EDUCATION CAN GIVE AMERICA THE COMPETITIVE EDGE

Among the recommended implementation steps is the creation of a merit-based scholarship program to attract ten thousand exceptional students to science and math teaching careers each year. 4-year scholarships, worth up to $20,000 each year,

should be designed to assist some of the country’s top students obtain bachelor’s degrees in physical or life sciences, mathematics or engineering — with concurrent certification as K-12 math and science teachers. After graduation, they would be required to work for a minimum of 5 years in public schools. Participants who teach in disadvantaged rural or inner-city areas would receive a $10,000 yearly bonus. Each of the ten thousand teachers would serve about one thousand students over the course of a teaching career, having an impact on ten million minds, the report says.

Sustain and strengthen the nation’s commitment to long-term basic research.

Policy-makers need to increase the national investment in basic research by ten percent each year over the next seven years. Special attention should be paid to the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, and information sciences, and to basic research funding for the U.S. Department of Defense, the report says.

Policy-makers also should establish within the U.S. Department of Energy an organization called the Advanced Research Project Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) that reports to the undersecretary for science and sponsors “out-of-the-box” energy research to meet the nation’s long-term energy challenges.

Authorities should make 200 new research grants annually — worth $500,000 each, payable over five years — to the nation’s most outstanding early-career researchers.
Best and Brightest

Develop, recruit, and retain top students, engineers and scientists from both the USA and overseas. The US should be considered the most attractive place in the world to study and conduct research, the report says.

Each year, policy-makers should provide 25,000 new, competitive 4-year undergraduate scholarships and 5,000 new graduate fellowships to U.S. citizens enrolled in physical science, life science, engineering, and mathematics programs at U.S. colleges and universities.

Policy-makers should provide a one-year automatic visa extension that allows international students to remain in the United States to seek employment if they have received doctorates or the equivalent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or other fields of national need from qualified U.S. institutions. If these students then receive job offers from employers that are based in the United States and pass a security screening test, they should automatically get work permits and expedited residence status. If they cannot obtain employment within one year, their visas should expire.

Incentives for Innovation.

Ensure that the USA is the premier place in the world for innovation. This can be accomplished by actions such as realigning tax policies to encourage innovation, modernizing the United States patent system, and ensuring affordable broadband Internet access, the report says.

Policy-makers should provide tax incentives for innovation that is based in the USA. The Congressional Budget Office and the Council of Economic Advisers should conduct a comprehensive analysis to examine how the US compares with other countries as a location for innovation and related activities, with the goal of ensuring that the country is one of the most attractive places in the world for long-term investment in such efforts.

The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit is currently for companies that increase their Research and Development spending above a predetermined level. To encourage private investment in innovation, this tax credit, which is scheduled to finish in December, should be made permanent. And Congress and the administration should increase the allowable credit from twenty percent to forty percent of qualifying Research and Developing investments.

The study was sponsored by the National Academies, which comprise the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. These are private, nonprofit organizations that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter.

Read the first part of this article. Education the key to being competitive.

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