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Science Indicators

NSB's biennial report shows science and engineering is increasingly global

by Susan R. Morrissey
February 27, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 9

Although the U.S. remains a world leader in science and technology, Asian countries such as China are gaining on that lead, according to "Science & Engineering Indicators 2006." The report, which also shows that European Union countries and Japan are losing ground, was released by the National Science Board (NSB) on Feb. 23.

In addition to international science and technology trends, the report includes information specific to the U.S. For example, the report states that growth in science and engineering jobs in the U.S. outpaced the number of U.S. science and engineering degrees awarded. Also, the report finds that, in 2003, one-third of U.S. science and engineering doctorates and more than half of engineering doctorates were earned by foreign students.

The data also show that U.S. students continue to be outperformed in science and mathematics by their international peers. To highlight this trend, NSB released a companion policy statement to the indicators report. The statement emphasizes the need for improvements to precollege science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

"Our nation must devote the necessary resources now to revitalize our precollege STEM education system," writes NSB Chairman Warren M. Washington in a letter preceding the policy statement. He notes that such STEM education is key for the U.S. to remain a leader in science and technology and thereby ensure "our nation's long-term prosperity and security."

The indicators report is a congressionally mandated collection of science, technology, and engineering data released biennially. The full report is available at


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