On 11 July 2008, the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science issued, “Science Professionals: Master’s Education for a Competitive World.” Chairing the Committee on Enhancing the Master’s Degree in the Natural Sciences, the committee responsible for the report, was American Institute of Biological Sciences President Dr. Rita R. Colwell. "Industry, government, and nonprofits need employees who have deep scientific knowledge as well as skills to apply that knowledge in innovative ways," said Colwell.

The report urges state and federal governments, universities, and industry to work together toward the development of professional master's degree programs in the natural sciences in order to meet the growing demand from industry, government, and non-profits for individuals who can manage science-based programs and spur innovation. The report illustrates how master’s educated science professionals can contribute to U.S. competitiveness by building a workforce with an interdisciplinary training in science, management, economics, and communication skills. The America COMPETES Act, P.L. 110-069, authorized a new grant program at the National Science Foundation to help universities create or expand professional science masters programs. Funds have not yet been appropriated for this program.


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