WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The outlook for America's ability to compete for quality jobs in the global economy has continued to deteriorate in the last five years, and the nation needs a sustained investment in education and basic research to keep from slipping further, says a new report requested by the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, and authored by members of the committee that wrote the influential 2005 report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.
What progress has been made in addressing America's competitiveness challenges came largely as the result of the America COMPETES Act and stimulus package spending advancing its provisions, but both are due to expire soon, warned authors of the new report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 (http://nationalacademies.org/).
"The Gathering Storm effort once again finds itself at a tipping point," said Norman R. Augustine, one of the new report's authors and chair of the original Gathering Storm committee. "Addressing America's competitiveness challenge is an undertaking that will require many years, if not decades." The new report assesses changes in America's competitive status since the release of Gathering Storm and the degree to which its recommendations have been implemented.
The report's authors concluded that the nation's competitive outlook has worsened since 2005, when Gathering Storm issued its call to strengthen K-12 education and double the federal basic-research budget. While progress has been made in certain areas, the latitude to fix the problems being confronted has been severely diminished by the economic recession and the growth of the national debt over this period from $8 trillion to $13 trillion, the report says. Moreover, other nations have been markedly progressing, thereby affecting America's relative ability to compete for new factories, research laboratories, and jobs.
In 2007 Congress passed the America COMPETES Act, which authorized many recommendations from the Gathering Storm report. But most of the Act's measures went unfunded until the stimulus package was passed early in 2009, a package that increased total federal funding for K-12 education, provided scholarships for future math and science teachers, and funded the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which is dedicated to supporting transformational basic research on energy.
SOURCE National Academy of Sciences