The United States is still the global leader in science technology, at least for now, according to the newly released Science and Engineering Indicators 2014. For those who prefer to see the glass as half empty, China and other Asian nations have continued to make significant gains over the last decade that jeopardize U.S. predominance in science. The major Asian economies collectively perform more research and development (R&D) than the U.S.

“The first decade of the 21st century continues a dramatic shift in the global scientific landscape,” said National Science Board Chairman Dan Arvizu. “Emerging economies understand the role science and innovation play in the global marketplace and in economic competitiveness and have increasingly placed a priority on building their capacity in science and technology.”

In addition to global competitiveness, the report addresses trends in federal research funding from 2001 to 2011. During this time period, federal support for R&D increased by 34 percent after inflation; that figure does not reflect budget sequestration or budget cuts implemented over the past two years. An increasing share of federal funding was allocated for development, rather than for basic or applied research. Although most scientific fields have seen little variation in federal funding over a decade, the environmental sciences saw the largest decline (-23.1 percent).

The report is available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind14/. Tools that analyze trends in each state are expected in late February.

 


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