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Research Funding

US National Science Board outlines vision for science in 2030

Critical needs include funding emerging fields, investing in infrastructure, and ensuring diversity

by Andrea Widener
May 6, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 18


The US needs to take steps to ensure that it remains at the top of global science research in 2030, according to a new report from the National Science Board (NSB).

The NSB, which oversees the National Science Foundation and advises the nation on science policy, decided to create the report 2 years ago when it became clear to the board that US science was at risk of falling behind that of other countries if actions were not taken, says NSB chair Diane Souvaine, a computer scientist at Tufts University. “Now was the time to take a long view,” she says.

Among the goals, the report says the US needs to ensure continued investment in emerging areas like artificial intelligence and in basic research to help identify the next scientific revolution. Investment in science infrastructure—ranging from software to regional research networks to one-of-a-kind international facilities—will also be key to the country’s continued competitiveness.

Attracting more women and minority scientists into science will be vital, the report says. At the same time, the US needs to remain attractive to immigrants, who make up an important part of the current science workforce. “We really need to make sure the US science and engineering enterprise continues to attract the world’s best minds,” Souvaine says.

International partnerships will also be key to the vitality of US scientific research, the report says. In addition, industry-government partnerships will be critical as industry continues its surge past the federal government as the largest funder of research.

The COVID-19 pandemic make the future vitality of US science even more important, Souvaine says. “We cannot anticipate exactly what is going to happen next.”



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