Science and technology are critical to our nation’s future, but America invests just 0.7 percent of GDP in R&D today versus 1.9 percent in 1964. The U.S. has fallen to 14th globally in public investment in science and technology as a percentage of GDP. There is, however, a growing recognition that existential societal challenges, as well as maintaining global competitiveness, demand that we dramatically elevate U.S. investment in science and technology.
Competition among scientists and nations could end Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and AIDS, keep our nation technologically secure and help us feed and power the world as we address climate change. But instead of investing in the science and technology to maintain our competitive edge, U.S. investments are waning as China’s advantage has grown.
Falling behind in R&D would hinder our ability to attract top science, technology, engineering and mathematics students and talent from the U.S. and abroad and continue to compete in the global economic arena.
The Jan. 20 news article “Biden to give White House science office Cabinet status” reported on the Biden administration’s plan to elevate the importance of science and technology to tackle the greatest challenges of our time — from food, water and energy security to the threat of further pandemics to climate challenges. President Biden should be lauded for taking this important step, which will bring rigorous scientific thinking to the highest level of government, and he should be congratulated for bringing together top scientific minds to lead the White House science team, including the nomination of Eric Lander to Office of Science and Technology Policy director.
To figure out how he can reach his goals, Futurism asked numerous public health experts how the Biden administration will be able to turn the vaccination campaign around. Here are the steps they outlined.
One of the greatest scientific achievements of the past century — the rapid development of safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines — happened because the United States broke with convention. A unique public and private sector collaboration, built on the foundations of decades of federal basic science support and fueled by urgency and an infusion of funds, unleashed the best America has to offer.
The nonpartisan Science and Technology Action Committee wrote a letter urging the Biden transition team to elevate Office of Science and Technology Policy leadership to the Cabinet level.