Washington, DC – Now is not the time for the United States to rest on its past successes as an international leader in advancements in science, technology, engineering, and innovation. That is the message that four industry leaders and key members of Congress delivered today at a public symposium on Capitol Hill.
Led by Norman Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin; Jeannette M. Wing, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research; Roger M. Perlmutter, Executive Vice President, Merck & Co., Inc., and President, Merck Research Labs; and John D. Evans, Vice President, International Science and Technology, Lockheed Martin, all took up the call to action to compel the federal government to return to consistent, sustainable funding for basic research, and recommit to restoring the United States as a leader in innovation.
The speakers urged support for the goals and policies set forth in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. That report, in turn, led to the creation of Innovation: An American Imperative, a call to action signed by ten CEOs and chairpersons, plus more than 300 organizations, colleges and universities, businesses, and nonprofits from across all 50 states. Each expressed their belief in the importance of federal funding for basic research to America’s future productivity, prosperity, and strength.
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), and Gary Peters (D-Michigan), and Representative Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois 14th) spoke prior to the symposium.
“The U.S. is now in 10th place in in R&D investment among Organisation for Economic Co-operation nations as a percentage of gross domestic product,” said Augustine, who also is co-chair of the Restoring the Foundation commission. “At this pace, China will surpass the United States in R&D intensity in about eight years. Do we really want to watch that play out?”
Among the policies cited today that would help America retain its position of leadership are:
Today’s event was sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Battelle, the Coalition for National Science Funding, the Coalition for National Security Research, the Council on Competitiveness, the Energy Sciences Coalition, the Task Force on American Innovation, The Science Coalition, and United for Medical Research.