Increasing American Fellowship Support for Scientists and Engineers
Posted on December 6, 2006 Comments (10)
A great research paper is available today from the Brookings Institution: Investing in the Best and Brightest: Increased Fellowship Support for American Scientists and Engineers by Richard B. Freeman. For those interesting in science and engineering education and/or economic policy I recommend it.
The U.S. share of global science and engineering activity is declining, however, and will continue to decline
I agree the declining trend is likely to continue, mainly due to the improvement of science and engineering efforts worldwide, see, for example: Diplomacy and Science Research and – U.S. Slipping on Science – Phony Science Gap?.
Again I agree. This is why so many countries have been devoting significant resources to improving their science and technology infrastructure – the economic benefits of doing so.
Again I agree, this is a trend that is likely to work against the USA scientific and engineering centers of excellence and in favor of others. And actually it is a positive development. It is just one that indicates the USA needs to develop more internal science and engineers (or cede even more of that work to other countries).
Finally something I don’t necessarily agree with. He might be right, but I think it is an open question. And I would split increased funding between k-12 and higher education (though truly I would need to do more research first). It could very well be that k-12 investments create a pool of great candidates for fellowships that would not otherwise be available. And nothing her says how much that would cost (it could be that only 30% of the benefit goes to increased science and engineering graduate success but the overall payoff is so large that even just 30% directly benefiting the target is higher than 100% of the fellowship benefit). Perhaps for the cost of 100 fellowships with smart k-12 initiatives you can create 1000 more science and engineering graduate students down the road. Plus the benefits to raising the level of science and engineering in others can also provide worthwhile benefits.
Related: Engineering Graduates: USA, China, India – Worldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree Data – Proposed Legislation: Graduate Scholar Awards in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math – Engineering the Future Economy – China challenges dominance of USA, Europe and Japan – Basic Science Research Funding – Science and Engineering in Global Economics – Top degree for S&P 500 CEOs? Engineering – Engineers in the Workplace – Shortage of Engineers?
As I have mentioned before, I work for ASEE on the IT systems in support of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Operation Center (the ASEE portion of the program), along with the other fellowship programs at ASEE). This blog is my own and is not affiliated with ASEE.