Innovation is built upon investments and advances in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Developments in these fields ultimately lead to new marketable products and enabling technologies, new jobs, and economic expansion. A trained workforce with strong math and science skills is critical to this process.
The Council on Competitiveness report, Innovate America, highlights three requirements for a healthy economy: 1) a talented workforce, 2) investment in research and development (R&D) and long-term innovation strategies, and 3) infrastructure support and maintenance. A renewed commitment to science and technology support by the federal government is crucial to sustainable innovation.
Innovation doesn’t happen overnight; it is fostered by a sustained commitment to every step of the R&D process. The United States’ heretofore unmatched ability and capacity to innovate—to create new products, processes, markets, and industries that change the world—is built on
We are at a critical point in history. If the United States is to remain a recognized economic and innovation leader in the rapidly changing global economy, swift and decisive action must be taken to ensure predictable and sustained support for R&D, STEM education, and policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. A sound, strong, and forward-looking innovation strategy is crucial to ensure long-term economic growth.
The National Academies report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, predicted many current problems, including the challenge of U.S. leadership in global science and technology, the movement of companies abroad, and the loss of human capital that would result from a lack of stable and significant investment in innovation, research, and education. The American Chemical Society supports this report’s action plan.
Future innovation requires a substantial, sustained investment in STEM education, as recently recommended by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.1 This includes a commitment to long-term R&D as well as programs to assure that research leads to new products and jobs in the United States. While we face many immediate issues and must make tough decisions, it is critical to remember that long-term investment in innovation is the path to a brighter economic future.
The American Chemical Society asks policymakers to develop a strategy that allows our nation to remain a global leader in innovation and competitiveness through the following strategies:
Development and Support of a World-Class Workforce
Predictable and Sustained Commitments to Research and Technology Development
Development of a Sustainable Infrastructure for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Science and technology make the United States strong by creating millions of high-skill, high-wage jobs and enhancing the American quality of life. The strategies listed above will help ensure that these benefits continue into the future and that our nation will remain the world’s recognized economic and innovation leader.
1 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, February 2012.