Science and Technology Globalization: Its Impact in the United States

Thursday June 24, 2004, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Introductory Remarks

Briefing Summary

Recent discussions and proposed legislation about globalization and outsourcing of jobs have again focused our attention to the competitiveness of the U.S. science and technology enterprise, which is a major driver of our economy in the 21st century. A front page article in The New York Times asking whether the U.S. is “losing its dominance in the sciences,” has led to a specific debate concerning facts and interpretations about our scientific status and its implications. This panel reviewed recent experiences and statistics on workforce needs, trade, security concerns, and other factors related to the competitive position of U.S. science and technology. Their discussion was on the policy options to assure a prosperous, secure future.

Briefing Sponsor

The Senate Science and Technology Caucus and the ACS Science & the Congress Project

Featured Speakers

Stephen Merrill moderating
Executive Director
Science, Technology and Economic Policy

The National Academies
Alan Rapoport
Senior Analyst
Division of Science Resource Statistics

National Science Foundation
Debra Wince-Smith
Council on Competitiveness
Thomas Howell
Dewey Ballantine LLP

Related Content

ACS Science & the Congress Program Tackles Globalization

ACS Capitol Connection

The ACS Science & the Congress program, in conjunction with the United States Senate’s Science & Technology Caucus, held a June 24 briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss the impact globalization is having on America’s competitive position in science & technology. The panel, moderated by Stephen Merrill, executive director of the National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP), included Alan Rapoport, senior analyst in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Science Resource Statistics; Thomas Howell, international trade lawyer (whose practice includes litigation pursuant to the U.S. trade remedies, support for international negotiations, and securing market access abroad); and Deborah Wince-Smith, president of the Council on Competitiveness based in Washington, D.C. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) gave opening remarks.

The panelists reviewed recent experiences; gave statistics on workforce needs, trade, and security concerns; and attempted to cut through the fog of the current debate regarding the benefits and liabilities of globalization. In addition, they addressed various policy options available to the U.S. government and looked at case studies of developmental models in the European Union and Asia.

Dr. Rapoport addressed issues of foreign-owned R&D in the U.S. vs. U.S.-owned R&D overseas and gave an overview of global science & engineering (S&E) and the number of foreign-born scientists and engineers in America’s S&E infrastructure. Mr. Howell presented a case study in foreign promotional microelectronics programs, in which he contended that the U.S. microelectronics sector is seen as a model from abroad. He said that foreign competitors are trying to achieve technological dominance, excellent university systems, and “ideal” government/university/industry working relationships like the U.S. Their goal is to become a general magnet for international talent. Howell further stated that foreign competitors are actively outlining strategic responses to our technological leadership in a bid to catch up, if not surpass, the U.S. in coming years. Ms. Wince-Smith reinforced the case that innovation remains the principal driver of U.S. productivity as well as leading to higher standards of living and job creation.