufacturing
Details on these action items, as well as a full list of signatories, are included in the full document, which is also posted on the websites of each of the following organizations:
- American Academy of Arts & Sciences
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Association of American Universities
- Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
- Coalition for National Science Funding
- Coalition for National Security Research
- Council on Competitiveness
- Energy Sciences Coalition
- Task Force on American Innovation
- The Science Coalition